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
Digital Twin: Mitigating Unpredictable, Undesirable Emergent Behavior in Complex Systems by Michael Grieves and John Vickers
Can the Digital Twin Transform Manufacturing? by Michael Grieves
Industry 4.0 and the Digital Twin by Aaron Parrot and Lane Warshaw of Deloitte
Digital Twin Transformation with Digital Twin Technology by Erol, T., Mendi, A. F., & Dogan, D.
Following the Digital Thread (a video documentary by Deloitte). This is eight-part series follows a real application of the digital thread, from product design to production.
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.