Helping A&D Companies Weave the Digital Thread from Product Design to Factory Floor
Aerospace and Defense companies are adopting digital twins and digital threads to:
- Drive efficiency as they build the most complex, engineered products in the world
- Reduce time to market and manufacture
- Reduce defects
- Protect intellectual property across a complex, global supply chain
SWISS transforms legacy proprietary specifications, Mil specs, work instructions, test plans, and incorporates notes on drawings into interoperable linked digital models. With SWISS, A&D companies create a digital thread from the government buyer all the way to the Tier 3 Subcontractor. Using SWISS, every concept in the model is always linked to its authoritative sources, is change-aware, and is accessed only by permissioned users. SWISS digital models are directly integrated into commonly used engineering systems, such as Siemens Teamcenter® and PTC Windchill®, MS Office, and others. These digital models enable the automatic flow of information throughout the organization in a way that is not feasible with legacy documents.
The Digital Thread Starts with the Department of Defense
When most people think of a supply chain, they think only of the physical supply chain from the customer to the primary manufacturer to the lower-tier supplier. However, the A&D supply chain and the MBE relies on a complex document supply chain that connects MILSPECS, Industry Standards and proprietary manufacturer specifications. This is where the power of SWISS is truly impactful.
DoD's Acquisition Streamlining and Standardization Information System (ASSIST) library lists more than 20,000 active specifications and standards. These documents contain more than 107,000 references to other documents; a third of these are references to external industry documents published by 70 Standards Development Organizations (SDOs).
SWISS turns these documents and the millions of derivative works that reference them (e.g., RFPs, work instructions, test plans etc.) from isolated, dead-text PDFs into a linked data model that enables the Digital Thread. Using SWISS you are notified when a document you authored references an authoritative source that has changed, whether that authoritative source comes from the DoD, Industry Standards, or another proprietary specification from one of your colleagues.
The SWISS Digital Thread Brings Together Five Key Functions
Using SWISS to link notes on drawings, specifications, work instructions and other documents means connecting five functions that are too often siloed in terms of their information sharing.
SWISS integrates with A&D PLM systems such as PTC's Windchill® and Siemens Teamcenter®, Microsoft Word, and SharePoint® and assures each department is working from the same, authoritative version of the truth. Every concept within your engineering content knows its meaning, its status, and its relationship to other data. No one works from out-of-date versions. No one wastes time searching for related documents or concepts. No one has to guess the operational impact of a change to any document. Actionable intelligence is conveyed across the supply chain, improving time to market and reducing errors, re-work and risk.
To put the power of SWISS behind your internal document library, contact us.
Large A&D companies typically have multiple locations and divisions (frequently added through merger or acquisition); each with their own parts management policies and item masters. In addition, to identifying common parts across internal data silos, this information must be harmonized with external supplier and customer data - where the identical item is described in different ways. This disparity in product identifiers and descriptions prevents discovery of existing products that satisfy engineering criteria, finding substitutable items and in the end, leads to parts proliferation, duplication, poor data quality and obsolescence management issues; these are significant and costly problems.
XSB's Pin Point solution addresses this problem in legacy part data management. Pin Point is a robust and scalable system for standardizing information about products and the companies who manufacture and distribute them. Pin Point aggregates data from multiple sources; these typically include databases and legacy systems internal to the enterprise, as well as external web-based sources such manufacturer and supplier web-sites. Pin Point uses AI and semantics to build a “coherent view” of each part using data from all of these internal and external sources.
Aerospace and Defense industry parts managers use Pin Point to eliminate part duplication, manage obsolescence, reason on part similarity and detect issues such as REACH and RoHS, counterfeits items and potential supply chain disruptions. Pin Point can be integrated with an OEM's PLM system for optimal results in the new part approval process.
The AMIGA tool allows DLA users to quickly identify Items of Supply that are likely candidates for Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing.
DLA manages over 5 million items of supply for the Department of Defense, very few of which were designed to be manufactured using this alternative production process. To determine which of these could be obtained using Additive Manufacturing, DLA must answer two questions: can it be made using Additive Manufacturing? and should it be? Answering these questions requires a product specialist to review technical data about the part and logistics information about where it is used and how it currently is obtained. This process requires significant manual effort and if attempted for all the items DLA manages, it would require many more resources than DLA has available.
AMIGA allows DLA to input specific requirements for the physical and logistic properties of a part and quickly pre-select only parts that meet those criteria, allowing the product specialist to focus only on items where there is a high likelihood that Additive Manufacturing is an option.
While DLA is currently the only user of AMIGA, the tool holds great promise for the industrial digital enterprise. 3-D printing is a major part of Industry 4.0; fueled by Big data and advanced AI, AMIGA may become an essential component in the industrial digital ecosystem.