Difference Between Digital Thread and Digital Twin (With Table)

Investing in ideas where the results are not so sure leads to wastage of efforts and finances. To avoid all these problems science found solutions out of the imagination of ordinary people. They sort of prepared digital models of the project to analyze the output before the investments. Both terms are much confusing as they are used in the same environment and field. 

Digital Thread vs Digital Twin

The main difference between Digital Thread and Digital Twin is that Digital Thread is the lowest state that collects all the pre-existing data and unifies it. It makes a timeline of a product from its creation to ending whereas a digital twin is the visual representation of procedure, service, or physical object before the production of the actual thing. 

Digital Thread is the foundation of digital twin and is defined as the lowest level of design while the creation of a digital representation of a physical object. In this various sets of data which are interrelated are unified. It is just like a record of data from the creation of a product till its end.

Using today’s technology, Digital twin is defined as a digital representation of a physical object, service, or process. Many replicas of objects like jet engines, buildings, or wind farms can be formed using digital twins. Not only that, whole cities can be represented using digital twin technology way before the construction has been started. 

Comparison Table Between Digital Thread and Digital Twin

Parameters of Comparison

Digital Thread

Digital Twin


It is basic information that gives information about the object from its creation till the end.

It is the term used for the creation of digital representation of a physical object to understand the output.


It is used at a lower level.

It is used at various levels.


It gives the details of the object from starting till the end.

It is important to understand the object. 


It represents all relevant information for the interpretation of the product’s performance.

It represents the product service, procedure or output before manufacture of the actual physical object.


It helps in understanding the defects and finding its solution.

It helps in judgement and understanding the behaviour of output using digital representation.

What is Digital Thread? 

Digital Thread is the lowest level design of digital twinning. Without this stage of work, digital twining or digital representation is not possible of the physical object. This helps by collecting all the related data and unifying them. Then the result values are concluded from them to have all the information of the object from the beginning to end. 

Digital Thread is important as:

  1. Provides insight into life cycle: It provides insights into the whole life cycle of the associated product or service. It helps in avoiding wastage of resources.
  2. Estimation of the process: Whole process, output, and work required is estimated using this technology. A blueprint is ready to start a new project.
  3. Empowers people with new analytics: It Empowers people and the whole team with new analytics and ideas for the best approach to move on a project.

What is Digital Twin?

Digital Twin is a digital representation of any service, physical product, or process. It gives the output of any physical object way before its manufacturing starts. The main motive is to know how the object will react to the physical world when it will come into existence.

Digital Twin is important because:

  1. Provides information about what happened in the object: Digital twin provides all the information that is required as it represents the physical twin of the object.
  2. Improve productivity: it represents the physical twin giving all the information which results in increasing the productivity level.
  3. Lower the Maintenance Cost: Digital Twin can lead to lowering the maintenance cost as it can predict any breakdown before it happens.
  4. Avoid wastage: wastage of resources will be avoided as the team will know the behavior of the physical twin towards the environment. 
  5. Planning improves: all the actions and work are planned as the main model is in front of the team with all the upcoming problems.  

Digital Twin comprises three main elements: 

  1. Past Data: it includes all the data of the past.
  2. Present Data: it includes the data of present or the real-time data 
  3. And Future Data: it includes the machine knowledge and inputs of engineers.

It is used at various levels which include component level, asset level, system-level, and process level.

Main Differences Between Digital Thread and Digital Twin 

  1. Digital Thread is the lowest level of the Digital Twin. Without digital thread, digital twinning is not possible.
  2. Digital Thread is used at a lower level whereas Digital Twin can be used at various levels it is not limited to the lower level.
  3. Digital Thread is important to rectify any mishappenings in the future and Digital twin is important to understand the object.
  4. Digital Thread provides all the information of the object from the creation till its end and Digital Twin only represents the physical-digital representation of the object.
  5. Digital Thread is helpful when any defects arrive in the object as it has all the information related to the object which makes it easy to rectify it and Digital Twin represents the actual state of a defect in the physical representation of that object which makes it easy to know where the defect is.


Both terms are inter-related as they are connected via their field and purpose. The main purpose of them is to create a visual representation of procedure, service, or physical object to get an idea of their output and the process it follows before actually making it. 

Despite it their application and importance are not the same, Digital Thread on one hand is required for the information of lifespan of the product so that in future if any defects arrive, there must be all information to rectify it and on other hand, Digital twin represents the twin physical model of the object so that the same defect can be rectified physically too.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-32156-1_5
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007850617300409
  3. https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/pdf/10.2514/6.2016-0897