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Implement Digital Twins Faster with an Asset Information System

Digital Twin PLM bim April 5, 2022

VIEWPOINT: Bentley Systems’ AssetWise ALIM can save you time by bringing digital information into one solution, validating it, and making it visible across an enterprise.

Asset-intensive industries—such as process, utilities, and transportation—rely on accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date information for effective operations. Through maintenance, procurement, modifications, and upgrades, however, asset information is always changing, and all these functions use the same information. Therefore, it is imperative to have consistent information across all consumers to ensure safe, reliable, and efficient operations. Often, though, the information is held in disparate and unconnected silos, with limited management of change across the digital ecosystem. The result is personnel spending more time trying to find the information that they need and verifying its validity and accuracy, leading to making wrong decisions and increasing costs due to duplication or the wrong work being carried out. This situation ultimately puts the safety of the workers and the reputation of the organization at serious risk.

What is required is a digital solution that connects these disparate sources together, validates the information, brings visibility to all changes across the asset lifecycle, and ensures reliability at the point of use.

Market-leading asset lifecycle information management software, such as Bentley’s AssetWise ALIM, can help unlock the value in digital information from the day that it is deployed. Whether in the planning stage of a new project or operating an existing asset, it is important to have a flexible system that is easy to implement and ready for the first step toward asset management to save costs, improve safety, and reduce risk. It can then be used as the backbone of a digital twin, effectively managing change and enabling easy access to validated and trusted asset data, documents, and drawings in an open and connected digital environment.


Deliver Value from Information Faster Than Ever

One of the main challenges of implementing any new information management solution into a business or organization is the time that it takes to get started and see value. It becomes more pronounced on larger projects that are more asset and information intensive. Getting started can take months, even years, time better spent delivering results. With an asset information system in place, it is possible to start small and see the benefits of asset lifecycle information from day one. From the time a system is deployed, there is access to an environment where teams can load documents and tag information, capture the full installation history of equipment, run simple review and approval workflows, distribute documents, and search for the relevant information.

The sample configuration delivered with AssetWise ALIM can easily be extended to support more complex business processes, such as managing concurrent changes or information packages.  

The system allows asset owners to think big while proving small before scaling quickly across their asset base, creating an understanding of what to do and where to be upfront. They can start with a smaller project or asset to learn from, then roll out across the project or across similar operations. Like any leader in business, they want the shortest time to ROI in every project. Implementing a solution that is flexible means that they can start at any stage of digital maturity, use the information that they already own, and quickly see results to rapidly expand.


Kick-start a Digital Twin Solution

A digital twin is a virtual representation of real-world entities and processes, synchronized at a specified frequency and fidelity. Digital twin systems transform business by accelerating holistic understanding, supporting optimal decision-making, and enabling effective action.


View relevant and up-to-date asset information, such as the operational characteristics, related documentation, and affected change requests.

View relevant and up-to-date asset information, such as the operational characteristics, related documentation, and affected change requests. Image source: Bentley Systems, click image to enlarge.


An AssetWise ALIM system can be the foundation of a digital twin solution, ensuring that the digital twin is always consistent and up to date. Asset owners can take control of their lifecycle information quickly and easily by tailoring their solution with adding advanced tag management, document control, or developing robust change management workflows. They can work toward an immersive asset environment in which an object within a model can be clicked on to reveal its information, documentation, and change history.

AssetWise ALIM operates in an open, interoperable, and connected environment, offering a set of cloud-provisioned services that provides support to digital workflows, context, and concepts, allowing firms to access accurate, reliable, and consistent information. A set of standard connectors to multiple third-party systems, such as SAP and Maximo, ensures that all users are accessing a common, validated, and up-to-date source.


Remote Familiarization and Control of Work

Safety requirements, workforce flexibility, remote sites, and infrequent maintenance are driving the need for virtual, simultaneous familiarization and control of work. Bentley’s iTwin Visualization provides a facility to enable dedicated teams, workers, and contractors to prepare work safely and efficiently, while reducing the need for on-site visits.

This familiarization is also critical for supporting daily operations and ensuring that processes are executed safely and on time. iTwin Visualization provides the context for managing work on site by displaying the operational status of the assets and ensuring a holistic view of the operational information that is needed to perform tasks. This capability is valuable when planning or working on a specific area of a facility, as it provides a quick visual assessment on a piece of equipment to see what changes may be pending, as well as the equipment detailed information.


View operational status of any asset within the digital twin.

View operational status of any asset within the digital twin. Image source: Bentley Systems, click image to enlarge.


Generate Sustainable Benefits — User Stories

AssetWise ALIM has been successfully implemented over many years across a wide range of industries, delivering tremendous benefits and ROI.

The first example is one of Australia’s leading natural gas producers, based in Queensland, who has a master tag registry for its assets that includes over 20 million data points. To handle a doubling of data from documents and model files, as well as migration of documents from systems based on energy performance certificates (EPCs), the company uses AssetWise ALIM software, hosted on Microsoft Azure. This application has reduced tag capture time by 90%, as well as lost time from maintenance crews arriving on site without correct parts and tools.

The second example is the Ameren Callaway Energy Centre in Missouri, U.S., which is a nuclear power plant that started operating in 1984. The efficiencies introduced by using AssetWise ALIM as a single modern platform for Ameren’s information management system ensured timely and effective modification, as well maintenance during scheduled plant outages, significantly reducing costs. Using ALIM’s relationship capabilities to automate manual processes and streamline information improved its access and accuracy, reduced time required for plant staff to find and verify documents, and resulted in less rework.


Support A Digital Twin

Used as the starting point of your digital solution, an asset information system is integral for keeping your digital twin evergreen through formal change management and workflow automation. AssetWise ALIM via an iTwin viewer enables access to an asset’s operational information in the context of reality models, 3D models, and drawings. Users can search for assets based on specific criteria and then visualize them within the iTwin platform for further analysis.


The reality model of a facility provides a clear presentation of the actual site.

The reality model of a facility provides a clear presentation of the actual site. Image source: Bentley Systems, click image to enlarge.


The iTwin viewer simplifies daily operation and maintenance activities by providing quick access to relevant and up-to-date asset information, such as operational objects, related documentation, affected change requests, and projects. It provides complete visibility of the asset’s status, including any planned changes. This visualization aspect provides effective capabilities to navigate within the model, find information faster, highlight critical asset data, and share information easily.

The flexibility and openness mean that you can work with the information you have from third-party software—by supporting interoperability, the data does not have to come from Bentley applications—as well as providing integration to other mission critical systems including SAP and Maximo. In the 2020 Verdantix survey, 69% of operations executives mentioned open architecture for integration as either a “very important” or an “important” criterion when evaluating software applications for asset management.

Bentley’s AssetWise product line, including ALIM, works within your existing information ecosystem to drive actional information from the data that you already own, making it the ideal entry point for your digital twin strategy and to be easily scaled up for advanced use cases by using PlantSight.

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Richard Irwin

Richard Irwin is a Senior Solutions Marketer for Bentley System’s Asset and Network Performance group, with over 15 years’ experience in working within the industrial analytics space. In his role, Richard works with the sales and industry teams to coordinate marketing opportunities across a wide variety of industries applicable to AssetWise, OpenComms, and PlantSight. Based in the United Kingdom, Richard holds a master’s degree in Sociology from Aberdeen University and a Masters in IT from Heriot Watt, Edinburgh.

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