The current situation, with the need to limit the movement of people to avoid risks of contagion, means that the operations of many infrastructures and assets can be very negatively affected. Either because of the difficulty of moving people, or because of the complexity of ensuring adequate health measures, or in the worst case because our own personnel have been affected by the pandemic.
The physical operating environment (PO) where we maintain assets, whether they be machinery, industrial facilities or building equipment, requires physical access to these assets. Unlike office (IT) environments, where the possibility of remote access and teleworking is relatively viable, access to infrastructure and facilities still requires a high level of physical presence. This aspect makes it particularly vulnerable to situations such as the present one, where the availability and mobility of people can be seriously affected. And where any action that minimises the risk and possibility of contagion can make a big difference.
Digital asset management using Digital Twins brings certain advantages in any scenario, but in critical situations like the present one, they can make a big difference. A digital twin allows a much closer management of real infrastructures than only using traditional systems such as SCADAS, BMS and CMMS.
In operation and maintenance, it allows, among other things, to visualize the infrastructures in a 3D model with the real operation and maintenance data. This helps considerably in minimizing the number of physical interventions and rationalizing those that are carried out, optimizing access and performance of each of them, and optimizing the aggregation of activities in a single visit / intervention. Additionally, if the interventions are to be performed by personnel who do not usually work in those facilities, the help of a digital twin can be very important in optimizing this intervention.
In the management of assets, spaces and monitoring, the digital twin can help us in an agile management of spaces for rapid changes in terms of dedication of spaces. We can see the availability of additional space for storage, ease of access and availability of equipment in order to recondition spaces in an agile way. This point becomes even more relevant if we have multiple assets to manage in a situation where it is necessary to minimize visits and inspections by people.
Having a digital twin of our facilities/buildings/infrastructure always provides great value, but in critical situations, this can be the tool that makes the difference in managing these exceptional scenarios.