Digital thread: A glossary of terms

26 April 2024

We know there are a lot of words used in industry around the emerging technology of the digital thread. To help untangle the language, we’ve put together a handy glossary of related terms.

Connected Factory or Smart Factory: A cyber-physical factory powered by advanced technologies.

Cyber-Physical System: A system built from physical and digital components, tightly integrated and working seamlessly together to achieve a specific outcome.

Digital Passport: A collection of data capturing an entity throughout its entire lifecycle, from conception to end of lifecycle.

Digital Thread: The seamless and interconnected flow of related data throughout a product's lifecycle, facilitating continuity and accessibility.

Digital Twin: A live digital coupling of the state of a physical asset or process to a virtual representation with a functional output that influences the physical asset or process.

Enterprise Resource Planning: A software system that integrates and manages core business activities, supporting automation and processing in a variety of areas.

Manufacturing Execution System: A computerised system used to track and document the manufacturing process in real time and inform decisions on the shop floor.

Model Based Definition: An approach to information storage, containing all data needed to define a product in a single source of truth.

Model Based Systems Engineering: The application of Model Based Definitions to the field of Systems Engineering; a systematic approach to developing complex systems, reliant on creating and utilising models.

Ontology: A graph-based data model that captures the meaning of entities within a specific domain, as well as the relationships between them. This provides a machine mechanism for accurately capturing the complex structure of different systems, facilitating greater interoperability and data analysis.

Product Lifecycle Management System: An information management system that can integrate data, processes, business systems, and people in an enterprise.

SysML: The OMG Systems Modelling Language is a general-purpose graphical modelling language intended to facilitate MBSE.

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