7: Digital Twins and Threads

In 2013, when I built this course in PLM, I leveraged Mike Grieves' book "Virtually Perfect". The chapter Virtually Inseparable, discusses a concept that while physical products inherently contain information about themselves, (length, width, mass, etc.), technology had reached a point that we could separate the informational model from the physical, and place virtual instances within virtual environments which includes things like gravity, wind resistance, and temperature.

And unless I related my lecture to playing Madden football on an Xbox, I was met by blank stares (and sometimes 🥱's). Things dramatically improved when the technology firms and business consultancies produced videos (with marketing budgets!), and were much more interesting than some abstract lecture from me.

But... there is still a place for...

...In-depth academic articles


...High-level videos

This is the final few minutes from a talk that I gave as part of the Nelson Earth Day seminar, in April 2021. I conclude by saying that we need Digital Factory Twins, that these Twins might be used to spread vaccine manufacture around the world (e.g., a thousand vaccine factories, one for every local population of 5-10 million people, and that the limit to growth in this concept is in developing a skilled manufacturing workforce.

Finally, I use these videos when doing high-level presentations of PLM, Twins, Threads, and Industry 4.0. I have occasion to speak to high-school students and their parents about digital manufacturing, and these can set the stage.