This was the challenge since the early days of space exploration. Researchers were looking for a bridge to systems that would travel beyond the ability to see or monitor physically. It resulted in the first pairing technology - the predecessor of today's digital twin - using the concept of mirroring. NASA successfully applied this concept to determine how to rescue a space mission. So the approach has been around for a while. But it is thanks to the Internet of Things that it has become cost-effective to implement a new kind of bridge between the physical and digital world.
Physical systems, processes or services can use smart components to gather data about their real-time status, working condition, or position and combine it with all the digital aspects of how the physical items are built. Data stored in different places can be referred to from one common digital twin directory - to perform real-time optimization, prevent downtime and plan for the future by using simulations. While use of simulations is nothing new, they have historically relied on relatively small data sets or assumptions when making predictions. Digital twins, however, have access to unfathomably large data sets thanks to the IIoT. They have become a business imperative in all industries, including mining and metals.