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Benefits and Challenges of Digital Twin Implementation

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Sumit Duttagupta, CIO, Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd

Sumit Duttagupta has more than 30 years of experience; he has held senior positions at leading companies in the oil and gas domain. He has executed projects in the digital twin, IIOT, APM, predictive analytics for machines, and process automation.

In a conversation with Keerthana H K, Correspondent, CIO Insider Magazine, Sumit Duttagupta, CIO at Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd, shared his views and thoughts on the key benefits and challenges associated with implementing digital twin technology in an organization, as well as, the potential ethical and societal implications of digital twin technology.


What strategies could ensure an organization's Digital Twin initiatives align with the overall business goals and objectives?
The vision for Digital Transformation is to build an ecosystem of trusted business stakeholders both internal and external which is agile, innovative and shift business decisions from reactive to proactive, to predictive, and ideally to automated prescriptive. The basic premise of having near real time visibility across the enterprise with information flow from sensor to the board room drives digitalization towards operational excellence. The integrated Digital Platform execution will enable organization to build working closed loop optimization model leading to a Digital Twin to improve safety, reliability, and operational efficiency. The combination of an asset assurance and process optimization models will enable efficient usage of power and steam across the manufacturing complex. This in turn will help enhanced energy efficiency through near real time monitoring of assets. The new AI/ML models will ensure better deployment of predictive analytics technology and reduce any un-planned downtime leading to overall increase in OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) leading to efficient usage of energy and other resources. Similarly, in the core business functions of feedstock procurement or Treasury, decision making can go through simulated digital twin run to ensure decision making is based on a simulated run based on internal and external factors which influence the core objective of profit or margin maximization.

In your opinion, what are the key benefits and challenges associated with implementing digital twin technology in an organization?
The digital transformation journey must be people centric with digitized and optimized processes as the baseline. The integrated and collaborative digital twin platform will enable people with the right cutting edge tools, tailored to their environment and with effective digital transformation objective encourages a digital culture. While these tools enable collaboration along with intelligent capabilities, they also help to move the entire organization ahead digitally. The integrated digital environment of having

a 360-degree view of the organization across all value chains will propel the teams to seek innovation and agility across the organization. Major benefits that digital twins give are to get the best decision making done in a collaborative way with DATA taking the centre stage. The power of data both structured and unstructured to collaborate with both internal and external environments in a contextual form is a challenge by itself. Further Digital Twin implementation should have a strong use case and the problem statement we are going to solve for business outcomes that impacts across value chains. Strong master governance and a right digital framework is a must for effective implementation of Digital Twins.

In your view, what role do data analytics and IoT play to create and maintain a digital twin ecosystem?
Data Analytics and IOT play a vital role in sustaining a digital twin ecosystem. Some of the key attributes are as follows:
- Digitized processes are capable of intelligent actions and responses. Actions and decisions arising are adaptive, predictive, and proactive in nature.

- Operating Assets – people, plant, equipment, knowledge, models, databases, etc. – are integrated and self-aware (via Sensors) of their state.

- Field Devices, actuators, and operating equipment have intelligent processing capability with the sensors needed for self-awareness.

- Every system can recognize its condition and publish that information, and all other inter-operating devices can take immediate and appropriate action.

- An IOT/IIOT has foresight bandwidth to detect and adapt to new situations or perturbations (i.e., abnormal events).

o By evaluating the present circumstances and applying continuously updated knowledge, processes can determine the best response to any change in business and operating conditions.

- Processes have the capacity and flexibility for robust actuation.

- Digital processes have all pertinent information available, accessible, and understandable to the parties or functions that need the information.

- As proactive operations, IIOT incorporates real-time data sensing and models to eliminate failures before it happens, to the extent possible.

The combination of an asset assurance and process optimization models will enable efficient usage of power and steam across the manufacturing complex.

What are the potential ethical and societal implications of digital twin technology, and how should organizations address them?
Digital Twins through Smart IoT implementation provide information and analyses to trained operators and managers who use human experience to determine and bring about the needed action. It all involves re-training and creating new roles to handle scenarios coming out of digital twin recommendations. In the smart environment, people are knowledgeable, well trained, empowered, connected (via cyber tools) and able to adapt/improve the system’s performance. People are trained and deployed to drive strategic enterprise performance. The smart processing environment combines the well prepared and technology enabled human with the best technological capabilities to produce the best response in an environment of dynamic change, uncertainty, and risk.

According to you, what emerging technologies or standards related to digital twins will have a significant impact on the field in the coming years?
The emerging technologies like Generative AI along with smart IIOT devices will change the landscape of Digital Twins. The metaverse technologies going forward will shorten the digital human divide and help developing immersive models with augmented technologies. As the 5G revolution starts taking shape, we will see the growing use of geospatial technology leveraged for digital twins. Geo spatial technology is the fusion of geography and technology. Digital twins can be used to analyze and optimize the environmental impact of cities, including energy use, water consumption, and waste management.

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