Designing and Integrating a Digital Thread System for Customized Additive Manufacturing in Multi-Partner Kayak Production
Journal article, 2020

Additive manufacturing (AM) opens the vision of decentralised and individualised manufacturing, as a tailored product can be manufactured in proximity to the customers with minimal physical infrastructure required. Consequently, the digital infrastructure and systems solution becomes substantially more complex. There is always a need to design the entire digital system so that different partners (or stakeholders) access correct and relevant information and even support design iterations despite the heterogenous digital environments involved. This paper describes how the design and integration of a digital thread for AM can be approached. A system supporting a digital thread for AM kayak production has been designed and integrated in collaboration with a kayak manufacturer and a professional collaborative product lifecycle management (PLM) software and service provider. From the demonstrated system functionality, three key lessons learnt are clarified: (1) The need for developing a process model of the physical and digital flow in the early stages, (2) the separation between the data to be shared and the processing of data to perform each parties' task, and (3) the development of an ad-hoc digital application for the involvement of new stakeholders in the AM digital flow, such as final users. The application of the digital thread system was demonstrated through a test of the overall concept by manufacturing a functional and individually customised kayak, printed remotely using AM (composed of a biocomposite containing 20% wood-based fibre).

additive manufacturing

digital thread

design automation


Euan Bonham

University of Strathclyde

Kerr McMaster

University of Strathclyde

Emma Thomson

University of Strathclyde

Massimo Panarotto

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Product Development

Jakob Müller

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Product Development

Ola Isaksson

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Product Development

Emil Johansson



20798954 (eISSN)

Vol. 8 4 43

Digitalisering av tillverkningsflödet av Additiv Tillverkning i Sverige (DiSam)

VINNOVA (2017-04776), 2017-11-01 -- 2021-04-30.

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Information Science

Human Computer Interaction



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