The Digital Thread (Abstract)
From initial planning and analysis, through design, manufacturing, and testing, and on to field operation and even disposal, the Digital Thread weaves together the meaningful relationships and connections and decisions that drive costs and materials, parts, software versions, electronics, CAD models, documents, production plans, and maintenance records. Owning and controlling the digital thread to perform services, maintenance, and upgrades on DoD equipment is a critical component of the product lifecycle model. This digital thread appears throughout the product life cycle and is founded on 3D product definition shared across the enterprise, enabling rapid, seamless, and affordable deployment of products from concept to disposal. It represents a fundamental shift to 3D from 2D. However, obtaining the technical data package (TDP) and using that 3D data is often a challenge as well as converting 2D data to 3D data. Many new technologies allow maintainers the opportunity to take advantage of 3D technical data in new ways, such as additive manufacturing which uses 3D technical data to build items such as prototypes, tools, and repair parts while dramatically reducing time and costs. Another is the development of simulations and animation. Digital data repositories need to be created that store and allow access are to material-process characterization. This forum will identify challenges, research, implementation issues, and lessons learned in the digital thread focused sustainment, where a digital 3D model of the product serves as the authoritative information source for all activities in the product’s lifecycle.
1300-1309: Welcome and Overview – Greg Kilchenstein (OSD)
1309-1310: Administrative Notes – Debbie Lilu (NCMS)
1310-1400: NAVAIR’s Digital Thread: PLM / Digital Backbone Environment – Russell Padgett (IDRN PM / ISE DIO) & Justin Reynolds (FRC-E)
1400-1430: US Air Force Digital Enterprise – Edward Berro (AFMC / A4-EN) JTEG- USAFDigitalEnterprise-Harmer (003)
1430-1445: Wrap-up and JTEG Principals Comments
Event: On 26 February 2019, the Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG), in coordination with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), hosted a virtual forum on “The Digital Thread”.
Purpose: The purpose of this forum was to discuss the employment of the Digital Thread in support of sustainment operations and identify the benefits, challenges, implementation issues, and lessons learned in the digital thread focused sustainment.
Welcome: Greg Kilchenstein – OSD(MPP) welcomed everyone to the forum, thanked the presenters and all the listeners for their attendance, discussed the importance of the digital thread in DoD sustainment, and then briefly previewed the agenda.
Administrative: This was an open forum. The presentations, along with questions and answers, were conducted through Adobe Connect. A separate audio line was used. Approximately 58 participants from across DOD and industry joined in the forum.
NAVAIR’s Digital Thread: PLM / Digital Backbone Environment – Russell Padgett (IDRN PM / ISE DIO) & Justin Reynolds (FRC-E) combined to give a presentation on the NAVAIR digital thread environment. Russell described “Core Model Based Definition (MBD) Development” that included recapping the MBD problem and solution. He also described the RDT&E Network Team and the MFG Team center workflow/data structure. Justin described the problems and solution in expanding to NAVAIR’s Integrated Digital Resource Network (IDRN), which creates one system/environment using common digital processes. He described a digital backbone and workflow example, and how data is partitioned within the team center. He concluded with target milestones during calendar years 2019 – 2020.
U.S. Air Force Digital Enterprise – Edward Berro (AFMC / A4-EN) discussed the Air Force’s digital enterprise experience and challenges. He presented numerous active projects and current activities to include an engineering enterprise roadmap update, AcqNet – DREN, PLM-CI licenses, and digital engineering guidebook build out. He discussed in detail the digital engineering environment, to include describing a demonstration, and then identified additional challenges in cybersecurity, personnel culture/training, industry partnership data issues, and the challenge of archiving and retrieving the enormous amounts of data.
Q&A – A Q&A occurred after each briefer finished their presentation. Questions and answers will be posted on the JTEG website with these minutes.
Closing Comments: Greg Kilchenstein thanked the presenters for their contributions and all the work being done to support the development and implementation of digital thread in support of DoD sustainment operations. He suggested continuing the information exchange beyond the forum and the importance of collaboration within the DoD maintenance community.
- Both briefings are cleared for “public release”, and are posted on the JTEG website at http://jteg.ncms.org/ .
Next JTEG Meeting: The next scheduled JTEG virtual forum is 26 March, 1:00 – 3:00 pm EST. The topic is “Reverse Engineering”.
POC this action is Ray Langlais, email@example.com , (571) 633-8019
NAVAIR Digital Thread: Russell Padgett, Justine Reynolds
Q1. Is each item uniquely identified? How do we trace the items?
A1. The items are not being physically marked for unique identification at this time.
Q2. What percentage of parts are manufactured at NAVAIR for airframes serviced through MRO at FRC East? (Andrew Pokelwaldt)
A2. That is difficult to answer as we support parts from multiple sources. Typically, I would say about 10% of the value stream.
Q3. Are these all done or to be done?
A3. The JEDMICS connector is almost complete. Team Apps are also well on their way. SLICWave is on the way. 4-5 are targeted to be done by June-July.
Q4. In terms of IOC, is there any reason why the F-18 does not show up?
A4. None whatsoever. I just did not want to draw it any more attention.
Q5. When does FRC digital manufacture?
Q6. Why aren’t you on the cloud …everyone else seems to be going to cloud servers?
A6. The only reason is because we are not mature enough. We didn’t want to assume the risk at this point.
USAF Digital Thread: Edward Berro (AFMC)
Q1. What is the Next Step? Are there going to be milestones?
A1. We have some laid out. We built a charter with roles and responsibilities. The digital engineering guidebook should be online by the end of October.
Q2. As we look to the future and the roadmap, are we distributing the effort more toward those areas that we can benefit from the most…i.e. sustainment?
A2. We are building to institutionalize and trying to take advantage of those areas that we can….for example, how much do we want to invest in towards making the B-52 a digital aircraft?
Q3. How long did it take to implement the A-10 design change?
A3. I don’t know the answer to that question, however it was pointed out that the A-10 work was presented at an earlier JTEG Forum.