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Testing the Digital Thread in Support of Model-Based Manufacturing and Inspection



Thomas D. Hedberg, Joshua Lubell, Lyle Fischer, Larry Maggiano, Allison Barnard Feeney


A number of manufacturing companies have reported anecdotal evidence describing the benefits of Model-Based Enterprise (MBE). Based on this evidence, the entire industry has embraced a vision to deploy MBE. In our view, the best chance of realizing this vision is the creation of a single ``digital thread.'' Under MBE, there exists a Model-Based Definition (MBD), created by Engineering, that downstream functions reuse to complete Model-Based Manufacturing and Model-Based Inspection activities. The ensemble of data that enables the combination of model-based definition, manufacturing, and inspection defines this digital thread. Such a digital thread would enable real-time design and analysis, collaborative process-flow development, automated artifact creation, and full-process traceability in a seamless real-time collaborative development among project participants. This paper documents the strengths and weaknesses in the current, industry strategies for implementing MBE. It also identifies gaps in the transition and/or exchange of data between various manufacturing processes. Lastly, this paper presents measured results from a study of model-based processes compared to drawing-based processes and provides evidence to support the anecdotal evidence and vision made by industry.
ASME Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering


Product Lifecycle Management, Model-Based Enterprise, Smart Manufacturing, Product and Manufacturing Information, Digital Thread
Created March 8, 2016, Updated November 10, 2018