GE builds highly complex physical assets essential to critical infrastructure including energy production and distribution, air and locomotive transport, and healthcare. A Digital Twin is developed and informed by a massive amount of design, manufacture, inspection, repair, online sensor and operational data and employs a collection of high-fidelity computational physics-based models and advanced analytics to forecast the health and performance of the asset over its lifetime. The accuracy of the Digital Twin’s representation grows over time as more data refines the model and similar assets are deployed with their own Digital Twins. Data are gathered continually to maintain an up-to-date model. The Digital Twin provides detailed knowledge of the asset, forecasts based on “what if” scenarios and a live reference from which to build applications to optimize services, performance, efficiency, maintenance, supply chain, business operations and more.
A Digital Twin is comprehensive but pragmatic. Twins are developed incrementally, guided by business value and development cost. All models have their limits. Digital Twins are developed choosing sensing, data and modelling strategies with capabilities, system coverage and fidelity that are achievable and required by value-added applications. Digital Twin models include all necessary aspects of the physical asset or larger system including thermal, mechanical, electrical, chemical, fluid dynamic, material, lifing, economic and statistical.
A Digital Twin creates value through customer experience, operations optimization, new services, and new business models. Applications may use Digital Twins for individual parts, modules, assemblies, assets or whole fleets of Digital Twins at the enterprise level. A Digital Twin increases in value as it is used, and the algorithms learn from their impact. It captures domain expertise and is a continuously improving repository of intellectual capital. We expect Digital Twins to become indispensable parts of our customer’s operations.
GE’s business is the industrial infrastructure of the world. With the Industrial Internet, our domain knowledge and Digital Twins we will produce value throughout the life of the assets we build. We will create Digital Twins across our businesses and product lines. Digital Twin is the vision and framework that will drive differentiated value for GE, our partners and our customers.
To realize the full value potential of Digital Twins, a robust platform is needed for them to live, learn and run at an industrial scale. GE’s Digital Twins can run on several industrial Cloud platforms such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. Our Digital Twins are built with our physical domain expertise at its core, blending digital and physical in a combination of data from the blueprints of physical assets and physical and virtual sensors on the assets themselves.
COLIN PARRIS EXPLAINS
The Value of Digital Twin
GE engineers and scientists have applied deep understanding of GE products from the design and manufacturing phases to create hundreds of thousands of digital models.
A Digital Twin is based on customer outcomes. GE works backwards from the desired outcome based on the data we have collected from the design requirements, the environmental and operating environments.
How Digital Twin is transforming the aerospace industry
By modeling for phenomena to better predict engine degradation over time, we can help customers save tens of millions of dollars.
For the GE90 engine, GE Aviation’s most powerful engine that flies on the larger, long-range Boeing 777 aircraft, we created a Digital Twin to look specifically at the maintenance of an aircraft engine blade. Over time, blades can experience what the aviation industry terms as “spallation,” in which materials begin to erode from the part. This is more prevalent in places like the Middle East, in which planes encounter sandy conditions.
GE Aviation customer quote: “Digital Twins better predict how a blade will degrade over time, so that we can advise customers on the right time to bring it in for maintenance before a problem occurs."
How Digital Twin is transforming the power industry
Digital Power Plant
As the world’s largest supplier of power generation equipment, GE has designed a Digital Twin of a combined cycle power plant to enable power plant operators to achieve higher performance and cost savings in the management of their plants.
The Twin, called Digital Power Plant, involves modeling the plant and creating life models of critical components in the plant. The Twin also considers fuel costs and price of electricity. Looking forward, and considering all of these factors together, the Digital Twin can help operators optimally manage the inherent trade-offs that existin plant operations.
GE Power customer quote: “Operators can achieve 2-3% additional MWhr output and save $15MM per plant. Across GE’s customer fleet, the potential total savings could reach $4B.”
How Digital Twin is transforming the transportation industry
GE has created a Digital Twin of its Evolution Locomotive called Trip Optimizer that continually gathers and analyzes specific insights in real-time from:
- The Train’s engine;
- The load the Train is pulling;
- The time the train is scheduled to arrive at its next destination; and
- Weather conditions.
GE Transportation customer quote: “Digital Twin can help our rail customers save 8-10% on fuel and decrease emissions by 174k tons per year. Potentially saving hundreds of millions of dollars."
How Digital Twin is transforming the renewable energy industry
Digital Twin Wind Turbines
Engineers were able to use the virtual sensors from the Haliade’s digital twin turbine to get the temperature information they needed, then developed an app that both monitors and estimates the physical turbine’s temperatures. This app will help engineers in the field determine whether to keep the turbines running at full power or slightly lessen them.
The app to help field engineers is still being built, but when it’s released into the wild, it will help to keep GE’s efficient turbines running that much better—and it’s all thanks to digital twin technology.