What is a Digital Twin?

Here at Digital Twin Studios, we are passionate about what we do and the impact it can have on the future of the oil and gas industry. Our name is derived from the actual term, digital twin. The concept of digital twin dates back to 2003, with its introduction by Michael Grieves. His goal was to be able to analyze pieces of equipment at an extremely high level and monitor their progression and performance. 

Digital twin is a broad concept encompassing many descriptions. Basically, a digital twin is a digital replication of a physical environment and/or assets, and can be used for many purposes to optimize the performance of assets. The twins contain information about the physical object, including measurements, build history, technological capabilities, and location. 

 

Digital twins use artificial intelligence, software, and machine learning combined with datasets to create a simulation model that can be improved and developed. These models are created mathematically to provide an accurate representation of the environment itself.  They use real time data to improve reasoning, decision making, and the progression of intelligence. Digital twins use 3D modeling to create these environments. A digital twin can be thought of as a connector between our physical world and the world of digital technology - NASA implemented digital twin technology in order to research areas of space not physically accessible. They can be used by scientists, engineers, professors, or business professionals - anyone who wants to understand how their products work and their present and future performance.

 

Digital twins are innovative and allow us to better improve the training experiences of oil and gas companies. Our sophisticated technology is state of the art, and is continuously growing and improving. At Digital Twin Studios, we strive to improve learning through an interactive environment, increase safety, and understand employee needs by enhancing the training environment. We create digital twins of offshore oil and gas environments to provide an immersive, interactive, and safe way for employees to train. Many oil and natural gas training programs involve rigorous on-site training. There are classroom sessions and field training involved. However, many studies have shown that thinking activity during classroom lectures decreases over time, and often reaches zero - this is the same amount of activity that goes on while watching television. Using a digital twin model of the training environment offers the much needed stimulation to keep trainees focused, and the video game like platform is entertaining. Trainees are more likely to retain information using a digital copy of their exact training environment than textbook courses.

 

 

Aside from training in the oil and gas industry, digital twins can help monitor and improve the structural integrity of offshore assets using physical models of the real equipment. Recently, Shell oil has signed a two-year contract to utilize digital twin management to improve rig performance, structure, and safety. Because the oil market is so volatile, increasing performance and productivity on the rigs are one of the few certainties that could help the oil and natural gas industry stabilize. Digital twins use real time data to stay updated. Oil extraction is dangerous in itself, whether on or offshore. Oil rigs are full of high pressure areas, heavy, moving equipment and machinery, and combustible materials. Oilfield workers are also at risk of falling from high points and being trapped under equipment. Falls increase on an average of 2% annually in the oil and gas industry, and over half of the falls are from more than 30 feet high. In addition, 22 percent of oilfield worker deaths were caused by equipment falling on them.

 

According to the National Institute for Safety and Health, an oilfield worker is six times as likely to die on the job as an average worker. An estimated 30.5 out of 100,000 workers die on the job in the oil and natural gas profession. Offshore rigs are miles from the shore, distant from hospitals and medical care. As the oilfield industry has boomed, the amount of oilfield related deaths has astronomically increased. Working on an offshore rig can be extremely dangerous for the employees, and the use of digital twins to monitor equipment can help predict equipment, technology, and structural failures before they occur. Not to mention, using digital twins to create training environments gives the trainee more environmental training and knowledge, potentially lessening the amount of falls and dangerous missteps that can result in injuries and deaths. Drills can also be simulated and tested, creating a good indication if certain equipment designs are practical and safe.

 

Digital twins can be used from the design step all the way into implementation and maintenance to monitor the safety and stability of equipment. They can predict potential failures and assist human intelligence by being connected to different aspects of the rig environment at all times. Digital twins can role play situations that have not happened and predict their outcomes. The oil and gas industry is constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity without sacrificing safety - that is where digital twins come in, ready to monitor equipment and arm employees with the most interactive form of knowledge available.