The Power of Connection

At ACE 2020, “The Digital Thread in Action” track will be three sessions featuring customer stories and software demonstrations. These sessions will showcase how the Aras community is solving problems by realizing the vision of a single integrated Digital Thread to Own the Lifecycle—from systems design, to engineering and manufacturing processes, to maintenance and operation. You’ll see how our customers achieve value and get a view into what’s coming next for Aras Innovator and our applications, to help inspire your company’s digital transformation and improve how you Own the Lifecycle of your products’ data.


Session 1: The Digital Twin in Maintenance and Service

The first session will concern Aras’ Digital Twin strategy, where, in real-time, we will build a Digital Twin configuration and present its capabilities. We’ll also show you it can be used in maintenance in order to improve maintenance effectiveness, helping organizations mitigate failure and do work in the most cost-effective manner. Aras’ strategy is to help organizations understand the current state of an asset, with a connected engineering, manufacturing and maintenance history to stay up-to-date with, and maintain configurations, in the field. For example, the asset is a robot arm—an “as designed” 3D view has its use, but it will lack any variants or in-field upgrades or modifications that differ among individual arms. As assets become increasingly complex, with an array of unique configurations, the as-designed view and the reality in the field quickly grow apart. We will show how a Digital Twin connects you to critical information to continue and improve processes across the product’s lifecycle and create opportunities to support new business models, respond to quality issues, and influence next generation product development.

Session 2: Engineering Change in a Connected World

The second session will show the possibilities of connected information and how to use it to address products’ unforeseen problems in the field. By itself, information without a direction, or a map tracing it, is information without much practical use. A Digital Thread is critical to weaving together every point of information in order for it to become real knowledge. This provides a map to quality and engineering departments that can be used to identify, analyze, understand, and confront emergent issues and unknowns as an asset operates in the field― ultimately, improving customer satisfaction.

Coming back to the robot arm, thanks to a Digital Twin, you have ready access to the individual configuration and specific information about it. When a problem arises, the Digital Thread gives you the ability to retrace the complete design and deployment history to find the problem, gather informations from service bulletins, and identify solutions for it. From this, you will likely pinpoint similar problems and their root causes so you can focus on solutions that extend to the family of arms. The information will be connected by the Digital Thread to make everything about this process faster and faster across all the varied configurations. The business challenge and opportunity now move back into engineering where users can recognize and even predict issues in context and efficiently solve challenges.

For this session, we will look at information in context of the Digital Twin and the Digital Thread and use our engineering expertise and tools to devise solutions that achieve customer satisfaction while meeting business goals and constraints. You will see how Aras applications advance design and production for companies by incorporating real-time field feedback, operational data, simulation, and multidisciplinary change management.

Session 3: Systems Thinking for Digital Transformation

Last, but certainly not least, the third session is on the principals of Systems Thinking. Systems Thinking in design is not a linear process—it’s not a sequential history like a Digital Thread. It is an ever-changing, ever-iterative, and ongoing process, always optimizing from and capitalizing on data and resources. It demands a holistic perspective that considers business, adjacent technology, and market realities—the big picture. Systems Thinking is the acceptance that all these things are systems within systems, complex and constantly adapting and evolving. The strategies to deal with these must be similarly systematic, with the ability to identify and evaluate the many leverage points. Every problem discovered in the field, every new requirement from a customer, and every shift in the market is an opportunity to reassess current business and product strategies.

Say there is known problem with a part out in the field. Systems thinking would not only address this, but account for new business requirements and propose new changes that consider the longer term to create more market opportunities. If the problem is with a robot arm—incorporate a sensor that has IoT to do upgrades in real-time and give feedback to readily identify any problem in the future. This is a forward-looking, dynamic strategy to take advantage of data and experience, past and present.

Systems Thinking’s principals are concerned with how a company’s design processes (how engineers think), design teams (how engineering teams collaborate), and the underlying design infrastructure in which these processes are realized (how engineers use the tools in the environment). Digital Twin and the Digital Thread are key to seeing the connectivity between assets and their parts, and Systems Thinking is key to seeing their connectivity with everything else when moving out into the field—the power of connection.

The value of the Aras Platform is the ability to collect needs, use cases, and business objectives into a foundational platform that can track the important specifics. Applications in Aras Innovator include systems architecture, requirements engineering, and multi-fidelity simulation to help our community advance their products in new and innovative ways. During this session, we will use the Aras platform to walk through a design scenario that combines elements of System Thinking, existing product definitions, and field experience to identify new business opportunities and product strategies.

These are just three of the 30 sessions available at ACE 2020 featuring leaders from industries including automotive, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, and high-tech. Join us March 16-18 in Boston. Click here for more information and to register.

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