The utility industry is at the edge of the technological revolution that could make digital twins exceedingly important for enterprise asset management.
FREMONT, CA: The utility industry is asset-intensive, and utility companies often have to invest substantially in monitoring and maintaining assets. With the progress of the digital age, enterprise asset management has seen rapid changes. The concept of digital twins is now about to play an important role in enhancing the asset management capabilities of utility companies. With innovations becoming the mainstay of competition, utility companies that are taking to new technologies have been performing better. Digital twins refer to virtual representations of assets with detailed information about the behavior of each entity involved. For electric utility companies, digital twins could include virtual facilities with real-time simulations and 3-dimensional models. Digital twins can empower electric utility companies in several ways, some of which are listed below.
• Enhanced Efficiency of Operations
Effective enterprise asset management requires concerted efforts towards the monitoring and maintenance of entire classes of assets. Electric utility companies possess an extensive amount of assets, which makes maintenance challenging. When digital twins come into the picture, utility companies can visualize the assets better with the help of highly detailed virtual representations. These virtual representations can easily incorporate the changes to the actual facilities while simulating entire operational ecosystems. When a centralized environment connects data from disparate systems, managing assets becomes easier. Thus, digital twins are empowering electric utility companies to enhance the efficiency of operations across facilities.
• Lowered Risks
Enterprise asset management can lower operational risks. When electric utility firms adopt the concept of digital twins, companies are able to build virtual systems that replicate actual facilities. These digital twins enhance a utility company's access to operational data. With increased access to information, utility companies can conduct better analytics using real-time and predictive approaches. Thus, predictive and prescriptive maintenance becomes feasible. When compared with the traditional approaches of accumulating operational data for repair and maintenance purposes, the new method that uses digital twins has significant advantages; the limitations of time and inaccuracy are eliminated entirely, and asset lifecycles increase.
• Reduced Costs of Operation
As systems in the utility sector become digital, the maintenance approach needs to change. Managing digital systems requires IT support and robust technical infrastructure. The value of AI, ML, and analytics is immense, but they have to be appropriately implemented first. Digital twins enable electric utility companies to develop better IT infrastructure and support the implementation of advanced asset management solutions. As operations become seamless and data becomes easily accessible, there is a significant drop in operational costs.
• More Ways to Leverage Data
With digital twins, electric utility companies can connect expansive facilities on a unified platform. By giving workers access to this platform through digital dashboards, utility companies can enhance data accessibility. Entire environments, irrespective of their geographical locations, can be brought together on cloud-based platforms in the form of digital twins. These digital twins provide utility companies better control over distributed assets and help carry out planned and unplanned maintenance activities. Even smart grids and smart meters can be incorporated into digital twins to create a full-scale digital version of actual environments. Using data to develop innovative EAM models empowers better-operating strategies and effective development.
From connecting distributed assets across different geographies to synchronizing workflows, digital twins help utility companies build virtual capabilities. Subsequently, the digital twins make enterprise asset management convenient for electric utility companies by optimizing asset lifecycles, and forecasting equipment health.