A year ago, on July 30, 2020, NASA launched Perseverance rover to continue studying signs of life on Mars. The equipment was sent aboard the Atlas-V rocket. Inside the rover, the Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, a technology demonstration to test powered, controlled flight on another world for the first time. How did the rocket scientists at NASA know how to build a helicopter that would fly on Mars? They first built a digital twin.

NASA first created a virtual Mars and a virtual helicopter with all the inputs and environments required. It tested, changed, and adapted using virtual systems because by the time NASA got to Mars, it would be too late to make modifications: the minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 54.6 million kilometers, about 350 travel days.

A proof that digital twin technology is quickly becoming a core part of engineering.

Digital twin technology has actually been a concept practiced by NASA space program since the 1960s. An example is thedeveloped a digital twin to assess and simulate conditions on board Apollo 13.

But that’s another story…

One of the world’s largest ports and one of the most efficient container ports in North America, the Port of Houston will use PhDsoft’s C4D digital twin to improve operational performance, reduce inspection and maintenance costs, and maximize crane asset life.

The contract between PhDsoft and the Port of Houston was signed last year. C4D goes into operation at the port later this year, after the tests that started in February.

“Asset integrity management is one of the most important areas for port owners and operators. C4D allows the immediate awareness of the structure degradation through its 4D X-ray visualization, and consolidates all the information in a database of simple and fast access”, explains Duperron Ribeiro, CEO of PhDsoft.

“The database format file allows the information exchange inside the Port of Houston and with unlimited service provider companies, such as inspection companies, technical consultants, painting and maintenance companies, among others”, says Duperron.

“In addition, it helps to automate and improve inspection measurements and paint consistency, creates corrosion statistical evaluations rates, calculates painting areas and cathodic protection, creates bills of materials, repairs specifications, among other features”.

In 2012, TN Petroleo magazine, one of the leading publications in Brazil’s oil and gas sector, highlighted the launch of a new version of C4D, PhDsoft’s digital twin.

“Unique in the world, [C4D] is used to maintain the integrity of offshore oil & gas structures to prevent accidents and reduce overhead costs. This led to C4D being adopted by Petrobras, Shell, Modec, and Subsea7,” wrote the magazine.

“Now, the software also includes augmented reality to guide underwater robots that assist with inspections. This was a demand for the exploration of the pre-salt,” noted the article, which employed input from Duperron Ribeiro, CEO of PhDsoft.

“C4D is a Brazilian success story. It brings together the most modern engineering, IT, and management techniques to maximize the efficiency of the maintenance process and minimize the risks of accidents that cause major damage, pollution, and deaths,” explained Duperron. “This was what attracted Petrobras, more than 15 years ago, when I was still testing the technology as a professor at UFRJ before founding PhDsoft in 2000.”

C4D gained value during the Covid-19 pandemic
Today, almost ten years later, C4D continues to undergo constant technological updates and gained great value during the Covid-19 pandemic for significantly reducing the face-to-face inspection of the assets under its control.

An article published in January in the MIT Technology Review – Massachusetts Institute of Technology magazine – points out that digital twins are the protagonists of the technological transformation underway.

According to Guga Stocco, creator of Banco Original’s online operation and co-founder of venture capital firm Domo Invest, digital twins are considered the protagonists of smart factories in the industry.

Potential for use by individuals

“[The global consultancy] Gartner predicts that by 2021, half of the big companies and industries will use digital twins, which will translate into a 10% improvement in their efficiency,” he highlights.

“In the daily lives of individuals, digital twins have enormous potential as virtual and augmented reality evolve, 5G networks are being implemented, and VR glasses are gaining new designs, formats, and functions.”

One of the pillars of the so-called Industry 4.0, digital twins are considered by the global consultancy Gartner one of the ten most relevant trends in the IT field.

According to the consultancy, a third of global organizations will adopt artificial intelligence (AI) and Digital Twins solutions in conjunction with Internet of Things projects by 2023.

“Digital twins represent the present and the future of companies and industry because by digitally representing a process, structure or system, they form the bridge between the physical and the virtual world,” explains Duperron Ribeiro, CEO of PhDsoft.

“In this way, they are able to monitor, analyze and improve the performance of processes, reduce costs and increase productivity,” he adds.

C4D: first digital twin on the market

In 1993, PhDsoft launched the first version of C4D, a robust and proven solution that accurately predicts the degradation and corrosion of complex assets over time.

“C4D’s first client was Transpetro in 1995, which started using on its ships,” he recalls.

It was the first Predictive Digital Twin in the market. Only eight years later, the term Digital Twin was adopted. Since then, PhDsoft has led on the Predictive Digital Twin technology.

In recognition of PhDsoft’s readiness to enable the digital transformation of the maintenance process of structures, static equipment and piping, PhDsoft is now highlighted on Siemens’ mindsphere.io website in the Featured Partners page.

C4D uses MindSphere to support IoT integration and asset monitoring in real time, providing a smooth and safe digital transformation of the maintenance process. Data efficiently flows from critical assets via MindSphere to C4D Smart Digital Twin to provide awareness of the aging process and associated risks over time.

Partners and customers understanding the benefits of our Smart Digital Twin approach asked for a solution for pipelines, railways, and roads. The answer is the Geo Dashboard where risks are showed in color. Every variable such as pressure, temperature, corrosion, repairs, etc is considered to calculate the risk. It is connected to all the C4D features.

Did you know that, beyond USA and Brazil, PhDsoft is already in Italy, China and Singapoor, that will serve as a base for all Asia operations? Behind this growth is PhDsoft’s COO, Rosana Ellis. Based in Houston, she has been commanding the global expansion of the company that developed its first Digital Twin in 1994, seven years before the creation of the concept. Therefore, PhDsoft lives Digital Transformation since it was founded.
“Now, PhDsoft Technology Inc. is just about to sign an agreement with a partner in Shanghai to create PhDsoft China. In Singapoor we have a very strong partner since 2017. In 2019 the goal is to expand to Tanzania and Malaysia. In Italy, based in Milan, we are in a very advanced partnership, that has already resulted in a close alliance with Siemens. They see us as complementary partners at the oil & gas and energy sectors, in which we will have a global presence by the end of the next year”, reveals the executive.
With extensive experience in business, especially international business development, and finance management, Rosana Ellis is fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish and German, and has a master’s degree in accounting from University of North Carolina and an MBA.
She has also been able to identify and explore opportunities from one PhDsoft base to other. This was the case of Shell, where the Game Changer Team, based in USA, became interested in projects that were being developed in Brazil.
“The partnership with Shell is for a long run, since their intention is to adopt PhDsoft’s Digital Twin Solutions for all their assets”, says Mrs. Ellis.
In order to support company’s expansion, PhDsoft has been engaging in the main oil & gas fairs for all over the world. Only China, Mrs. Ellis have visited three times this year for two conferences in Shanghai, in March and October, and one in Shenyang, in September. At one of them, the company got first prize at the InnoSTARS Competition (the picture shows Rosana Ellis at this event). At other, PhDsoft was awarded as “Best Potential Company”.
For 2019, the participations at the Hannover Messe, the world’s Leading trade fair for industrial technology, the Offshore Mediterranean Conference, in Ravenna, Italy, and the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Texas.

“Digital transformation can help the Oil and Gas industry tackle the challenges it faces and, in the longer term, create value for all its stakeholders”, states in the foreword of the report Digital Transformation Initiative, produced by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture.
Here you can read some excerpts from the document:

“Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the Oil and Gas industry has played a pivotal role in the transformation of the global economy, fuelling the world’s demand for heat, light and mobility. Today, the Oil and Gas sector has the opportunity to redefine its boundaries through digitalization.”
“Digital innovation is reshaping industries by disrupting existing business and operating models. But it is also having a profound impact on society, presenting a series of opportunities and challenges for businesses and policy-makers”.
“The Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI) is a project launched by the World Economic Forum in 2015 to serve as the focal point for new opportunities and themes arising from the latest developments in the digitalization of business and society.”
“There is growing consensus that the Oil and Gas industry is on the cusp of a new era, as a second wave of business and digital technologies looks set to reshape the sector, propelled by a series of macroeconomic, industry and technology trends.”
“Digitalization in the Oil and Gas sector has the potential to unlock greater value for industry ($945 billion) than wider society ($637 billion) over the next 10 years. The themes that create the largest impact are Digital Asset Life Cycle Management and Energizing New Energies, which together account for 90% of the value at stake.”
“The World Economic Forum is committed to helping leaders understand these implications and supporting them on the journey to shape better opportunities for business and society.”

PhDsoft Technology has joined forces with Siemens to provide services for offshore platforms. “With these partnerships we serve all types of equipment present on offshore platforms”, says Duperron Marangon, CEO of PhDsoft.
Siemens was attracted after PhDsoft being awarded in Shell Innovation Challenge. Like Shell Smart Connect, Siemens MindSphere enables easier data communication of manual inspectons for PhDsoft C4D®, that creates 4D Real Time Digital Twins to predict future corrosion.