Following the Digital Thread –Part 4 of 8

By Jennifer Bradford

“Why would anyone paint a board and leave it in the middle of nowhere?” Because, arguably, the only way to know if the paint will last through two years of weathering is to put it through two years of weather.

The problem is, that approach is slow and expensive. We’d like to avoid such costly efforts if we can. But how?

That’s where digital simulation techniques come in. In this video, Mark and Jay return to the bell crank to test whether it is flight-worthy using the digital simulation technique known as finite element analysis (FEA).

The advantages of techniques like FEA include dramatically reducing the time and cost associated with product testing. And the time and money saved can facilitate deeper, faster exploration of performance limits for components and systems.

Results of advanced simulations such as FEA are captured and saved in the digital thread so that they can be accessed as needed in the future to potentially enhance the build process, inform smart inspection protocols, or even compare against actual field-use experiences. But how can such a unique-looking part actually be built? To see that process, the digital thread will move the design cross-country, at the speed of light, to its point of production.

Watch the Video

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at