Implementing the Digital Thread - A Proof-of-Concept
Al Fawares, Ruby
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Current engineering processes are heavily document-centric, which can add time and cost to projects, limit data accessibility, and make it difficult to actively manage models and data consistency throughout the lifecycle of a product. Additionally, traditional data siloes limit data accessibility across departments. Similar issues exist with tools: departments use software with different standards and formats, making it time-consuming and difficult to accurately propagate changes and requirements throughout. Aerospace projects and vehicles are also often a level of magnitude more complex than products developed in other industries, requiring the coupling of multiple disciplines, which intensifies these problems. Digital Engineering and Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) provide the context, methodologies and tools to address some of the aforementioned challenges. In particular, this paper presents the development and implementation of a Digital Thread proof-of-concept for a minimum viable product. In doing so this research demonstrates solutions to the challenges of data acquisition and management, model and data connectivity, tool, and platform integration, eventually leading to the realization of an authoritative source of truth across the product’s lifecycle. Additionally, this research highlights some of the key benefits brought about by the Digital Thread, which include increased collaboration and communication, managed consistency across models and data, as well as the ability to conduct model verification, validation, and calibration - an important tenet of MBSE.