• By Renee Bassett
  • Talk to Me

How’s your digital transformation going? I don’t mean the creation of your personal hologram or Internet avatar; that kind of “digital twin” is outside the scope of InTech magazine. I mean, how is the tech-driven transformation of your plant going? Have you integrated your manual processes with your automated ones? Have you dabbled in the darlings of digitalization, the killer apps of industrial computing: namely, the virtual models of physical objects and systems known as digital twins?

If not, maybe it’s time. If so, care to tell me about it?

Digital twins are popping up all over to help automation professionals build new products, monitor existing assets, optimize maintenance, reduce downtime, and more. There are scores of examples and more coming out every day. The models being built are increasingly robust and benefit from an abundance of IIoT data. (See "Technology-driven Asset Integrity Management Perspectives" for what ISA members from Tata Consulting are doing to use modeling and sensor data to enable technology-driven asset integrity management.) 

The technology has gained a lot of traction in the past few years due to an acceleration of digitalization in general. InTech magazine has been monitoring the trend and will now cover it through our new department called Digitalization Diaries. This showcase for case studies and first-person essays is being created in conjunction with Automation.com, the subsidiary of ISA for which I am also the chief editor.

Automation.com is the leading online publisher of automation-related content, including industrial and commercial automation news and case studies. The information available through its website, newsletters, ebooks, and webinars helps automation professionals improve production efficiencies, secure and optimize facilities, and digitally transform their manufacturing and industrial businesses.

Digitalization Diaries seeks to capture and convey, via the pages of InTech, the real-world challenges and successes of digital transformation being experienced by members of ISA and the larger automation community at companies large and small; we start this month with the story of a small chemicals batch processor. 

As digitalization rises, so too does attention to cyberattacks and cybersecurity. While we regularly cover OT cybersecurity in our features (see “Automation Systems Cybersecurity: From Standards to Practices” for a look at how standards become best practices), another new department will provide a more regular outlet: ICS Cyberwatch.

InTech magazine only publishes six times per year, but Automation.com publishes continuously; you can learn the latest on OT cybersecurity developments, digital transformation, and more in Automation.com newsletters and ebooks. Subscribe at www.automation.com/newslettersubscription.

So how have Industry 4.0 technologies and digitalization improved your plant and operations, made your work life more efficient, or made your products even more praise-worthy? I hope you’ll tell me about it.

Reader Feedback

We want to hear from you! Please send us your comments and questions about this topic to InTechmagazine@isa.org.

Like This Article?

Subscribe Now!

About The Authors

Renee Bassett is chief editor for InTech magazine and Automation.com, and publications contributing editor for ISA. Bassett is an experienced writer, editor, and consultant for industrial automation, engineering, information technology, and infrastructure topics. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from Indiana University, Bloomington, and is based in Nashville.