Over the past two decades, technology has vastly changed the way we work. As the business cycle accelerates and digital transformation continues to roll out across all industries, you would be hard pressed to find an organization that has avoided the push towards modernisation.
Changing expectations and unpredictable market trends mean that things have to happen faster and more efficiently than ever before. Now, thanks to globalization, digital evolution has changed from being a ‘nice to have’ to a necessity.
Assets, systems and processes have become increasingly complicated, which requires us to explore new ways to develop, maintain and optimise them. It is only logical then that we tackle our modern challenges with disruptive software-driven solutions.
In high stake industries like oil and gas, where mistakes can cost you billions and the journey from concept to decommissioning is lengthy, complex and expensive: tools like digital twins are a game-changer.
1 – Better tracking of assets throughout their lifecycle
Although not a new concept – the first use of digital twin technology was by Nasa in the 1960s – digital twins have moved beyond producing just an ‘as built’ picture. The lifecycle of today’s digital twins has extended into operations and maintenance.
After the asset has been handed over to operators, and wear and tear starts to take its toll, the digital twin will continue to mirror its ageing counterpart. It is this extension in the digital twin lifecycle that drives real value to industries like oil and gas.
Planning, operating and maintaining hugely expensive offshore assets is both a costly and risky endeavour. Naturally, a tool that can minimise unpredictability, while identifying opportunities to maximize return on investment, is a huge advantage.
2 – Save time and money with greater predictability
As digital twin technology grows even more sophisticated, it becomes easier and safer to provide answers to difficult questions about an asset’s future.
Analysis of real-time data from connected sensors combined with other sources of information, allows engineers and operators to not only understand how the asset is performing, but also to predict how it will perform in the future.
This information can help determine where maintenance budgets are best deployed or what is the right investment to make when an asset approaches its end of life.
Removing this complex guesswork can reduce operational planned and unplanned expenditure by a significant amount, with direct positive consequences for profitability and time saved.
However, for digital twins to truly deliver on their potential requires greater collaboration and the breakdown of barriers to innovation.
3 – Enhanced collaboration leads to value creation
In an ecosystem where expertise and project management is siloed off, opportunities for learning and value creation are lost.
With a single online platform, people at each stage of the process can come together to work collaboratively on an asset without any of the constraints associated with distance, enabling all work to be completed onshore from anywhere in the world.
By aggregating the right data and capabilities at the pre-feed and feed level, assets can be designed smarter and more efficiently from the beginning. This ease of access to key data and traceability of the asset’s life cycle also makes it easier and faster for planning and implementing modifications.
FutureOn’s FieldTwin Design tool facilitates this type of collaboration by providing users with easy access to an intricate 3D visualisation of the physical asset anywhere and, with just a click of a button, to draft and test major asset designs.
Ultimately, digital twins are destined to play a key role in the digital realignment of asset-intensive industries like the oil and gas sector. As technology advances, more data becomes available and operating models become more intricate, digital twins will become an essential part of industry software.