Digital product passport: The basics explained in a simple way.  

written on 2nd August,2023

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In a world that increasingly desires transparency, a new concept is emerging that is revolutionizing the way we track and manage products - the digital product passport.

But what exactly is a digital product passport, why is it becoming increasingly important in today's society and where does the data come from? We have takeb a closer look at the subject and found some answers.

An introduction to the complete curriculum vitae of products.

A digital product passport (DPP) is basically a digital identity of a physical product. This passport contains all relevant information about the product, from its origin to its composition and its entire life cycle. 

This can range from production and use until the disposal or recycling of the product. It is as if every product has its own seamless “resume” accessible in digital form.  

The digital product passport contains information on the optimal use, materials and composition, as well as disposal and recycling of a product. Relevant product data is collected at each stage of the product lifecycle. 

Importance of the digital product passport 

This legislative change reflects a major shift in our society: sustainability and transparency are becoming more and more important in our world, which is why tools such as the digital product passport are becoming more and more relevant. 

The digital product passport offers numerous advantages. Consumers are able to make well informed decisions by learning more about the products they buy. At the same time, it offers companies the opportunity to track and manage their supply chains more effectively.  

Advantages of a digital product passport 

  1. Transparency: The digital product passport gives consumers and companies full insight into the complete life cycle of a product. This not only promotes trust, but also enables consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions.
  1. Efficiency:For companies, the digital product passport offers the opportunity to design and manage supply chains more efficiently. The availability of data allows them to better understand where improvements or adjustments are needed.
  1. Sustainability: Since the digital product passport tracks the entire life cycle of a product, it therefore also promotes a more sustainable production and consumption practice. It gives the opportunity to better reuse and recycle products.
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Application areas of the digital product passport 

The digital product passport is used in all industries and sectors that manufacture goods and products. Here for example, we list a few industries in which the digital tracking and documentation of product information is particularly important.

  1. Mechanical engineering: Machines and plants often consist of many components and individual parts. A digital product passport helps to collect and provide all the important information about each item and to verify that processes have been followed.
  1. Food industry: In the food industry, a digital product passport helps to trace the origin of raw ingredients and to provide consumers with transparent information about the production conditions and origin of food.
  1. Automotive industry: In the automotive industry, digital product passports can be used to document information about every part and every maintenance of a vehicle. They enable seamless traceability of all parts as well as materials and simplify maintenance and compliance with regulations.
  1. All other manufacturing industries: The digital product passport is a versatile tool that can be used in almost any industry to manage product information and increase transparency.

It is important that the data that flows into the digital product passport is recorded reliably and in a structured manner. A solution such as Testify helps to optimize the process data acquisition and close gaps in traceability. 

This is how the digital product passport should work:

Introduction: The digital product passport is designed to bundle a variety of information and make it transparent. It aims to enable the different actors in the supply and user chain to provide and retrieve specific data.

The following graph illustrates which data is provided and obtained in each case.

Where do I get the data for the product passport as a company?  

The data for a company’s digital product passport comes from a variety of sources. A challenge in compiling a digital product passport is to capture, collect and merge all relevant data. 

Data from external sources:  

External data sources may include suppliers and partner companies. They could include the following:: 

  • Supplier: This data is provided by the suppliers and contains information on the origin and previous processing of the materials.
  • Partner data: Partner companies can provide data for the disposal or maintenance of products or similar. This information depends on the specific product and business organisation.

Data from internal company sources:

Internal data collection includes information that is generated within the company throughout the entire value-added process. This could include:

  • Production data: This data comes from the production phase and can contain information about the materials used, production processes, machine and energy consumption and much more. 
  • Quatity inspection data: This information is generated during quality review and assurance and may include details about product performance, testing, and compliance issues.
  • Service-Data: This data includes information about the sale, delivery and service of products.

The origin of the data required for the digital product passport can be diverse, from ERP systems to other data sources in the company. It is essential to establish clean and structured digital processes in the company in order to collect and manage this data efficiently. Unstructured data in the form of texts or analog data recorded on paper are not suitable. 

Conclusion

It is exciting to see how the topic of digital product passports will develop in the future. So far there have been some successfully implemented projects, but this is more the exception than the rule.

From our point of view, the preparations for this should already started by now with regard to the digital process data acquisition, because there is still a lot of catching up to do, since paper and clipboards are still loyal companions in all types of quality checks and tours in the industrial environment.  

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