AWS IoT TwinMaker Makes Digital Twins Available to a Wider Audience

The service enables manufacturers to model real-world environments more efficiently, reducing downtime.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced the general availability of AWS IoT TwinMaker, a service that allows companies to create a scalable, current digital representation of facilities. The program helps manufacturers integrate data from IoT equipment sensors, production lines and live video to improve manufacturing operations.

(Image courtesy of Amazon Web Services.)

(Image courtesy of Amazon Web Services.)

TwinMaker works by allowing a customer to import different types of 3D models, including BIM files and point cloud scans, into the AWS data storage area. The customer must also upload data from sources like IoT equipment sensors and live video. TwinMaker then creates a “knowledge graph” from the data and overlays it onto the 3D visualizations. The combination of the two sets of information creates the digital twin.

The customer is then able to use the TwinMaker plug-in for Amazon-managed Grafana. This open-source analytics and visualization web application displays the digital twin. Now the customer can observe the twin and make changes to its real-world facilities.

A customer can facilitate inputting data into the storage space with other AWS services, including AWS IoT SiteWise for equipment and time-series sensor data, Amazon Kinesis Video Streams for video data, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage of visual resources like CAD files and data from business applications.

Further, TwinMaker provides a framework for customers to create their own data connectors, or paths that allow data to be uploaded into the AWS storage space. They can use these connectors with other services and applications, including Siemens MindSphere, which stores information generated by machines in manufacturing and makes it accessible through digital applications such as automated production.

Traditionally, a manufacturer had to manually retrieve data from different sources, create a knowledge graph, build a 3D virtual representation of their facilities, and overlay the data onto the 3D model. They also had to keep the digital twin up to date. These steps were difficult, complex and expensive, which put digital twins out of reach for many businesses.

“Sensors for equipment, buildings, and industrial processes are proliferating and generating massive amounts of data. Customers are increasingly eager to use that data to optimize their operations. With AWS IoT TwinMaker, customers can now derive previously unavailable insights about their operations that inform real-time improvements to their buildings, factories, industrial equipment, and production lines, and make accurate predictions about system behavior with minimal effort,” said Michael MacKenzie, General Manager, IoT at AWS, in a press release.

AWS’s customers include Carrier, a heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturer. Carrier is using TwinMaker to premiere its own shared services platform, By creating digital twins of its customers’ systems, Carrier can help individuals and businesses decrease service costs and increase the reliability and efficiency of its equipment.

INVISTA, a nylon and spandex manufacturer that is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, is using TwinMaker to respond to alerts from its plant floors. TwinMaker makes it possible for INVISTA field workers to have a consolidated view of asset and operational data. With TwinMaker, a technician can determine how manufacturing equipment at one plant is behaving abnormally. They can compare it with similar equipment at another location and determine how to address the problem.

AWS does not require up-front commitments or fees to use the service. Customers pay to store and access data on the AWS system. AWS IoT TwinMaker is generally available today in U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Europe (Frankfurt), and Europe (Ireland). The service is set to be available  in additional AWS regions soon.