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BIM Digital Twin: A Collaborative and Iterative Approach

BIM Digital Twin: A collaborative and iterative approach….

Digital Twin is one of the strategic technology trends in 2021. However, it seems that we are still far from seeing its entire potential as predicted by Gartner for emerging technology, whose analysts predict the next 5 years, half of the industrial companies will use these products.

The Digital Twin is a technology that is commonly defined as a virtual model of a product, service or process, which uses sensors to provide real-time data by integrating IoT, Artificial Intelligence and information based on analytics software. The collected data can then be used to create a twin that can accurately predict how those processes, products or services behave in order to avoid negative consequences.

However, after a research study undertaken by IDEA Ingenieria, IDEA considers this definition, despite highlighting some of the key aspects, remains incomplete: A Digital Twin must not be based just on electronics devices and software. A Digital Twin has to be, above all, a collaborative and iterative work methodology. To this end, IDEA has developed its own BIM Digital Twin methodology that explains the main stages a Digital Twin should follow in order to be successfully implemented.

BIM Digital Twin Methodology

This process especially emphasises phase I, Digital Consulting for the assessment of procedures, since the Digital Twin does require a robust digital system able to ensure the solid foundations for the rest of the stages.

Furthermore, the particularities of BIM Digital Twin is its integration with Building Information Modelling (BIM) methodology, which provides the techniques to digitise and manage the life cycle of an asset. As a result, the BIM model is obtained, which means, a virtual representation of the asset that contains all the data related to its life cycle.

BIM-Digital Twin Methodology
Figure 1 BIM Digital Twin Methodology
BIM Digital Twin Funnel
Figure 2 BIM Digital Twin Funnel

On one hand, this reference base will allow users to visualize the data in a three-dimensional ecosystem, in fact this will undoubtedly provide a much greater understanding of the information and its context in order to identify potential relationship never detected before. On the other hand, the other benefit of considering the BIM Model as an inherent basis of the Digital Twin is the use of all those data contained in the model, which have been generated during the phases preceding the Operation and Maintenance phases. This provides the ability to identify behaviour patterns related to decisions made during design stages, providing this a single a comprehensive perspective of the entire model.  Consequently, the BIM model should be the reference base for any Digital Twin solution.

Digital Twin (Asset health)
Illustration 1.- BIM Digital Twin (Asset health)


Predictive Maintenance on System Corrosion
Illustration 2 BIM Digital Twin (Predictive Maintenance on System Corrosion)


To sum up, the unity of the physical and virtual world through Digital Twin is a reality that allows us to simulate the behaviour of any asset in order to analyse it and improve its effectiveness. Undoubtedly, an example where technology helps to implement high-level maintenance that increases production and minimises the possibility of failure.

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  • Civil Engineer from University of Granada. MSc Civil Engineering from Swansea University and Master BIM & Big Data Analyst Manager from European University Miguel de Cervantes. She is currently part of the Digital Transformation Department of IDEA Engineering as R&D projects’ coordinator.

  • Senior Project Engineer, who studied Energy and Environmental Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland (UK) , he also got two Master degrees in Occupational Risk Prevention and Advanced Administration & Project Management, getting also the Scrum Master Certification. Currently, He is leading the Digital Transformation Department of IDEA Ingeniería, where he applies his knowledge in the industrial field, to make the most of the new technologies of Industry 4.0: virtual, augmented and mixed reality, additive manufacturing, laser scanning & point clouds, 360º virtual tours, drones, Smart BIM, IoT, etc.

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