NIST has played a leadership role, working collaboratively with PDES, Inc. on the Testing the Digital Thread project. This effort investigated the model-based enterprise (MBE) cost-saving anecdotal statements claimed by industry. The MBE enables real-time design and analysis, collaborative process-flow development, automated artifact creation, and full process traceability in a collaborative product-development (CPD) environment. The CPD environment, enabled by MBE, facilitates industry's success through a single integrated digital thread.
NIST effort's helped quantify the benefits of the digital thread scientifically, tracking metrics in cycle-time, in-process modeling, creation time of annotations, and time to interpret and/or consume data. The team developed three test case models using three commercially available CAD systems. All of the test case models contained PMI. Drawings were also generated for each test case. The test cases were then manufactured and inspected using 2D drawing and 3D model workflows. An example of a test case model and an associated fabricated part are shown below. The results of the two workflows are being compared to draw conclusions on the benefits and gaps with MBE methods.
The project was a collaborative effort comprised of PDES, Inc. members. NIST is a member of PDES, Inc. and provided funding and project management to this project.