The digital thread makes it possible to access the same up-to-date digital information, i.e., “the only version of the truth,” at any point in a process or a product lifecycle. It facilitates the publishing and consumption of the right information, in the right place, at the right time, in the proper context to the right user or process.
This is a broad concept, is not new by any means, nor comes in one-size-fits-all, nor is particular to a specific industry, nor limited to one particular phase of a process or product lifecycle. For example, if you have ever collaborated to create and edit a document with one or more colleagues via Microsoft 365 or Google Docs, you have experienced some manifestation of this technology.
So, what is the Digital Thread?
The Digital Thread is about three central tenets:
- Re-use and augmentation of digital data.
- Transparency of data.
However, we would like to delve into the Product Lifecycle Digital Thread of an industrial product: from conceptualization and design to engineering and prototyping to manufacturing, sales, operations, and service, so we have a better understanding of these three central tenets.
Many technologies knit the digital thread of a product through its lifecycle. To name a few, CAD, FEA, CFD, PDM, PLM, IoT, AM, AR, MES, APM, SCM, ERP, CMM, and plenty of other three-letters technology acronyms. However, the genesis of a true Industrial Product Lifecycle Digital Thread has its foundation based on three key technologies. Those are CAD (Computer-Aided Design,) PLM (Product Lifecycle Management,) and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things.) The data shared by these technologies is vital to give continuity to the product in every stage of its lifecycle.
There are plenty of use cases of the digital thread in many industries. No matter where it is implemented, it will always show the value of accessing “the only version of the truth.”
We have put together a short e-book that explains this in layman’s terms so that everyone may understand it. We invite you to download Digital Thread: An Industrial Product Journey and follow its lifecycle.