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Materials Engineering and Dedicated Digitalization in the Energy Utilities

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Kimberly McKenzie-Klemm's picture
Industry Technical Writing and Editing TPGR Solutions

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  • Dec 7, 2022

This item is part of the Data Analytics and Intelligence - November/December 2022 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

A digital transformation has swept the Energy Utilities Industry impacting services, networking, and materials engineering integration. Digitalization transformation is the switch from manual and analog data and processes to digitized data. Digitized data is saved, retrieved, and used differently than analog data, and animated processes simulating human thought and capability rely on digitalization to connect with the actual world from cyber storage. Dedicated digitalization is the overarching “thoughts” of digitization integrated through new technologies with new ways to store information and add open-source conversation embedded in the change processes embraced by a business or company. Efforts through digital twins, AI, and digital language compositing (to name a few) have all given rise to some of the fastest adopted technology and new engineering in the Energy Utilities today.

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As Energy Utilities swim the tide of the digital transformation, the merging of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) create steady, sustainable Energy Utility operations and more reliable, efficient equipment in functional areas such as the Smart Grid and materials engineering energy industry use products such as photovoltaic materials and wind system materials. Composite materials recently produced in manufacturing engineering for the Energy Utilities Industry using technologies from the digital transformation are used in the following:

  • Radomes
  • Pipeline construction materials
  • Sensors
  • Heating and cooling filters
  • Hydrogen fuel cells
  • Turbine blades and machinery
  • Semiconductors
  • Weather resistant shielding

An example of digitalization used in the Energy Utilities Industry adding to materials engineering manufacturing processes is using digital twins. “...the digital twin can represent the evolution of structure, process, and performance of the material over time, with regard to both process history and in-service environment.”(1) Some of the manufacturing engineering composite contributions through digitization technology use digitization additive engineering, some use digitalization life-cycle engineering, and some use digitalization digitization engineering modeling. The enormous technological difference in digitalization of how data is gathered, stored, and presented allows materials engineering to move faster in materials development stages and creates environments in the digitized world simulating actual use for computational “testing” stages not requiring a wide range of “real world” physical trials. “There are 3 main considerations to truly enable a digital transformation in materials science R&D: data entry and management, the physical or computation experimental data, and AI-driven screening and analysis.”(2)

“AI-driven automation is one basis for future smart Composite 4.0 factories” (3). Once materials engineering has finished R&D, manufacturing is the next step for equipping Energy Utilities with up-to-date provisions for their energy systems. Dedicated digitalization is not involved in only one part of the materials’ processes from inception to sustained use. The term “dedicated” also refers to the digitization software, cloud infrastructure, and connected digital ecosystem merging IT and OT to bring materials engineering products into practical Energy Utility use. Industries like Energy Utilities, relying on this type of dedicated digitalization in the digital transformation, move forward in profits and technological progress by relying on the changes digitalization has brought about.


  1. Kalidindi, S. R., Buzzy, M., Boyce, B. L., & Dingreville, R. (2021). Digital Twins for Materials. Frontiers in Materials.
  2. Collins, Dr. R., (October 28, 2021). What is Required for a True Digital Transformation in Materials R&D?, IDTechEx.
  3. Gardiner, G., (July, 07, 2020). Composites 4.0: Digital transformation, adaptive production, new paradigms. Composite World.

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Kimberly McKenzie-Klemm's picture
Thank Kimberly for the Post!
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