Chad Stoecker, vice president, global managed services at GE Digital gives you his four tips for getting faster time to value from digital twin technology

Software is now mission critical in every industry. Digital twins are playing an increasingly important role in helping everyone from plant operators to executives understand how to both reduce operating costs and downtime, while increasing asset performance and reliability of equipment and production lines. With 8500+ digital twins under management for our customers, we have learned some important lessons about how industrial companies can reduce their time to value when considering the technology.

1 Don’t treat your maintenance strategy as a data science project
Business today moves fast. Companies want to get to value from solution purchases as quickly as possible. They don’t want to host a team of data scientists on their sites for multiple months while data models are being built, and, honestly, the time to develop the content can be significant, taking months to finalize models for each asset.
Industrial companies know that it’s not just about having the data – it’s more important that you know what to do with it. So how do you shortcut that “time to value” equation so you can get the data you need, while continuing to innovate and push existing boundaries? For Nova Scotia Power, the key was the design and standardization of their asset management processes.

2 Pick the right asset strategy for your Digital Twin – and align to industry standards
The ability to understand the past is one of the best ways to prepare for the future. An effective asset strategy is often the starting point to tell you what you should be doing to effectively manage the assets. The strategy “defines the risks (e.g. failure modes and damage mechanisms) and actions which will mitigate those risks (e.g. reduce the probability or severity of the risk).
Performing the actions generates data that we use to feed the digital twin. As a next step, the Twin will influence the strategy to manage the risk. This lifecycle approach aligns with industrial asset management standards such as ISO 55000. In 2019, GE Digital began to create a database which contains risks and mitigating actions which can be assembled into effective strategies for our customers.

3 Creating a chain of digital twins can provide significant enterprise value
As of today, there is no single industry standard for digital twins. So, there is benefit in partnering with a vendor who can provide twins not only for their own hardware, but for equipment from other OEMs as well.
Having a single source of asset strategies enables GE Digital’s customers to leverage the years of domain and asset expertise which can be effectively deployed across the owner/operator fleet of assets. The capability to effectively and quickly deploy asset strategies via a common database reduces the time that it typically takes for customers to begin their digital transformation journeys. Consider that asset strategies serve as the “starting point” of the digital thread – binding assets to their inherent risks and mitigating actions and the data being generated when those actions are conducted. These threads provide a line of sight into the health of those assets, not only for an operator, but across the enterprise.

4 Don’t just pick a vendor, pick a partner
By partnering closely with our customers in the oil and gas, power generation, electric utilities and manufacturing sectors, GE Digital has focused a lot of effort on creating solutions that are easily deployed for industrial customers – at unparalleled speed and global scale.
For our team, putting customers first means placing ourselves in owner/operator roles (such as plant manager, reliability engineer or operator). This is possible primarily because many of GE Digital’s subject matter experts came out of industry where we held these roles. By coupling our multi-faceted industrial expertise with our software capabilities, we are in a unique position to be able to deliver digital twin content based on real, physical assets of our customers.
Our experience in delivering that content goes back more than 15 years – which has helped us to develop the largest catalogue of digital twin content in the world with more than 300 asset models, of which 85 per cent are non-GE equipment. Having a catalogue of content upon which to draw can decrease a customer’s time to value by as much as 80 per cent compared to other solutions.

The final message is to learn from your peers – in your industry and from other industries. Look around, read all you can and take in the lessons that other organisations have overcome in developing their own digital twins