Digital twin via laser scanning

Digitization in process plants has become a necessity given the challenges faced by manufacturing facilities. Old, brownfield plants face challenge of exact documentation & production planning. Multi product plants – like pharma / pesticide / speciality chemicals face a unique challenge. They need to align to new market demand and produce multiple products using the same assets like reactors, heat exchangers, columns&other process equipment.A digital representation of such facilities is very useful to suchenterprises.Such a digital facility can be effectively used for different purpose like –

  • Training Overview trainings, Safety trainings, Training to issue PTW’s, etc.
  • Engineering Analysis Reconfiguration &Modifications in the facility – Like adding an extra pipeline can be evaluated.
  • Maintenance Progress Tracking . This can be connected to CMMS & SAP systems for maintenance activity tracking.
  • Expert Systems Experts can use it for monitoring and performance evaluation of process and assets.
  • Thus, different functions like training, engineering, operations, maintenance, expert decision making, etc. tend to use this system.Laser Technology and digitization has made it possible to create an exact digital representation of a physical facility.As in any other project, a clear definition and purpose of the digital twin must be discussed & finalized.e.g. Operations teammay like to see the facility as it is. They would also like to take a virtual walk through in this facility.

    Engineering team may like to have exact documentation of the facility. This could be in terms of spec sheets / distances / angles / 3D models, etc.

    Maintenance team may like to connect this system to the CMMS / SAP system to track maintenance progress.Connection with standard asset management and monitoring systems is also a very common requirement.Laser scanned 3d models seem to be the best fit and the right starting point. They do not miss any thing in the plant. Small piping items like Tee’s, Bends, Reducers, flanges, etc are captured in these models. Dimensional accuracy of these models is also very high (typically 1 - 3 mm over a distance of 10mtrs.)

    The entire bill of material, piping isometrics, etc. can be generated with a single click.Laser scanned 3D models can be attached to different databases to achieve the final objective.Finally, a digital representation of the physical facility yields immense benefits. It is invaluable during the entirelife cycle of a plant.It is a perfect tool for monitoring, performance evaluation, engineering analysis, and decision support.

    Finally, a small example of a digital representation of a plant and different data that can be attached for documentation purpose

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