• Digital Twin
  • Energy Management
  • Energy Transformation
  • Sustainability

Unlocking the Power of the Digital Twin to Promote Sustainability

Rafael Go
Sep 17, 2019

Connectivity 5

Digital twins can enable process improvements that reduce costs by increasing operational efficiency and promoting corporate sustainability. TrakRap, a secondary packaging company, worked with Siemens to create a new packaging system that uses an innovative stretch film and a new packaging machine that can wrap and seal products without the use of heat. TrakRap relied on digital twin technology to model and test revised configurations to the wrapping machines for new products. By leaning on the digital twin, the company has been able to reduce development costs, bring products to market faster, and reduce its carbon footprint. Eliminating the use of heat and shifting away from the use of conventional plastics enabled the company to significantly reduce energy and material consumption.

Digital Twins Help Reduce Carbon Emissions

COMSOL, a software company that delivers engineering solutions, created a digital twin solution that accurately estimates cement drying times. Given that the rate at which cement dries is heavily dependent on environmental factors, sensors placed on a construction site can measure environmental data in real-time and provide an up-to-date estimate of the drying time. With the vast amounts of carbon dioxide produced by the cement industry, cutting down waste in the application of cement represents a huge reduction in carbon emissions.

Other Sustainability Benefits

Leaning on digital twins has often been touted as an effective tool in achieving corporate sustainability goals, especially in industries like manufacturing. However, effectively using the digital twin to reduce a company’s carbon footprint is maximized when companies conduct organizational changes that promotes a sustainability-first mindset.

Going back to the TrakRap example, the innovative film used in the orbital wrapping is composed of a 100% recyclable material, developed due to the company’s commitment to being more sustainable. Support from senior leadership and promoting a sustainability-first mindset was a critical precondition to reducing the carbon footprint throughout the entirety of the orbital wrapping approach. Including sustainability as a key performance metric in various functional processes demonstrates that sustainability targets are a key corporate priority. Without embedding sustainability as a priority in all aspects of the business, it would be impossible to unlock the full potential of the digital twin.

To learn more about the prevailing elements of the digital twin, its potential impact on sustainable manufacturing, and recommendations for manufacturing companies looking to successfully implement this approach, read Navigant Research's report, Leveraging Digital Twin Approach for Sustainable Manufacturing.