What Is Digital Twin?

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical product, process, person, or place that can understand and predict its physical counterparts. A digital twin has three components: a digital definition of its counterpart (generated from CAD, PLM, etc.), operational/experiential data of its counterpart (gathered from Internet of Things data, real-world telemetry, and beyond), and an information model (dashboards, HMIs, and more) that correlates and presents the data to drive decision making.

Types of Digital Twins

Digital twins come in many forms and varying complexities, but can be distilled across four physical areas:



Captures product lifecycle from origin through operating in customer’s end environment and decommissioning.


Representations of manufacturing operations and production activities to create products and services.


Deliver task information to workers and/or capture data to improve process efficiency.


Virtualize a place—like a factory or workstation—to gain insight into the complex workings within the environment and engage with it.

What Can Digital Twin Do?

Digital Twin to Improve Service and Uptime

With PTC as a partner, Howden is using technologies like augmented reality and IoT to demonstrate the power of immersive experiences. One of Howden’s goals is to use digital twin technology to reduce business risk for their customers by improving the uptime of deployed products.

See how it works

Digital Twin of Place, Process, and People

The emerging technologies of spatial computing and analytics are enabling a digital twin of place. With both a bird’s eye and detailed view of a factory floor enabled by integrating multiple sets of data, spatial analysis offers visibility into movements within a space, and can make data-driven recommendations on how to improve processes and performance. See how in this video from the PTC Reality Lab.

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Digital twin deep dive Digital twin deep dive

Dive Deeper With Digital Twin

As industrial enterprises generate increasing volumes of data about the physical world, they are mapping this data back to the IT systems that define their products, processes, people, and places to enhance the digital thread. Digital twins are quickly proving to be a key strategic accelerator for digital transformation and the means in which to unlock the value of data across the enterprise.

In the State of Digital Twin 2022, we explore how digital twins are impacting businesses today across engineering, manufacturing, and service. While noting a digital twin strategy does come with specific challenges, we outline the potential significant benefits of the initiative.

Applications of Digital Twin

The applications with digital twin are still emerging. With the technology comes the capability for real-time feedback – and even predictive monitoring and insights. This has the potential to expose new revenue opportunities, such as enhanced service delivery. Outcomes of these use cases are increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, driven by improved asset uptime, and faster time-to-resolution.

As we examine all the opportunities for PTC and our customers, there are three distinct areas where digital twin will make a difference: Engineering, Manufacturing, and Maintenance and Service. Explore each area in more detail below.



In engineering, digital twin technology provides a product lens that enables teams to better understand how products are being used in the field and then use that data to build better products. Through this closed-loop design process, engineering organizations optimize product form, fit and function, as well as quality far beyond what can be achieved when relying on static specification documents. 

 Leveraging a digital model and simulation tools, they can validate performance well before—and in some cases in lieu of—physical prototyping, reducing costly late-stage redesign and accelerating time-to-market.


Digital twin applications for manufacturing continue to grow, benefiting all levels of manufacturing operations. Particularly with process-based digital twins, businesses gain production visibility and planning, which improves operational agility, increases throughput, and optimizes process efficiency throughout the supply chain.

Specific use cases include production monitoring, asset monitoring and machine diagnostics, supporting visual work instructions, predictive maintenance, shop floor performance improvement, process optimization, and more.


To support maintenance and service teams, digital twins are being used to enhance service delivery and offerings that improve customer satisfaction through increased uptime and faster time-to-resolution. Teams are leveraging it for service parts identification and fulfillment, visual procedure guidance/verification for frontline workers, remote monitoring, and predictive service and maintenance.

What Are the Benefits of Digital Twin Technology?

Industrial companies are starting to scratch the surface of digital twin benefits. Below is a round-up of potential benefits across use cases.

  • Enhance supply chain agility and resilience 
  • Reduce product time to market 
  • Enable new business models (i.e., product as a service) 
  • Increase customer satisfaction 
  • Improve product quality
  • Drive operational efficiency 
  • Improve productivity
  • Inform sustainability efforts

Digital Twin Insights

Digital twins have enormous potential for the industrial enterprise. They can inform improvements to the next generation of a product, help identify bottlenecks in processes and support service technician to a faster repair. As you explore the right use cases and applications for your company, check out our thought leaders on specific digital twin topics.

The Best Practical Digital Twin Use Cases
How Digital Twin Enables Predictive Maintenance
Top 8 Digital Twin Benefits
What Is Digital Twin?

The Best Practical Digital Twin Use Cases

Digital twin use cases are applicable across multiple industries and functions (engineering, manufacturing, and service). See how these practical implementations are creating very real value.

How Digital Twin Enables Predictive Maintenance

Digital twins provide a strong foundation for predictive maintenance, enabling businesses to better understand their physical products, and processes and proactively respond to issues.

Top 8 Digital Twin Benefits

Digital twin benefits include improved customer satisfaction, product quality, operational efficiency, and more. This blog covers all the top benefits.

What Is Digital Twin?

If you need a primer for digital twin and how the technology works today, this blog is where to start. Learn how digital twins are transforming products, processes, and places.

Stay Up to Date on Digital Transformation

Curated for industrial leaders, the monthly Digital Transformation Newsletter highlights the latest insights on business and technology strategy from respected research analysts presented in easy-to-digest executive summaries.

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