Survey Results and Top Questions from our Demo Series: Digital Twin: How to Build, Manage, and Enable a Powerful User Experience

Recently, we hosted the webinar “Digital Twin: How to Build, Manage, and Enable a Powerful User Experience.” During the webinar, we discussed using an upcoming application, Physical Asset Foundation, you can use to create and manage any asset configuration regardless of the complexity or industry. This approach provides the most complete, up-to-date information about the physical asset out in the field to support use cases across the lifecycle. 

More specifically, we demonstrated how to enable Digital Twins by, building and managing any Digital Twin configuration with Aras Physical Asset Foundation, creating a powerful 3D visual user experience with a Digital Twin using Aras Dynamic Product Navigation, and visually exploring connections to critical information in the Digital Thread related to a Digital Twin using Aras Graph Navigation.

We appreciated all of you who participated in the Digital Twin survey. Here are some of the results and some recommended actions you can take as you continue your journey:


The community is actively thinking about deploying Digital Twin technology―25% are in pilot stages and 69% have it on their roadmap plans in the next 3 years.

  • Start with getting the context right. This includes the capture of it as well as the processes and tools in place to sustain it over time. Once this is on a solid foundation, take the next step by investing in tools for Analytics, Visualization, and Simulation to increase opportunities for value creation.

The two biggest organizational teams that the group believes will benefit the most from Digital Twins are Maintenance (47%) and Engineering (35%).

  • Connect to context with a Digital Thread approach. PLM platforms are all about capturing context across the lifecycle. If your product lifecycle is disconnected, build strong connections to other systems in order to move context in the field back across the lifecycle to Engineering & Product Design.

As our community approaches leveraging Digital Twin technology, there is a heavy split on lack of expertise (41%), competing priorities (29%, and too many disconnected IT systems (24%)

  • Prioritizing investments in new technologies is a difficult exercise. First, invest in context and connectivity, then look to tools like predictive analytics, virtual and augmented reality, and operational simulation.

After the demonstration, there were quite a few questions from the demo, so here are the most asked questions with in-depth answers. We appreciate the engagement, and if you have any follow-on questions please submit them as a comment to this blog (at the bottom of page) and we will answer you:


Is the Physical Asset Foundation application available today?
Answer: The PAF12.0R1 will be available in early June of 2020. We are releasing the application on Aras Innovator 12 Service Pack 7.

Is Physical Asset Foundation part of the upcoming Aras Maintenance Management (MM) solution? If separate, why?
Answer: We have decided to release the PAF separate from Maintenance Management because we believe that it can be used in other business areas that are independent of maintenance activities such as Fixed Asset Management or GPS location services for example.

What if I had a 1 Million level BOM configuration, how is the performance, how do I enter that into Innovator?
Answer: As part of our testing procedures we constructed a 1000 part number physical BOM over 4 levels, and loaded it through the standard batch loading utility. The insert, update and display of data was found to be within an acceptable time frame. As a matter of course, we will work with our community to understand how and what they want to track. We will also continue to increase our testing data to represent larger, more complex structures.

Is the configuration update to an asset automatic or manual?
Answer: In this first release the update is manual. This is because Aras intends to introduce mechanisms to select replacement parts from inventory locations to support the build out of digital thread information. Ultimately, we must provide the user with the capability to select a target Physical Part structure and target Physical Part node to replace, and then once the replacement is selected automate the asset update process.

You showed a view across all customer sites using Graph Navigation, is that difficult to set up and/or configure?
Answer: No it's not difficult. This is something that would be set up by a system administrator and made available for use by the user base. There is a configuration section called "Graph Navigation” where the admin can configure Graph View definitions and define which items should be displayed and which nodes should be connected. There is flexibility in laying out the graph view structure, color coding of nodes, connectors, shapes of connectors, etc. Admins use our standard Query Builder to identify what data and relationships should be shown.

Is this Physical Product Structure in Aras Out-Of-The-Box or in a customer specific implementation?
Answer: The Physical Asset Foundation application will be available OOTB along with Aras Innovator 12 Service Pack 7

How is this adding value in Manufacturing Process Planning? Where does it fit in CAD structure-->EBOM-->Physical Product Structure--> MBOM..?
Answer: In our local Proof-of-Concept we linked the Physical Part record with a WORK ORDER that was generated using the MPP to create the WO and proved traveler instructions. In the Digital Thread, the Physical Part BOM is the SERVICE BOM and is linked to the EBOM via the Engineering Part. Remember that you cannot have a Physical Part created without having an Engineering Part Release record available

Can I create an entire BOM copy as a Physical Part?
Answer: Yes. Regardless of how many BOM levels you have, you can create an entire BOM structure from the Parent Serialized part down to the serialized child records. In this first release we are only allowing serialized Physical Parts to be added to Physical BOM child structures. "Lot” controlled and "No" parts will be added in future releases.

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