Enabling the Digital Twin through Unified Engineering
Posted: June 19, 2019
For decades, most EPCs have been developing projects through a complex and highly interactive workflow. The entire process is very time consuming, and the final deliverable to the Owner Operator is a set of several documents (P&IDs, datasheets, 3D model, etc.) with dispersed data and with no guarantee of validity or consistency.
The traditional approach to engineering
New technology enables the workflow transition from a document-centric to a data-centric approach. The data-centric approach focuses on keeping the data correct and then updating the documents and applications. Using the data-centric approach is the basic requirement to evolve to a Unified Engineering workflow, allowing EPCs to develop the plant Digital Twin.
This goes beyond the integrated engineering platforms adopted by some EPCs because Unified Engineering uses a truly single source of data for all the disciplines. All process simulation, line lists, flowsheets, datasheets, 3D models, isometrics, etc. are all updated by the same databank, configuring your real-time Digital Twin. Engineers can work concurrently from this single database where all documents and models are automatically updated as soon as any changes are made. Engineers will never raise the question if data is correct or not. They can trust the information they are handling.
Unified Engineering can help minimize risk and maximize return on Capital Investment, saving up to 30% of engineering efforts during the Engineering Design phase and enable further benefits in future phases of the project to ensure lower Total Installed Cost (TIC).
The Online Digital Twin
When the Digital Twin is fully developed in the Engineering Design phase, it becomes a valuable deliverable to the owner of the operations. Firstly, to understand how the plant was built, it is not necessary anymore to look at several different documents or systems because the Digital Twin contains all the relevant information. Secondly, by having all the information in one single environment, the maintainability is much easier. The Digital Twin is kept alive by always containing the most up-to-date information of the plant.
Next step after the plant start-up is to have the Online Digital Twin. Then, besides process, equipment and piping data, the Digital Twin has real-time information from operations. This type of visibility provides the right context, so engineers and leaders can make better decisions.
The Online Digital Twin can be the single source of the truth to many applications in the plant, such as operator training simulator, real-time optimization, predictive analytics with machine learning, equipment performance monitoring, etc. Plant owners can benefit by having:
- Reduced unplanned shutdowns;
- A better understanding of equipment issues and root causes;
- An empowered team for better and faster decisions;
- Visibility of optimization opportunities to improve margins;
- Increased safety;
- New technology to attract the next generation of ‘tech savvy’ engineers to traditional industries.
Related Blog Posts
Stay in the know: Keep up to date on the latest happenings around the industry.