PTC Builds Digital Twin of Industrial Furnace

Developed alongside French utility Engie, the digital twin aims to prove the efficacy of a hydrogen furnace and improve sustainable offerings

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

June 8, 2023

2 Min Read
Engie's digital twin for its industrial furnace

PTC has teamed up with French energy group Engie to create a digital twin of its industrial furnace in a bid to improve operational sustainability.

The virtual furnace was created to demonstrate the efficacy of converting operations to hydrogen power and help Engie’s shift towards zero carbon emissions.

Under the collaboration, PTC has provided its ThingWorx platform to offer IoT connectivity capabilities for the digital twin, as well as a system to collect and store data from the project. Engie’s R&D center, the Crigen Lab, is leveraging the digital twin to better monitor and manage its industrial assets as it transitions to hydrogen combustion.

“We are in a situation where future energy resources will change and industry will face many more standards and regulations to do with pollution and performance,” said Guy-Alexandre Grandin, Crigen Lab’s deputy head. “The problem with industrial equipment is that it cannot be changed easily – these are big pieces of equipment and machines, you cannot change a furnace as easily as you can change your car. Therefore you need a way to check and fine-tune the setting up of big machinery and equipment and we decided a digital twin could provide a solution.

The Crigen Lab’s real industrial furnace is located near Paris. The digital twin is intended to provide a study of the furnace’s behavior and allow operators to better plan for possible changes.

“The twin is a virtual machine that is connected to the physical asset in real-time and to do this we needed to bring different technological ‘bricks’ all together,” said Grandin. “A complex phenomenon like a fire or a furnace generates a lot of data and we had to find a way to exploit all of this easily. We needed to figure out a way to ‘put all the bricks together’.”

Engie is using an array of sensors to create a physically accurate virtual copy. Three strategic partners were selected to help turn this information into usable data.

Ansys participated to create the real-time simulation, while Synergiz developed mixed-reality software to monitor the assets themselves. PTC focused on the data management and collection side of the project.

“ThingWorx’s…work with Engie is helping the company prove the feasibility of hydrogen energy sources, a vital step forward in cutting emissions and helping the world move to Net Zero,” said Elliot Clarke, PTC’s UK and Ireland director.

“This project in the Engie Lab Crigen has been a huge success. Everything is ready, the value chain is operating, and the collection of digital twin data through 3D simulation is meeting expectations. The user in the field - donning the Microsoft HoloLens headset - now has access to real-time information from the digital twin.”

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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