Using Digital Twin Technology to Plan for Emergencies

MxD is partnering with Illumina, Horizon Controls Group, the International Academy of Automation Engineering, and MIT to demonstrate how Digital Twin technology can improve the medical product industry’s resiliency during emergencies.


It’s crucial for manufacturers to develop emergency response plans — before an emergency happens. Yet many FDA-regulated manufacturers find it difficult to proactively test emergency scenarios because it may interrupt their normal production or affect their regulatory status. This limits their ability to plan for and respond to crises.

Proposed Solution

The project team will perform an industry analysis and create a digital assessment tool to characterize Illumina’s readiness and validate the impact of its findings. The team will then create a digital twin of a portion of Illumina’s production process. A digital twin is a virtual model of a real-world process or equipment. It allows analysis and problem-solving without affecting physical assets. This digital twin will allow an Illumina production planner to explore multiple scenarios and emergency conditions, including reduced workforce, material availability, and product mix.


Using digital twins, manufacturers will be able to rapidly perform “what-if” analyses on complex processes for a variety of input conditions, without ever having to touch physical production assets. The lessons learned from this project can be mapped onto assessment tools to provide a path toward broad implementation. This will enable manufacturers to accelerate their use of digital technologies to scale or flex production, increase resiliency, and strengthen their supply chains.