3 min

How a digital twin of your asset can make it easier to manage

Vinçotte’s digital tool ViA is helping inspectors work more safely and save time and resources

Drones and robots are having a big impact on the testing, inspection and certification (TIC) industry, and this digitalization is benefitting customers, the market and society as a whole. Increased efficiency is driving down costs and helping companies get innovative products to market faster; digital tools are improving safety and accuracy and therefore helping maintain high-quality services; and digitalization is providing real-time information that supports transparency and traceability, thereby growing consumer confidence.

But it’s also generating vast amounts of data, which can be difficult to work with. Using a new tool from Vinçotte, asset managers will be able to collate and visualize their data, making it more manageable and actionable. The Virtual Inspection Administration (ViA) platform was designed to visualize data from remote visual inspection (RVI) techniques, including those using drones, remote cameras, endoscopes and crawlers.

Innovation to tackle a data challenge

Vinçotte has been working with RVI techniques since 2018, and they noted how the technology improved the safety and efficiency of testing and inspections. They also recognized the value RVI techniques bring to customers. In the (petro)chemical and pharmaceutical sector, for example, the data generated can increase customers’ knowledge about their assets.

When you properly manage and integrate that data, you can create an opportunity to accelerate or even avoid shutdowns, work more safely and save money, for example, by needing less scaffolding. However, the more data they produced, the more cumbersome it was becoming to manage and integrate.

To keep enjoying the benefits without struggling with the data, in 2021, Vinçotte launched the V3D project, which resulted in ViA.

ViA: a foundation for asset management

ViA is an equipment management platform with 3D models. It offers a more intuitive way to manage equipment efficiently throughout its life cycle. ViA is based on the digital twin principle, in which software recreates real-world objects as 3D models. This means you can see an interactive 3D image of your asset, whether it’s a storage tank or a centrifuge, alongside inspection plans, centralized data and insights into what needs to be done – all in one place, always available.

There is also a communication tool, enabling collaboration with internal and external partners. It’s possible to share the information in ViA with maintenance colleagues, for example, making it easier to discuss what needs to be done.

ViA could be used for any type of equipment used in any industry, at any point in the lifecycle. But because the platform brings together all relevant information, including previous inspection reports, test results, permits, safety and engineering procedures, it is more complex assets in the petrochemical, process industry, nuclear  and pharmaceutical sectors that benefit most.

Prepared inspectors, enthusiastic customers

The Vinçotte inspectors are already seeing the benefits of ViA, and they are noting enthusiasm from customers too. “Our project is the beginning of a revolution in inspection methods," said Laurent Aguilar, Inspector Industrial Services.

By visualizing the inspection plans, the inspectors can better prepare themselves and carry out more accurate inspections, which increases the chance of success for sensitive missions. “Our customers are already very enthusiastic about this new approach,” said Jean-François Thonnart, Project Engineer.

With ViA, asset managers can limit or avoid downtime of their assets, therefore providing a more reliable service to customers. “Our digital inspections with ViA are a great advantage and offer many possibilities for the future,” said Quentin Dagneaux, Inspector Industrial Services.

Thomas Hellin, Lead Contract Engineer Industrial Services, added: “We are already proud, together with the whole team, to take the opportunity to support this innovation.”

Vinçotte leads the way to a digital future in TIC

“In the 150 years of the company's existence, Vinçotte has found its way to globalization – a significant development that offers opportunities for the future,” said Nicolas Roosens, Innovation Manager at Vinçotte. “ViA has a real potential to enable Vinçotte and Kiwa to play a role in taking advantage of the digitalization of our customers.”

Vinçotte is embracing digital technology to remain at the forefront of innovation in the industry. ViA is the logical step towards the digital future of the inspection process.