Evan Barnett

Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Abdel-Moez Bayoumi


Today’s industry sectors are filled with machines developed years ago. Healthcare, manufacturing, sustainment operations, and many others have equipment that may be reliable, but lacks certain capabilities that the newest technology delivers. The digital environment is becoming a necessity for users who want greater insights into how to improve their processes. A solution to this problem would be to purchase the newest equipment that contains robust measures to generate, collect, and analyze data. However, this solution may not be financially feasible for some and for others may sacrifice machine downtime and reliability. To combat these issues, this research focuses on applying a digital transformation approach to legacy equipment. Collected and analyzed data is used to develop advanced digital tools such as augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and digital dashboards. A use case of Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) is used to showcase the benefits of the digital transformation approach compared to typical controls retrofit. While both approaches result in similar benefits, the owner of the equipment must decide which approach will ensure that the most optimized process. In addition, a use case of military maintenance programs is discussed to provide a logical way ahead for a larger scale implementation of digital transformation. Both use cases show the benefits of the digital transformation approach and help to crystallize what the future of product life cycle management will look like.