Over the last few years the idea of a digital twin has transformed from a buzzword with a lot of potential but plenty of skepticism surrounding the concept to a tool which is utilized as a single source of truth in a growing number of sectors. There are a lot of reasons for this shift, but one of the biggest is simply improvements in the technology needed to get the most out of the tools, as well as the accessibility to utilize them. Prices are coming down without sacrificing power, and advances in things like artificial intelligence and machine learning are automating more of the process, thus taking it out of the hands of workers who may have limited technological knowledge.
It’s also become easier to build out these tools, as developers with knowledge of specific spaces can focus on what they know with collaborations and integrations existing to fill in the rest of the gaps. Bentley Systems’ iTwin platform has been a big part of that, and they recently announced another tool as part of the program, introducing Centre for Computational Technologies’ (CCTech) HVAC-Twin as part of their program.
As the name suggests, this is a digital twin platform that is centered specifically around HVAC systems, something that is only going to grow in importance as parts of the world deal with more extreme heat and cold, to say nothing of new ventilation requirements stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that these systems are both designed optimally and, once in operation, maintained to the highest degree possible, which is where this HVAC-Twin system comes in. A web-based, physics-informed 3D platform, it is built with collaboration in mind in order to minimize turnaround during projects’ design phases.
That collaboration piece is one that is increasingly being pointed to as an important one in designing any structure, whether it be an entire building or complex, or in this case, a specific system within. CCTech indicates that HVAC-Twin is built to help all stakeholders understand built HVAC systems – which is certainly not always the case for those not working specifically with them – with those stakeholders including architects, building occupants, general contractors, HVAC system designers, consultants, and building owners. Crucially, these digital twins also include a variety of sensors alerting stakeholders to potential maintenance issues more quickly than would otherwise be derived, monitoring and visualizing things like temperature, occupancy, and CO2 levels.
The HVAC-Twin platform is one offering from CCTech, an India-based company. In addition to their HVAC platform, they have other tools available to monitor valves and pedestrian zones, as well as a simulation hub to maximize the value of these different platforms. Bentley Systems’ iTwin platform, meanwhile, is in place to provide “the foundation for building SaaS solutions to design, built, and operate infrastructure assets.” In other words, developers to build on Bentley’s open platform, with Bentley taking care of some of the periphery requirements like back-end security, infrastructure, and data integration.
On this development, Director of Consultancy at CCTech Nem Kumar said, “We are excited to add HVAC-Twin to Bentley’s powered by iTwin program. The iTwin Platform’s visualization and data management capabilities allow HVAC-Twin to incorporate and visualize sensor data, and run simulations, to make broader inferences about HVAC designs with higher accuracy. This increases the speed and cost-effectiveness of HVAC system design.”
Adam Klatzkin, Vice President of iTwin Platform at Bentley Systems, added, “We are very pleased to have CCTech add their HVAC-Twin application to the powered by iTwin program. In doing so, CCTech joins the growing ecosystem of software developers enabling digital twin solutions with the iTwin Platform. HVAC-Twin is a great example of how BIM and sensor data can be combined and visualized to optimize the design, maintenance and operation of HVAC systems.”