23 Jun 2020

How to Drive Continuous Innovation with Digital Twins

Visionary business leaders are driven by a need to continually improve, evolve and reinvent the way we all live and work. At Royal HaskoningDHV, we use the latest digital technologies to help our customers achieve these goals and create a smarter, more sustainable, and more responsible future.

Today, technology plays a key role in business survival and success. It allows us to increase the effectiveness and accuracy of decision making in a world which is becoming increasingly complex, disrupted and uncertain. And it can deliver the insight needed to generate more value from business plans, assets and investments, while providing a risk-free environment to experiment with new customer experiences, products, and operating models.

In competitive industries, these advantages aren’t just a nice-to-have, they’re must-haves – and that’s why digital transformation is currently headlining agendas in boardrooms around the world. But, as much as business leaders recognise the need for investment, making those investments deliver value is a whole different challenge.

The Royal HaskoningDHV Infinity Loop


Copyrights ©2020 Royal HaskoningDHV

At Royal HaskoningDHV, we use our “Infinity Loop” model to help our clients maximise the return from their technological investments, implementing a process of continuous innovation that drives true and enduring business value.

The graphic above shows the symbiotic connection between the physical and digital worlds – the two environments our technologies and solutions, including our bespoke digital twins, work to seamlessly unite.

The right-hand side of the diagram represents the digital world, where much of the business creation cycle exists. We capture this concept in our digital Imagineering-Optioneering-Engineering (IOE) methodology.

Imagineering. Optioneering. Engineering.

The aim of all innovative companies is to constantly reinvent themselves to disrupt the competition and deliver new levels of customer value. This begins with Imagineering – creating and visualising new concepts, products, processes, value streams and environments.

Through digital twins, these concepts can be visualised and shared digitally, and at a fraction of the cost of a real-world implementation, pilot or prototype. This way, new ideas can be developed, discussed and expanded by stakeholders before moving through to the Optioneering phase.

At this point in the cycle, constraints can be added, feasibility can be digitally assessed, and computer simulations can provide a playbook of viable options to be evaluated. Once this has been done, we progress to the Engineering stage, encompassing detailed refinement, planning and realisation.

At all stages of this creation cycle, Royal HaskoningDHV’s rich technical and engineering heritage is augmented by the latest digital capabilities, like BIM models, parametric design, FEED and pre-FEED simulations, and construction schedule optimisation.

Digital insights, physical innovation

The left side of the graphic represents the physical world, and a typical “Run-Monitor-Control-Improve” execution cycle.

At this stage, we focus on the implementation, execution and improvement of the original idea. At a fundamental level this means dynamically monitoring, managing and optimising a wide array of performance factors, including customer, plant, process, asset, material, quality, cost and HS&E parameters.

In some cases, automated parameter controls are already in place to manage these aspects. But new smart sensor and Edge technologies, combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, can further improve and refine responsive control in areas like asset lifecycle management, overall equipment effectiveness and cost effectiveness.

Beyond monitoring and control, this stage of the loop must incorporate a dedication to continuous improvement, consisting of detailed performance analysis and pro-active problem identification and resolution. Common approaches to this involve concepts like Lean, 6-Sigma and TPM. But to produce the most value, these approaches should always be augmented and amplified by the analytical power of digital technologies.

This infinity loop is how we help our customers create brighter futures and deliver sustainable business value. If you’d like to know more about Royal HaskoningDHV’s digital twin technologies and how they can help your organisation, visit our website.

For a more in-depth look at the role digital twins have to play in the rise of Industry 4.0, read our white paper Demystifying Digital Twins.

Download white paper


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Andrew Aitken
Chief Operating Officer for Digital Twin Software at Royal HaskoningDHV

Graeme Routledge
Marketing Director for Digital Twin Software at Royal HaskoningDHV