Ford Motor Company: Dearborn campus uses a digital twin tool for energy plant management

Read the full case study from U.S. DOE’s Better Buildings Program.

A digital twin is the virtual representation of a physical object or system across its life cycle. Ford uses digital twin technology to accurately detect energy losses, pinpoint areas where energy can be conserved, and improve the overall performance of production lines. At Ford’s Dearborn Research and Engineering Campus Central Energy Plant (CEP), the digital twin helps operators and engineers manage energy and operational risks by monitoring the CEP’s energy systems, including the combined heat and power (CHP) system, heat recovery chillers, electric centrifugal chillers, thermal energy storage, and other equipment. The digital twin model pairs a virtual representation of the CEP’s mechanical systems with real-time data to enable learning, reasoning, and dynamic recalibrating for improved decision making. Real-time data is collected via connected internet of things (IoT) devices, a network of sensors that exchange data with the model. Using the digital twin, the CEP team can drive operational excellence by monitoring operations across the major energy-consuming equipment.

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