Digital Thread Takes Manufacturing [Visual Explainer]

What is the Digital Thread?

In fully connected manufacturing ecosystems, the Digital Thread unleashes a powerful, dynamic, and highly efficient web of interconnected systems that manage and leverage data throughout the product lifecycle, driving innovation in manufacturing processes.

DoD report

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) introduces the concept of the Digital Thread in context of manufacturing in a report.

Digital Twinning

Digital Twin, a concept closely linked to Digital Thread, gains steam in the 2000s after its introduction by Dr. Michael Grieves at the University of Michigan.

GE applies concept

In 2014, General Electric (GE) applies the Digital Thread to applications in aviation and wind energy manufacturing. Popularity grows across industries.

IoT invasion

The rapid advancement of Internet of Things (IoT) technology expands Digital Thread use cases for enhanced connectivity in manufacturing in the mid 2010s.

Artificial intelligence

Around 2018, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning integrations become more common in Digital Thread implementations for predictive analytics and real-time decision making support.

Pandemic years

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerates adoption of the Digital Thread as manufacturers seek ways to enhance virtual operations and remote collaboration.

Advanced technologies

From 2021 on, technological advancement like cloud computing, blockchain, and 5G continue to expand the use cases and accessibility of the Digital Thread.

Read the quick explainer at the top of this page for a fun visual experience.