How are Digital Twins and Digital Threads Different?

 
Digital threads form the data foundation for which digital twins are built upon.
Digital threads form the data foundation for digital twins

Digital threads and digital twins are two important concepts in the manufacturing industry. Both can be used to improve efficiency, reduce costs and optimize performance within enterprise asset management (EAM) systems. But what is the difference between them?

Key Differences Between a Digital Thread vs Digital Twin

The digital thread is the path that data follows as it is collected, analyzed, and used to inform decision-making. A digital twin is a dynamic virtual 3D model of a physical object or system that can be used to track its real-world counterpart’s performance and predict its future behavior.

The digital thread is the foundation upon which digital twins are built. A digital thread can be thought of as a “single source of truth” for data about an object or system. This data can come from many sources, including IoT sensors, simulations, and manual input. The digital thread is also a permanent record of your product or system’s lifetime, from its creation to removal and provides traceability.

A digital twin is a dynamic 3D model that uses data from the digital thread to represent the current state of a physical object or system, and to predict its future behavior. Digital twins can be used for many purposes, including monitoring workflows and diagnostics, performance optimization, and predictive maintenance.

Digital twins are often used in manufacturing, oil & gas, and utility industries to improve quality control and optimize production lines. By having a 3D virtual model of a manufacturing process, engineers can make changes and test them before they are implemented.

Can Digital Threads or Digital Twins be used on their own?

Digital threads and digital twins are often used together, as they complement each other well. However, they can also be used separately.

Digital threads can be used without digital twins, for example to track the progress of data through a process or system. This data can then be used to inform decision-making, but it will not be represented in a dynamic 3D model.

Digital twins, on the other hand, require digital threads in order to function. This is because they rely on data being captured and tracked throughout the lifecycle of a product or system. Without this data, it would not be possible to create an accurate representation of the real-world counterpart. When multiple digital threads are collected and combined they can synergistically provide holistic performance of a physical object or system.

How Digital Threads and Digital Twins Can Improve Manufacturing

There are many advantages to implementing a digital thread and digital twin in manufacturing.

Digital threads can be used to track the progress of data through a manufacturing process, from design to delivery. This data can be used to optimize the process, for example by reducing waste or increasing efficiency.

Digital threads and digital twins can be used in manufacturing to improve quality control and optimize production lines. By having a virtual model of a manufacturing process, engineers can make changes and test them before they are implemented. This can lead to shorter development cycles, less waste, and higher-quality products.


Digital twins can also be used to monitor and diagnose problems in manufacturing processes. This can help to identify and fix issues before they arise, thereby reducing the risk of defects.

Conclusion

Digital threads and digital twins are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different concepts. A digital thread is a single, continuous strand of data that flows through a manufacturing process from start to finish. This data can be used to track the progress of a product and optimize the manufacturing process. A digital twin is a digital copy of a physical product or process. This copy can be used to simulate different manufacturing scenarios and test new designs before they are implemented in the real world.

Digital threads and digital twins are powerful tools that can be used to improve manufacturing. They can be used to track the progress of data through a process, optimize processes, and avoid costly mistakes. Implementing a digital thread and digital twin can help to reduce costs and improve productivity in manufacturing, utilities, power & energy and other industries that rely on heavy industrial assets.

 

 


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