Applying the Digital Thread to Sustainment and Decommissioning
Words by Rhiannon Gallagher
We’ve been diving into the tail end of manufacturing data lately, looking at how 3D data and the digital thread can change the story for sustainment and decommissioning teams. We think the potential for real improvement at this end of the product lifecycle is huge. Most of our work has been around the other end of the product lifecycle: product definition and fabrication. Often, those folks haven’t given any thought to what happens at the sustainment and even decommissioning phases for their products.
Who wants to think about when their product needs to be maintained or decommissioned? Like all death and decline topics in American culture, it’s a bit taboo.
But as we move toward the circular economy and digital manufacturing, this end of the product lifecycle is coming more into focus. Recycling and reuse are now built into the supply chain at companies like Apple and Tesla. Digital data can make these processes more efficient and more expansive. And sustainment is an expensive process for your customers and their customers. Giving them great data which increases the efficiency of their maintenance processes can create loyalty and a good brand experience.
Sustainment, repair, and decommissioning folks struggle to:
– Find accurate data that reflects the released product they’re working with. Digital data can be updated and pushed out to them so they have the right models for the products they’re working on, even if those products are older.
– Efficiently understand the complex assemblies they’re often working with. This gets faster with 3D-based presentation states where they can manipulate the model without taking apart the physical product and really understand what they are dealing with.
– Have useful parts lists they can order from or substitute for. This gets easier with integrated interactive parts lists in 3D documentation.
Sustainment may not be an area you’ve considered in your move to the digital thread, but the potential to improve your brand’s reputation with your customers is huge at this end of the product lifecycle. Combined with your opportunities to recycle expensive or rare raw materials, it’s worth paying attention to how your products are used and maintained, not just how they are designed and built.
🔘 What are you seeing around sustainment and decommissioning in your organization?
🔘 Are you considering applying your digital thread to this end of the product lifecycle?
Join the conversation over on LinkedIn (you will be directed to the post to comment).