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Rajas Sukthankar

Customer Care

The Time for Digital Transformation Is Now

Siemens offers Digital Enterprise Suite for machine builders

Published: Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - 12:03

Digitalization is transforming all areas of life as well as existing business models. It’s enabling the manufacturing industry to implement its product ideas by taking advantage of technology trends such as generative design and intelligent models. Production has become more innovative through additive manufacturing and advanced robotics, and new service models are being developed using cloud solutions and knowledge automation.

Now is the right time to become a digital enterprise and stay ahead of your competition. Here are several reasons why:

Reduce time to market: Manufacturing companies want to get their products to market faster—and at the same time master the increasing complexity of their products and production methods.

Boost flexibility: The increasing trend toward individualized products demands precise and flexible manufacturing methods.

Improve quality: Quality is essential if you want satisfied customers, and digitalization lets you begin manufacturing at top quality right away.

Boost efficiency: In today’s world, not only must a product be sustainable and environmentally friendly, but energy-efficient production has also become an important competitive advantage.

Develop new business models: Many products and production facilities generate data, and having the capacity to record and evaluate them means you can develop new, data-based business models.

Increase security: Multilevel security measures to counter cyberattacks are necessary to protect a company’s intellectual property, both now and in the future.

Digital twins guarantee success

Companies that build machines for the pharmaceutical industry must meet the highest demands for security, reliability, and quality. The German machine builder Bausch+Ströbel relies on consistent, end-to-end digitalization to deliver specialized systems and to meet the growing demand for standardized machines with high flexibility and short delivery times.

The company uses digital twins of its machines and has started basing development on a mechatronic concept. As a result, the individual development teams at Bausch+Ströbel have been restructured as interdisciplinary units that work jointly and simultaneously on the same project.

All findings from the simulations and tests using the digital twins of machines are returned to the data pool, which is managed with Teamcenter. This enables virtual commissioning during which flaws can be reliably detected and corrected. Findings and data acquired during operation by the customer are fed back to Bausch+Ströbel so the company has a current, virtual copy of each machine on hand at all times. This is ideal for providing customer service and is a true competitive advantage. A further benefit is the engineering time saved with the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) portal.

“We’ve done digitalization right when the customer comes to us wanting a piece of equipment, and we can configure the unit with the customer within two days at our offices,” says Hagen Gehringer, managing director of Bausch+Ströbel.

The digital twin allows for 30-percent shorter engineering time, increased flexibility, and consistent, end-to-end digitalization.

A holistic approach

Staying ahead of the competition is no longer just a matter of optimizing individual steps in the value chain. It calls for a holistic approach. Siemens has developed the ideal portfolio to meet this requirement. The Digital Enterprise Suite consistently and digitally links all phases and process steps, all the way to the suppliers. During each phase, a digital twin is created that feeds back new findings from simulations and tests, which can then be used for continuous optimization. This allows enterprises to begin at any point in their value chain, from product design to service, and extend digitalization gradually in line with their current needs—including existing system solutions.

For product manufacturers and machine builders, Siemens’ approach throughout the entire value chain is tailored to two target groups that face different challenges: First, product manufacturers, who are supported from product design, production planning, engineering, and the production itself through services. Second, machine builders, who benefit during machine design, engineering, commissioning, and operation, as well as machine services. Siemens’ Teamcenter guarantees the planning of more efficient, flexible production processes based on a shared collaboration platform and an enterprise-wide data backbone.

MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system

MindSphere makes it possible to analyze the performance of manufacturing plants and products, and report back all findings to the entire value chain for continuous optimization. MindSphere collects data from the real world, adding a statistical data model to the analytical model of the digital twin. Comparison of both models can be used for continuous improvements.

The end-to-end digital twin in detail

A digital twin is a precise virtual model of a product or a production plant. It displays development throughout the entire life cycle and allows operators to predict behavior to optimize performance. It also implements insights from previous design and production experiences.

Siemens’ concept of the digital twin takes three forms: the digital twin of the product, the digital twin of production, and the digital twin of the performance of both product and production.

There’s tremendous value gained from performing “what if” scenarios and predicting future performance with a digital twin. The ultimate goal of a digital twin is in the closed-loop connection between the virtual world of product development and production planning and the physical world of production system and product performance.

Through this connection, actionable insight is gained from the physical world for informed decisions throughout the life cycle of products and production operations.

Machine concept

The Mechatronics Concept Designer integrated into the NX CAD software can be used to analyze the productivity of machine development as early as the concept stage. Requirement-driven product development generates the digital twin of the machine in an early stage. It’s the standard data model that’s used and further developed by everyone involved in the process along the entire value chain.

Physics-based simulation leads to a functional virtual model that provides a common basis for parallel interaction between mechanical, electrical, and automation disciplines. Drive systems can be dimensioned directly using SIZER integration. The effect of changes to one of the disciplines is transparently displayed and tracked in the other disciplines, making it easy to view and check dependencies. More flexible machine concepts can also be evaluated digitally.

Machine engineering

All important automation components are integrated into the TIA portal so that controllers, peripherals, drives, HMIs, and safety and motion-control functions can be programmed, and energy can be managed in a single engineering framework. The comprehensive database and libraries containing frequently used functions make engineering processes even faster and easier.

Open interfaces make it simple to exchange data between the TIA portal and planning tools like the TIA Selection Tool and EPLAN. By providing CAx data, the virtual model can be generated at an early stage, while more efficient engineering can shorten machine development and time to market.

Machine commissioning

Machine commissioning is the crucial moment when the following question arises: Do complex improvements need to be made, or is everything running as desired? Virtual machine commissioning is an efficient way to reduce risks and effort during real-life commissioning. Software can even simulate and optimize the interaction between individual components throughout entire production lines.

Machine builders can use NX Mechatronics Concept Designer to simulate and test the mechanical components of their machines in a virtual environment. PLC programs and visualizations are simulated and validated with PLCSIM Advanced and TIA portal. The SIMIT simulation software maps the behavior of active components like drives and valves, depending on the level of requirements.

The CNC controllers of machine tools can be connected to the machine simulation to test the machine design under real-life conditions and, above all, run through the interaction between the CNC controller and the machine in detail.

Machine operation

Totally Integrated Automation, the industrial automation technology from Siemens, helps operate machines. It’s used to activate the full potential of production with a digitally enriched automation portfolio to continuously optimize and improve plants and machinery all over the world.

The open-system architecture provides support and covers the entire production process, relying on universally shared properties: consistent data storage, global standards, and uniform interfaces for both hardware and software. These shared features minimize engineering work, which saves money, shortens time to market, and increases flexibility.

Continuously monitored and integrated security is an important foundation for industrial automation. Digitalization and the growing networks of machines and industrial plants also increase the risk of cyberattacks. An end-to-end industrial security portfolio—which follows the “defense-in-depth” concept—helps systematically minimize the risk of an attack on plants and machinery through the consistent use of security mechanisms in automation.

Industrial security is therefore an important part of TIA.

Machine services and MindSphere

Right from the start of production, data are generated along with the products. The valuable data are transferred securely and collected in the cloud to continuously analyze machines, product behavior, and production equipment. The evaluated data provide insights into the condition of the machines, products, and entire plants. As a result, maintenance of machines or plants can be aligned with actual requirements instead of fixed maintenance intervals.

MindSphere, the open, cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens, serves as the development platform for apps and digital services.

Digital industry services

Machine builders can use a wide range of service packages across the whole value chain. Digital industry services in particular give builders new ways to increase productivity over the long term. Machine connectivity and installing the right software ensure data and process transparency. Industrial security services also help protect plants and machinery from cyberattacks throughout their life cycles. Manufacturers of machines such as machine tools can tap new optimization potential, thanks to digital motion-control services, and improve their production with integrated IT processes. Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) analytics can also systematically maximize output by identifying ineffective production areas and implementing successful maintenance measures.

The Digital Enterprise Suite is Siemens’ integrated software and automation portfolio for transforming operations into a digital enterprise. It offers an integrated portfolio of industrial software and automation that allows discrete industries to consistently integrate and digitalize their entire value chains, including suppliers.

The result is a digital enterprise ready for the challenges of Industry 4.0 and the digital industrial revolution. Simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment reduces time to market and increases flexibility, quality, and efficiency. The capacity to feed back all insights into the entire value chain via MindSphere allows the continuous optimization of the production and the product in the real world.

Today, it’s both possible and necessary to become a digital enterprise. Regardless of your industry or the size of your company, you can start your digital transformation right now. 


About The Author

Rajas Sukthankar’s default image

Rajas Sukthankar

Rajas Sukthankar is head of motion control at Siemens.