Transformative Power of Virtual Twins (Part 2 of 3)

March 18, 2024 10:41 pm || Kevin Hawkins || Categorized in: , , ,

This is the second installment of a three-part series exploring the transformative power of Virtual Twins when applied to an asset induction effort for facility maintenance. Part One of this series provided an overview of implementation of this technology and benefits once completed. Now, in Part Two we will address the process of capturing and modeling data to build the Virtual Twin, and the Project Management tools used to ensure all required deliverables were accomplished.

The information in this series is based on the use of Virtual Twin technology for a biomanufacturing site, but the same principles could be applied to any facility that is looking to leverage a digital twin for their facility.

Part Two – Enhancing Efficiency: Integrating Virtual Twin Scans for Large-Scale Asset Induction in Biomanufacturing Facilities.


In the dynamic realm of biomanufacturing, the efficient management of assets remains a perpetual challenge for large-scale facilities. Asset induction, the pivotal process of integrating and onboarding new equipment, stands as a linchpin of facility operations. Traditional methods often entail labor-intensive manual inspections and data entry, fostering potential delays and inefficiencies. However, the integration of Virtual Twin scans is revolutionizing the asset induction process, presenting a streamlined and technologically advanced solution.

Understanding Virtual Twin Technology:

Virtual Twin technology entails crafting digital replicas of physical on-site assets, such as Air-Handling Units, Circulation Pumps, and Control Cabinets. These replicas, known as Virtual Twins, faithfully mimic the behavior and attributes of real assets in real-time. Leveraging advanced sensors, data analytics, and modeling techniques, Virtual Twins deliver an immersive and precise representation of the asset.

Benefits to Project Management

Real-time Visibility and Project Monitoring:

  • Virtual Twin scans furnish real-time visibility into asset condition and performance, enabling project managers to monitor progress effectively during the asset induction process. This ensures that all equipment meets necessary standards and requirements, facilitating project tracking and milestone achievement.

Efficient Data Capture and Documentation Management:

  • In contrast to traditional manual documentation methods like P&ID drawings, which are prone to errors and time-consuming, Virtual Twin scans automate data capture, mitigating the likelihood of human error and expediting the asset induction process. Project managers can oversee the documentation process in real time, ensuring accuracy and completeness for project records and regulatory compliance.

Simulation and Testing for Risk Management:

  • Virtual Twins facilitate simulation and testing of new assets within a controlled digital environment before physical installation. This minimizes the risk of operational disruptions and ensures seamless integration into existing infrastructure, contributing to effective risk management and mitigation strategies.

Collaborative Workflows and Team Coordination:

  • Virtual Twin technology fosters collaboration among diverse project teams involved in the asset induction process. Cross-functional teams can collaborate within the digital twin environment, enhancing communication and coordination. Project managers can oversee collaborative workflows, ensuring alignment with project objectives and timelines.

Predictive Maintenance and Resource Planning:

  • Through continuous monitoring of assets via Virtual Twin scans, predictive maintenance achieves greater accuracy. Project managers can anticipate potential issues and proactively schedule maintenance, optimizing resource allocation and preventing unexpected downtime, thereby ensuring project continuity and success.

Implementation Steps with a Project Management Focus

Digital Asset Mapping and Scope Definition:

  • Begin by creating a comprehensive digital map of a portion of facility’s using Virtual Twin scans. This action establishes a clear boundary for the project, ensuring alignment with stakeholder expectations regarding what falls within the scope and what is out of scope. In our project, we conducted a review of the initial scans with the customer, leading to the decision to exclude certain laboratory areas from scanning.

Modeling of Virtual Twin Data and Risk Assessment:

  • Project managers have an increased ability to oversee risk analysis and mitigation efforts, ensuring project resilience and success, when leveraging Virtual Twins. The Virtual Twin digital counterpart of physical assets integrates risk assessment techniques to identify potential project risks and develop mitigation strategies with minimal effect to the physical asset.

Continuous Updating and Improvement for Project Adaptability:

  • Project managers can facilitate change control processes, ensuring seamless project adaptation and  goal alignment by utilizing a robust change management system for continuous update and improvement of the Virtual Twin model. This allows projects to quickly and efficiently react to evolving project requirements and stakeholder needs.

Collaborative Training and Onboarding for Project Team:

  • Project managers can facilitate knowledge transfer and skills development initiatives by incorporating Virtual Twin technology into training and onboarding processes for project team members.  This fosters a collaborative project environment and promotes skill development, enhancing project team effectiveness and cohesion while minimizing stress on the operating team and reducing operational risks that accompany increased physical plant access.

Modeling Techniques:

In order to realize the potential benefits of Virtual Twins, you must select the appropriate modeling technique(s) based on the complexity and nature of the asset. One common modeling technique is geometric modeling to represent the physical structure of the asset in the digital model. This involves creating a three-dimensional (3D) geometric representation that accurately depicts the shape, size, and spatial relationships of the asset’s components. Geometric modeling is crucial for visualizing the asset and understanding its physical layout.

Other modeling techniques that could be used include physics-based modeling for simulating dynamic behavior and data-driven modeling using historical data to predict future behavior.


The integration of Virtual Twin scans into the asset induction process for large-scale biomanufacturing facilities is a significant stride toward operational efficiency and project success. Real-time visibility, efficient data capture, collaborative workflows, and predictive maintenance are among the manifold benefits this technology imparts from a project management perspective. This journey empowers project managers to harness the potential of digital twins for enhanced decision-making, risk management, and overall project efficiency.

As the biomanufacturing industry continues to evolve, embracing innovative solutions like Virtual Twin scans is essential for competitive cost of goods sold (COGS) and facilitates the seamless integration of assets into the production ecosystem.

This blog covered the process of capturing and modeling data to build the Virtual Twin, and the Project Management tools used to ensure all required deliverables were accomplished. Part Three will focus on project management aspects and benefits realized through Virtual Twin implementation including examples of effective outcomes in projects completed by CAI.

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