The Digital Standards Alliance™ (DSA™) will accelerate the development of standards data integration and the promulgation of digital standards of interest to the mobility community through best practices for the authoring and use of digital standards in the entire product development lifecycle (R&D, design, simulation/testing, verification/validation, certification, procurement, manufacturing, operations, and sustainment). The DSA will work with SDOs, industry, government, academic institutions, and other technology partners to coordinate the industry’s digital transformation around common use cases and services.
The DSA leads the standardization and conformance industry in transforming multiple types of standards, creating efficiencies throughout the digital thread used in the design, manufacture, and support of the next generation of industry.
The Digital Standards Alliance (DSA) is established by industry to create best practices for the authoring and use of digital standards in the entire product development lifecycle.
Engineering standards, the documents that provide accepted part and process specifications and requirements, are used throughout the course of product design and development and into maintenance, repair, and update operations. These standards have historically been disseminated as paper documents or PDFs. For digital threads and digital twins to achieve their full potential across the enterprise, this crucial information must be available on demand, integrated with accuracy, and presented in the most recent versions. The use of a robust digital standards system can meet these needs.
In current SAE International research on standards use across the aerospace industry, engineers noted the following shortcomings with their existing digital systems:
- There are too many transcription errors resulting from the manual extraction of numerical and textual data from standards.
- It is difficult to discover standard parts to drive down materials costs, remove redundancy, and limit low-volume orders.
- There is insufficient system integration to capitalize on cost synergies, especially in companies with high acquisition strategies.
- It is challenging to improve workflow performance and operational efficiencies dependent on the exchange of normalized data.
The Benefits of a Digital System
A leading aerospace company says that today, its design engineers interact digitally with maintenance personnel to share perspectives on servicing, accessibility, ergonomics and parts replacement for new designs. This allows for the development of maintenance procedures on aircraft at the design stage. The ability to reference applicable engineering standards data throughout a process like this can be critical to its success. A digital standards system, and the benefits it can provide, is the intelligent solution.
The use of a digital standards system as part of an overall digital design and development process can offer several benefits and significant productivity improvements to the enterprise, including:
- Increased efficiency
- Improved quality and compliance with easier change management
- Reliable accuracy
- Intelligent search
- Ease of integration
Let’s take a look at each of these benefits in the context of a digital standards system.
Engineering teams are challenged with developing, building and testing product designs that must meet internal requirements as well as requirements in one or more standards that are documented in static PDFs. The cross-referencing and traceability of requirements is difficult, and engineers may not be made aware when a standard is updated. A digital standards system offers the full benefits of the digital world, not just a static reference. Engineers can pull digital standards (text, figures, and tables) directly into
their engineering tools and documents, reducing the number of cross-references to account for in design documentation. Directly feeding digital standards data into an existing ERP or PLM system can streamline workflow and minimize the manual task of searching for data, thus freeing time for users to focus on other development work. Users are automatically notified when a standard is updated, eliminating the need to manually monitor for updates. Digital standards also significantly streamline the creation and traceability of test cases to requirements. Access to the newest standards covering emerging technologies can also save research time.
Digital standards data can be accessed anytime by the various business units in an organization with no interruptions. This real-time data access breaks down barriers and data silos and ensures access to consistent and most up-to-date standards data across all relevant business units, saving time and reducing duplication of effort.
Improved Quality and Compliance with Easier Change Management
When using traditional standards, engineers must either cross-reference requirements in standards documents or transcribe requirements into their existing documents, ERP, or PLM systems. This can lead to costly errors. Using a digital standards system can reduce problems due to transcription errors or using out-of-date standards, ensuring the accuracy of designs prior to manufacturing. Access to consistent standards data across an organization can also benefit quality improvement systems.
Digital standards can provide a more auditable record to ensure compliance to industry regulations and testing. During the lifespan of an aircraft (or any motorized vehicle), maintenance and updates may be numerous to keep systems viable and operations within safety specifications. Tracking changes over time and referencing the many standards used in the process can be difficult and prone to error. If the information from a standard is integrated in, or referenced by a secondary document, the information must be maintained. Service or repairs must be documented, and traceability in an audit is critical. A digital standards system includes automatic updates to the latest version, plus a history of document changes, so the data required is readily available.
Engineering standards in a digital standards system are reliable, accurate, and kept up date by authoritative sources (like SAE International) and by an established and accepted process of development and update. This helps support fully auditable digital threads by integrating the standards content into the product development tools that engineers use every day.
Digital standards systems must come equipped with robust search engines to find the right standard. The search criteria should be specific to the type of standard being researched and allow users to narrow down the results by adding detailed filters. The search functionality should be supported regardless of whether the user is interfacing directly through with the product or through an API. Users should be able to quickly locate applicable standards for new designs, parts, materials, existing system upgrades, or ongoing maintenance.
Ease of Integration
A robust digital standards system is interoperable and can be integrated into any system to exchange and use information without restrictions, saving up-front programming time and cost. Digital standards systems should provide integration options, such as web interfaces with download of content or API integrations that interface directly with the tools engineers are using.