Digital engineering may sound like a mysterious term to some, but it’s really a simple concept. Digital engineering is the use of digital tools and skills to create, manipulate, and realize designs. Digital tools may entirely replace traditional analog tools like paper and pencil, or they may augment a more traditional approach.
While there’s much involved in digital evolution, including more and more use of 3D renderings and advanced building information models (BIMs), the truth is computer-aided design (CAD) has been standard practice for years – so digital engineering is not a new concept. Now, however, there are more digital options than ever for improving the process of designing, building, and managing projects. The whole of this set of advanced tools and skills is referred to as digital engineering, and digital engineering itself is evolving rapidly.
Benefits of Digital Engineering for Engineers
Digital engineering’s biggest contribution to engineers is efficiency. In the past, meticulous work on paper meant designing complex projects was slow and organizing the massive amount of data needed to see projects through to completion was difficult at best. Not to mention, human error is a major issue where paper documentation is concerned, and necessary information like maintenance history or equipment specs weren’t always connected to facility designs in any meaningful way.
Now, digital engineering practices make the work faster and more accurate, and the use of BIMs means engineers can manage builds remotely, respond to problems, change designs before building, and even stay out of dangerous environments and reduce travel. Plus, with the right management software, 3D models of real facilities can be accessible to all stakeholders – with all pertinent information in one place.
Benefits of Digital Engineering for Project Owners
Project owners often need to communicate with engineers and make sure projects are proceeding on-time and within budget, but sometimes a bottleneck can occur when translating technical jargon for non-engineer stakeholders. With no way to look at the same design files, wires can get crossed and communication can get bogged down.
With modern digital engineering processes, clients and engineers can communicate on the same level, in the same digital space. This means a quicker feedback cycle, better adherence to clients’ needs, and reaching a satisfactory product faster and more often.
Especially when using 3D models, clients can see what a build will look like and how it will function before and during the build, better enabling them with feedback as to what works. With the right software, such as JP Interactive Viewer, clients and engineers can stay on the same page during all phases of a project, bringing down costs, increasing efficiency, and speeding up project timelines.
Next Gen Digital Engineering
CAD was the beginning of the digital engineering revolution – now, it’s the building information model, or BIM and point clouds. A point cloud is simply a dense set of data points in space with coordinates, intensity, and color value, representing a digital replica of any external shape, environment, or asset – both indoors and outdoors. This data can be used to create BIMs, but at the end of the day all of this data can be unwieldy without the right package to bring it all together.
One way to do this is to create a digital twin: a 3D model representing a build project exactly as it is. Software such as JP Interactive Viewer brings this model together with an interactive viewing platform so clients and engineers alike can “walk through” an excavation, with all pertinent data tied directly to the model.
For example, as a facility owner walks through a digital twin, they can inspect each piece of equipment and quickly pull up maintenance records, finding out on the spot if a component is overdue for maintenance. This one kind of information is the tip of the iceberg. JP Interactive Viewer also connects a full spectrum of data to a digital twin, such as facilities changes, CAD models, analytics, operational data, key performance indicators, and more.
It’s this kind of advanced data organization and collaborative ease that makes digital engineering on the whole an exciting area of advancement in engineering and project management.
There’s no end to the possibilities when it comes to how technology can improve life for engineers and their clients. Digital engineering has entered a new phase of innovation in recent years, but what has already appeared is only a small taste of what’s to come. JP Global Digital would love to be your guide in moving into the future of digital engineering.
If you’re ready to dive into what’s possible right now and see what a truly organized digital engineering solution can do for you, contact JP Global or get your free trial of JP Interactive Viewer today.