The Digital Thread for Industry 4.0


Written by Andrea Colosimo on 1/22/2018

A New Era of Manufacturing

Throughout the globe, the traditional manufacturing industry is in the midst of a digital transformation, growing each day by evolving newer technology solutions. The interaction between the virtual and real worlds is opening up new ways for companies to integrate their customers' needs and preferences into their development and production processes. The utilization of manufacturing data management in smart production systems is revolutionizing a seamless Digital Thread, promoting continuous success throughout the entire supply chain.

Bridging the Virtual-to-Physical Gap

The focus of companies on the connection between the physical product and the virtual product enables the ability to conceptualize, compare, and collaborate. With the Digital Thread, manufacturers can visually conceptualize their real-world manufacturing processes. It formulates a transition of the physical product to the virtual product in order to ensure that what companies are producing is what they actually want to produce. Finally, companies can collaborate internally within the organization and even throughout the supply chain to have up-to-the-minute knowledge of the products being produced. The concentration on bridging the virtual and real worlds of manufacturing will improve productivity, uniformity of production, and ensure the highest quality products.

The Digital Twin & Virtual Commissioning

Altogether, the virtual connections of product, process and plant, known as the Digital Twin, are extending value across the product lifecycle and streamlining the entire supply chain.  With the increased focus on the 'Shift Left' principle, companies are experiencing how virtual planning and validation can shorten engineering time and facilitate identifying potential risks before products are being manufactured in the physical plant. This extension of Virtual Commissioning is directing companies to cutting-edge products and production processes, continually revolutionizing their Digital Thread footprint.

Industry Use Case: The Digital Thread in Aerospace & Defense 

For companies to achieve sustainable, yet competitive advantage, they must deploy measures and solutions that respond to market changes both quickly and correctly and help adopt production processes – in real-time. History has shown that the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industries were among the first to buy in to the concept of the Digital Thread. Common to both commercial and defense, A&D products are unique in cost, complexity and precision. Due to the number of complex components required from diverse suppliers, A&D manufacturers require end-to-end traceability throughout the value chain to ensure products are meeting specifications and managing quality margins. Not only has the commercial aerospace industry pursued technology strategies to streamline and harmonize processes across the supply chain, but industry trends show defense contractors are beginning to fully realize the vision of interconnected enterprise applications that span supplier collaboration, engineering, manufacturing, and service.

The Digital Factory of the Future

Altogether, the Digital Twin links together design and production so you can see everything, plan the details, prevent problems, close the loop and optimize the complete system. It makes it possible to adapt to new ways of working, gain flexibility and deliver the toughest jobs. This enhances our potential for a Digital Factory, creating a full integration from product ideation to realization. Siemens, one of our software partners for cutting-edge digital manufacturing solutions, calls the complete digital representation of the entire physical value chain The Digital Enterprise. The Digital Enterprise is the ultimate goal, enabling success in new product introduction, Overall Equipment Effectiveness, quick engineering and manufacturing change order processes, and operating margins within vision of the corporate plan. The continuity between all factors of the business promotes re-use of proven successes and enables continuous improvement throughout the business. In all, the Digital Thread helps manufacturers attain the goals of a smart manufacturing facility, reducing time-to-market with shorter innovation cycles and more complex parts, enhancing flexibility by individualized production with higher productivity, and increasing resource and energy efficiency in all operations.

Hyla Soft’s Advantage

Hyla Soft delivers the power of the Digital Thread for Industry 4.0. Leveraging Hyla Soft’s unique experience implementing and integrating the entire spectrum of digital tools for manufacturing, our team facilitates the entire digital adoption, implementation, integration and transformation journey for manufacturers across all industries worldwide:

Would you like to a PDF version of this article? Interested in speaking to one of our experts about The Digital Thread? Contact us at

Contact Us