The future of digital transformation with organizations in manufacturing is currently underway. Manufacturers see the need for optimized collaboration through product design, manufacturing, and support processes. Real-time data with smart, connected products (termed Fourth Industrial Revolution, IoT, Industry 4.0) adds to managing the surmounting amounts of data. It’s common to see information ‘silos’ where product data and information in life cycle processes reside in their respective departments. As a result, siloed data causes information gaps and prevents enterprise-wide communication and collaboration, leading to poor product development, more rework, redesign, and loss of money, and increased costs for companies.
It’s because of these information ‘silos’ and disconnected data that give rise to the future vision of the ‘digital thread’, where information can be integrated throughout all systems to drive design, manufacturing, product development processes, and support.
What is the digital thread?
The digital thread is the communication framework that links all information that belongs to a product instance across the development process and IT systems and ultimately enables manufacturers to re-purpose, reuse and trace product information throughout the product development lifecycle and supply chain. When you integrate your designs into a ‘digital thread,’ partners, suppliers and vendors are all connected to consistently updated and traceable product data.
Whether you are working on 3D models or other data files, your product development team will always have access to the most updated part and can communicate and collaborate effectively through all domains. Successfully managing the digital record of information throughout the product lifecycle gives you complete interoperability and traceability.
Creating an end-to-end information chain that reliably provides the right information is a BIG challenge as collecting and managing product data structures from multiple disciplines can get highly complex in the production process. The image above illustrates connecting PLM, SDM, ALM, Requirements Management, MRP, ERP, Cloud, and other systems.
What is the Digital Twin?
The digital twin represents an asset that includes its metadata – design and models. The 3d model helps you understand how your digital model will and can act in real-world scenarios. In other words, digital twins make it possible to simulate the behavior of your physical asset, whether it be a car, airplane, or organization manufacturing plant. The digital twin enables you to monitor them for continuous improvement since there is a constant feedback loop. The digital twin’s primary purpose is to give you better insight into the system and how it behaves in the real world.
You can’t have the digital twin without the digital thread. And while digital twins impact will reflect the digital representation of a real object or asset, the digital twin’s real-world scenario information is communicated to your systems via the digital thread, the link to interoperability.
How does digital twin and digital thread help your product lifecycle development?
Since the digital thread gives you the framework for system interoperability and traceable information throughout the supply chain, manufacturers can work with consistent – up-to-date data throughout the lifecycle. In turn, your processes improve, errors reduce, and your ability to create your products becomes more efficient, shortening time to market.
Combined with the digital twin, you’ll have vital information as to how your products work in the real world and can make your adjustments accordingly.
How do you integrate Digital Thread and Twin into your current processes?
A Solution to Enable Digital Thread and Twin
PROSTEP products and solutions enable the digital thread through:
- REPLICATION with OpenPDM
- FEDERATION with OpenPDM
- COLLABORATION with OpenDXM GlobalX
- COMMUNICATION with 3D PDF Technologies
With REPLICATION, you’ll be able to share and synchronize data (CAD for CAE and BOM for manufacturing) between systems.
With FEDERATION, you’ll be able to provide intelligent, traceable links between systems, giving you real-time access to data managed in another system.
With COLLABORATION, you’ll be able to automatically share data securely and reliably with your suppliers and customers securely with encrypted transport and digital rights management.
With COMMUNICATION, you’ll be able to generate 3D PDFs, Technical Data Packages (TDPs), and visualize data in HTML5 so that data from multiple systems can be combined into a secure document.
How can PROSTEP help enable your Digital Thread and Twin Initiatives?
As leading partners with major PLM vendors, including SIEMENS, Dassault, PTC, our vendor-neutral approach gives you the best tools to make digital transformation a reality. Vendor neutral connectors enable the communication flow between all your systems. OpenPDM is the bridge and digital thread to connect your data.
What is OpenPDM?
OpenPDM product family from PROSTEP is a integration suite of products to connect product data from different PDM, ERP, SDM, ERP or legacy systems. OpenPDM Suite consists of:
- OpenPDM Connect
- OpenPDM Integrate
- OpenPDM Migrate
- OpenPDM Collaborate
- OpenPDM Ship*
The versatile suite of connectors give you the most comprehensive solution to incorporate various PLM vendors for PLM integration, Migration, PLM to PLM connection, and collaboration scenarios.
OpenPDM Connect to connect complex product structures, individual parts, BOMs, documents, metadata and more between two systems.
OpenPDM Integrate connects systems in various disciplines, departments, and locations for data interoperability.
OpenPDM Collaborate is your customized solution for joint venture or other long-erm collaboration projects.
What is the API for the Digital Thread?
Traditional views of large enterprise development see information siloed throughout different departments. A change occurring in the design can have significant impact on time and costs if not reflected throughout the product’s lifecycle. Integrating, synchronizing, and managing development data throughout the product development process becomes difficult from the ever-growing, complex environments comprised of siloed systems.
When you add the rapid acceleration of technology advancements such as Industry 4.0, IoT, blockchain, and others to the development process, more challenges and complications occur.
As a result, companies find it difficult to manage and maintain their product data as well as stay competitive with the changing pace of technology. But much of that confusion can be eliminated if the correct processes are built into your product design workflow. One method for eliminating complexity is the deployment of a robust API.
Watch the Introductory videos or download the white paper:
In this white paper you will learn:
- Where complexity originates in a product design workflow
- How an API can streamline the various threads of complexity in a product design workflow
- How the appropriate API can make your IP more secure