Technology Record - Issue 27: Winter 2022

110 Bosch’s integrated asset performance management solution, powered by a digital twin that runs on Azure, lets rotating machines such as turbines and electric motors indicate when they need maintenance, helping them to run with optimal costs and maximum efficiency. Meanwhile, a collaboration between Microsoft and Mercedes-Benz illustrates how manufacturers can use simulations to gain a better understanding of how cost, quality and sustainability intersect. AI, digital twins and data analytics have been harnessed to develop the automaker’s new data platform that connects passenger car plants to the Microsoft Cloud. It provides real-time feedback to solve supply chain bottlenecks and dynamically allocate resources to prioritise low-emission and top-end luxury vehicles – with a 20 per cent improvement in vehicle production efficiency expected by 2025. Sustainability is also prioritised as analytics tools monitor and forecast carbon emissions, energy and water usage and waste management. “Efficient and resilient supply chains require a complete understanding of raw material selection, acquisition and consumption,” says Sircar. “This data, combined with manufacturing data, guides manufacturers to understand when raw materials will be available, in what quantities and from which vendor. Manufacturers also need to factor in finished product delivery commitments and contract parameters. F E ATUR E An open ecosystem New technologies need the support of a collaborative ecosystem to define standards, drive innovation and help users understand the best ways to realise the value of their investments. That’s why, in 2020, Microsoft became a founding member of the Digital Twin Consortium (DTC), an open programme dedicated to driving the awareness, adoption, interoperability and development of digital twin technology. Since then, DTC has grown to include more than 170 members across 31 countries. DTC is an environment where technology providers, end users, government agencies and academic bodies work together to provide actionable guidance for people at every stage of the digital twin adoption journey. Its manufacturing working group, for instance, is focused on exploring the use of digital twins to accelerate product development, reduce defects, troubleshoot equipment, increase uptime and decrease costs. Working closely with the Industrial Digital Twin Association, the group is supporting technologies like the Asset Administration Shell, a service that Microsoft helped to develop, which enables standardised exchange of digital twin manufacturing data. As well as supporting users’ and developers’ needs today, DTC is also liaising with standards forums and other consortia to build a foundation for the future. Key focus areas include the industrial metaverse and sustainability – identified by DTC members as fields where digital twins have a key role to play. Ron Zahavi is chief strategist for IoT standards at Microsoft Azure IoT and executive director of the Digital Twin Consortium RON ZAHAV I : M I C ROSOF T AND D I G I TA L TW I N CONSOR T I UM