Human-Centered Digital Twin Design for Industrial Symbiosis
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Industrial symbiosis is a pivotal process in realizing the circular economy. Lags and the lack of information-sharing between companies prevents the symbiotic system from working properly. As a potential solution for information-sharing in supply chains, digital twins are expected to make breakthroughs in information-sharing on industrial symbiosis by creating dynamic information connections to track real-time demand and material flow among companies. However, human willingness and demand are not properly considered in the design of current digital twins, which goes against the concept of Human-Centered Design. This work aims to match the potential functions that digital twins can supply in information-sharing and the needs of companies based on the Human-Centered Design. The functional achievability of digital twins in respect to industrial symbiosis for cross-company information-sharing is demonstrated. The functional framework is based on the case study of an industrial park, Skjerven Skog industrial park in Norway. Based on a consideration of these aims, three research questions were formulated: ·From the perspective of innovation and promotion by developers, what potential economic and environmental benefits does using digital twins in information-sharing bring to industrial symbiosis? ·From the perspective of the potential users, what are their needs and concerns regarding industrial symbiosis for digital twins in information-sharing? ·After matching the potential functions of the developers and the needs of users based on the theory of human-oriented manufacturing, what content does the functional framework of digital twins include in respect of information-sharing for purposes of industrial symbiosis? To answer these questions, an exploratory research approach involving modelling, interviews and a case study was adopted. The benefit of this approach is that it offers a comprehensive analysis of the research question from the theoretical and practical perspectives. This research is guided by the results of the comprehensive literature reviews. Key findings of the work presented here include: ·From the functional perspective of digital twins in information-sharing, data integration can realize the functions of production-process monitoring, production decision-making support, and data reuse regarding industrial symbiosis. Information-sharing in industrial symbiosis based on digital twins is conducive to increasing the profits of some companies from industrial symbiosis and is also conducive to reducing the negative impact of excessive fluctuations of profit caused by market shocks for some companies and the entire supply chain. The application of digital twins is beneficial in promoting industrial symbiosis by facilitating information exchange between companies. ·From the needs perspective, the main needs of digital twins in information-sharing in industrial symbiosis include the technical requirements of data integration and information security, the control of excessive fluctuations of company profits and industrial symbiosis, the growth in profits, and functional requirements such as improving production efficiency and monitoring emissions. ·From the point of view of the functional framework of digital twins in information-sharing for industrial symbiosis, the function includes cross-company modes of information communication based on blockchain and company-internal modes of production monitoring and control, including flexible production control and carbon dioxide emissions assessments. The contributions of this research are both theoretical and practical: Theoretically, they fill the following gaps in research: 1) the economic and environmental potential of digital twins for industrial symbiosis in information-sharing; 2) the demand of companies for the use of digital twins in information-sharing for industrial symbiosis; and 3) the specific functions of digital twins for industrial symbiosis in information-sharing based on potential demand-matching. Practically, this research: 1) increases the application confidence of symbiotic companies; 2) increases the understanding of the potential market; and 3) constructs a functional framework based on a case study facilitating digital twins with high application values.