Digital Twin Patent Analysis from IALE Tecnología

Our partner IALE Tecnología used IFI data to put together this interesting look at digital twin technology. For those not familiar with the term, it refers to a digital replica of a physical object, and is commonly used in manufacturing and gaining ground in other areas such as healthcare.

IALE performed an extensive analysis of the leading companies, countries, and types of innovations receiving patents.

Digital Twins
A glimpse at the main patented developments

Enric Escorsa, IALE Tecnologia
August 2018

Gartner expects half of all major industrial companies to be using digital twins by 2021. In this paper, we explore what exactly is meant by digital twins, what are their origins, and what are the associated technologies shaping digital twins applications today.

 A review of all published patents in the IFI CLAIMS global database allowed us to identify the main players currently developing digital twin related technologies, to discover what the main application areas are, and to find some the most relevant inventions being claimed.

Digital twin is a concept introduced in 2003 by Dr. Grieves from the University of Michigan, referring to a digital replica of a physical object that is created in order to simulate its behavior. Digital twins have been used for various purposes but in recent years we have witnessed a growing interest due to their disruptive potential in the digitalization of businesses. Use of digital twins has grown particularly in the manufacturing sector but also in other sectors such as health where they have been shown to greatly enhance process efficiency along the entire value chain through near-real-time monitoring, communication and interaction with smart connected objects in the context of IoT and Industry 4.0.

A recent highly retweeted article by Deloitte (“Industry 4.0 and the digital twin”) states that digital twins can allow companies to have a complete digital footprint of their products from design and development through the end of the product life cycle, thus consistently improving their efficiency. Industrial companies such as Siemens are well aware of the potential of digital twins and are strategically promoting them. In a series of articles (“Twins with potential”) Siemens highlights digital twins as the epitome of digitalization and the foundation of Industry 4.0.

In this post we wanted to find out which companies are currently doing R&D and patenting new inventions related to the concept of digital twins. Because this is a broad concept, we had to use several search strategies combining keywords and patent classes to grasp the significant volume of related inventions being published worldwide.

For that, we have used the comprehensive information from IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. IFI CLAIMS compiles patent data (as well as linguistic resources, business, scientific and technical data) from different sources and aggregates and unifies this data into a common enriched format which is delivered in a relational database. Moreover, IFI CLAIMS offers a convenient web service and user interface, CLAIMS Direct 2.1, in which we can trigger searches and generate and manage reports.

 Read the full paper in pdf format.