Part 7: Validating the results Following the digital thread

We’ve built a part, but we’re not done yet. Even “additive” manufacturing often needs a little “subtraction” to complete the build process.


A part exists, but the work isn’t done yet. In this episode, Mark and the team will follow the bell crank across Youngstown to M7 Technologies, and through three key steps to complete the part, and check if it has the requisite quality.

First, the team will examine the results of the in-situ monitoring that was conducted during the additive manufacturing process. Literally billions of data points are analyzed to understand if or where something might have gone wrong in one of the 1626 layers that make up the part.

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Episode 6: Fabricating with the digital thread

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Episode 8: The digital thread takes flight

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Second, the M7 team will remove the part from its build plate and mount it in a machine center that will remove unneeded material and supports, and then digitally scan the component to start the final inspection phase.

Finally, it is off to the metrology lab to make use of scanned part data, and other inspection methods, to determine if the bell crank as manufactured matches the bell crank as designed.

Throughout this process as the data has flown along the digital thread, we have seen opportunities to capture and link information to deliver improved performance and value. But how does it all fit together? What’s the big picture? We’ll cover that in the next episode.

Further references:

Mark Cotteleer, Stuart Trouton, Ed Dobner, “3D opportunity and the digital thread”, Deloitte Insights, March 3, 2016,, accessed January 22, 2018.

Aaron Parrott, Lane Warshaw, “Industry 4.0 and the digital twin”, Deloitte Insights, May 12, 2017, accessed January 22, 2018

D.B Kim, P.Witherell, Lu Y, Feng, S., “Towards a Digital Thread and Data Package for Metals Additive Manufacturing”, Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing Systems, Mar 2017

D.B Kim, P. Witherell, Robert Lipman, Shaw C. Feng, “Streamlining the additive manufacturing digital spectrum: A systems approach”, Science Direct, Oct 2014

Brian Tilton, Ed Dobner, Jonathan Holdowsky, “3D opportunity for standards”, Deloitte Insights, November 9, 2017, accessed January 29, 2018.