Siemens Digital Industries Software held their first analyst/media event at the GM Renaissance in Detroit (4/6/22). This was the first face-to-face analyst/media event for Siemens DI Software (PLM) since 2019. Most of the attendees were delighted to be able to attend a physical event and converse directly with other analysts and Siemens DI leadership.
Brenda Discher, Chief Marketing Officer for Siemens DI Software, opened the event with an overview of current strategies, technology and industry solutions, and vision for the future. She also introduced Cedrik Neike, CEO of Siemens Digital Industries and Managing Board Member of Siemens AG, and Tony Hemmelgarn, CEO of Siemens Software.
Discher provided a brief preview of what this event was going to cover. The focus would be on the transformational changes taking place everywhere across industry and business and how Siemens DI technology and solutions were helping their customers to make these transformations. She pointed out the transformation to SaaS and how Siemens DI platforms like Xcelerator as a Service makes digital transformation accessible, flexible, and scalable. She stated that Siemens’ primary focus is to provide software that is easy to use, open and integrated, and to accelerate a sustainable digital transformation.
Siemens Digital Industries Focuses on Leading Their Customers Through Digital Transformation
Cedrik Neike focused on what actual problems Siemens is solving for their customers by combining the real and digital worlds through not only a digital transformation but through building and implementing digital twins that enable their customers to design, manufacture, and service their products using a digital twin to continuously optimize the product and the production process. Neike presented several actual customer stories from industries like biotech and pharma to food & beverage to battery manufacturing. He pointed out that the most successful companies today are an integrated combination of hardware and software, an efficient blend of IT and OT. He noted that companies that started out as pure software companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc. are now highly invested in hardware, manufacturing, and operation. And that, he said, is where Siemens is today, from automation hardware and sensors to the edge and the cloud.
Neike also pointed out that an average Industry 4.0 factory generates two thousand terabytes of data per month, and most of that data is unused. Siemens’ vision and strategy is to use the entire digital thread across the design/manufacture/service lifecycle to build connected digital twins that begin to use this data to truly integrate IT and OT and beyond to the entire supply chain of industries. He maintains that Siemens is well on the way to making the transition from an automation company and manufacturer to becoming a tech company.
Neike points out that currently Siemens is the market leader in industrial software, automation, PLCs, motion control, industrial communications, and discrete automation. Since Siemens is a global company, they have their automation HQ in Germany, their electric motors and drives HQ in China, and the HQ for all software in the US. Additionally, Siemens is investing heavily in technologies like additive manufacturing, industrial 5G, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and industrial edge computing.
Tony Hemmelgarn, CEO of Siemens Software shared the executive presentation with Neike. Hemmelgarn began by pointing out that the very nature of work has changed, and companies are changing their business models to reflect this. Companies want technology and solutions that enable them to become more agile, flexible, reach new markets, and a field work force with tools that make them smarter and more adaptable. One thing that Siemens offers their customers is tools and technology to implement comprehensive executable digital twins. He pointed out that IT/OT convergence is being re-imagined and accomplished through the implantation of digital twins used to optimize production processes.
Hemmelgarn noted that Siemens is focused on integrating technologies, such as cloud services, industrial 5G, additive manufacturing, and edge computing technologies that enable a new era of smart manufacturing. He maintains that industry is entering the golden age of digitalization and transformation; Siemens’ platforms like Mindsphere will help companies to make this digital transformation.
He pointed out that their customer Lockheed-Martin will use Siemens Xcelerator open integrated cloud services as the platform for all new aircraft development programs going forward. This will allow them to fully integrate their design/build/operate/maintain development lifecycle and to employ a model-based systems engineering for process improvement.
Hemmelgarn noted that Siemens Mendix low code platform moves application development from IT to operational staff and allows developers with various backgrounds and experience levels to contribute to the creation of enterprise solutions.
Siemens is collaborating with several other market leaders in industry to bring solutions to their customers. This would include AWS and their IoT Twinmaker solution to create digital twins, SAP to integrate supply chain solutions, and Accenture to integrate PLM and ERP.
The Xcelerator Team presented an overview of Siemens Xcelerator, a comprehensive and integrated portfolio of engineering software, services, and an application development platform and how it enhances electronic and mechanical design, system simulation, manufacturing, operations, and lifecycle analytics. Xcelerator is an easy-to-use open and integrated product development platform enabling complete digitalization across the design/build/service lifecycle. Over 97 percent of the Xcelerator is available in the cloud and is offered as a service through subscription, as well as on-premises to meet customer requirements.
The digital thread connectivity of Xcelerator is enabling “shift-left engineering” where design engineers can apply downstream data, which includes IoT and AI/ML data in the lifecycle to gain insight into a faster and more optimized design process. This is enabling companies to shift from product companies to service companies. Xcelerator enables companies to remotely connect their design organizations and to operate in real-time across the design/test/validate product development lifecycle. Xcelerator as a service makes digital transformation initiatives more accessible, flexible, and scalable to create a more innovative environment.
Siemens Comprehensive Executable Digital Twin for Product, Process, Performance, and Service
Ian McGinn, Director of Innovation Office, presented an overview of Siemens’ comprehensive executable digital twin. McGinn described a comprehensive digital twin as:
- Precise virtual representation of a physical product or process.
- Used across its lifecycle to simulate, predict, and optimize the product and production system.
- Made up of multiple virtual representations of models for various aspects of physical behavior.
- An evolving object with a lifecycle that needs to be managed.
- Closed-loop digital twin provides for bi-directional connectivity between the physical asset and the virtual representation.
A comprehensive digital twin provides insights to continuously optimize product, and production across design, manufacture, and service.
McGinn presented a look at the current product development lifecycle where virtual simulation is used at various stages across the design/test, manufacturing processes, and service/performance lifecycle. McGinn points out that there is a significant amount of simulation in product design and test, and again in production systems, and again for product service and performance. But the digital information of simulation typically does not flow across the various stages of this product and production lifecycle. McGinn goes on to make the case that a comprehensive and executable digital twin with IoT/edge connectivity can be accessed and executed at any stage of the lifecycle and across the enterprise. McGinn points out that Siemens has the tools to not only build the digital twin, but to connect it across the product lifecycle through Teamcenter and Xcelerator, thus making it comprehensive and executable at any point in the lifecycle.
The Siemens executable digital twin enables the principles and intent of smart manufacturing by connecting smart design, with smart production processes, and product service and performance. This digital twin provides self-contained digital behavior of an asset that can be accessed and leveraged by anyone and at any point across the lifecycle. According to McGinn the Siemens executable digital twin is:
- Developed and released by product design and production process domain experts
- Real-time enabled
- Requires no additional simulation solvers
- Deployed from edge to cloud
McGinn states that the Siemens executable digital twin is a containerized self-adapting simulation model developed, tuned, and optimized by domain experts and packaged, released, and managed against a specific product. The intent is for anyone across the enterprise to access and leverage this digital twin without using complex simulation authoring tools or technical expertise.
McGinn provided some specific examples of the implementation of the Siemens executable digital twin in some actual customer case histories. This included implementation for a food & beverage company for packaging, to accelerate design and validation of wind turbine components and to monitor performance, and to provide advanced operator assist to prevent collisions with heavy equipment in the mining industry.
Clearly Siemens DI software has focused on technology and solutions to provide usable and implementable digital twin solutions for their customers with their comprehensible and executable digital development platform. Combined with their robust portfolio which includes Xcelerator, Teamcenter X that enables a wide range of cloud-based services, and the Mendix low-code development platform, their customers will be ready to implement enterprise-wide digital twins.
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Keywords: Digital Transformation, Comprehensive Executable Digital Twin, OT/IT conversion, Cloud-based Services, SaaS, Xcelerator, Teamcenter X, ARC Advisory Group.