Digital port twin aids projects

Digital twin study area in Ravenna port, Italy. Credit: CNT Technologies
Digital twin study area in Ravenna port, Italy. Credit: CNT Technologies

Designing port construction projects using a digital twin foresees issues and thus cuts costs and eases operations

Designing new assets, whether they be infrastructure projects, ships, buildings, or other purposes, requires a great deal of nous. Behind each shore construction stand decades of cumulative understanding in materials science, and experience from analysis of existing projects. For a project to move from the design phase to construction, it must run the gauntlet of feasibility studies, destructive testing, and comparison with extant catastrophic failures.

To some extent, this means that new designs – at least by the time they have moved into the implementation phase – are necessarily staid and conservative. No matter how advance the human understanding of wear and tear may be, it stands to reason that new designs must be grounded in existing experience.

But this may be set to change; a relatively new technology, with the ability to consolidate and rapidly improve upon our existing knowledge, may be about to permanently reshape our understanding of what is feasible for new construction projects, including dredging: the digital twin.

Very often, a digital twin will be fabricated as a computer-aided design model at the design phase of a project. To use the example of a ship, the 3D model would not only replicate the dimensions of the hull structure, but also the properties of the materials therein.

This is an excerpt of the DPC September edition. To have access to the full article, and more DPC features, please subscribe here.