One of the many instances of the 80/20 rule at work is that 80% of a product’s manufacturing costs are predetermined during its design phase. Despite longstanding methodologies intended to boost “design for manufacturability,” a truly integrated approach to optimizing product design, production design and production itself has long remained elusive.
“You can’t control manufacturing costs if you don’t control product design,” said Raj Batra, president, Siemens USA Digital Factory, at the recent Hannover Fair, where the company demonstrated its increasingly capable Digital Enterprise Software Suite among other industrial electrification and automation advances.
Indeed, a powerful undercurrent in the ongoing digital transformation of manufacturing is the integration of design, simulation and production software tools to enable full “end-to-end” optimization of products in conjunction with their manufacturing processes. Siemens in particular has developed an industry leading capability relating its design, simulation and automation tools to a unified database in its Teamcenter platform for collaboration and product lifecycle management (PLM). With the pending addition of CD-Adapco, simulation specialists in computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer phenoma, Siemens continues to assemble a uniquely broad set of integrated capabilities. “We don’t just acquire companies and products, we integrate them into the portfolio,” explained Scott MacDonald, vice president, industrial sales, Siemens USA.
And the company isn’t just enabling the design of more efficient production processes, it’s also streamlining those development phases. “We’ve seen 80% automated code conversion from mechanical design to electrical and automation design, including simulation and validation of both,” said Klaus Helmrich, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG at the company’s Hannover press conference. “This also enables the development of energy systems, protective systems and automation logic in parallel,” Helmrich said.
“Digitalization means one can design and optimize the product and the manufacturing process before you break ground,” added MacDonald. “Think what that means in time to market.”
“The process of transformation is a strategic decision—it does requirement commitment and investment,” added Helmrich, noting that Siemens’ data-centric approach also lays the groundwork for delivery of new data-based services throughout product and asset lifecycles. “Start with a data backbone, a collaboration platform—otherwise the Digital Enterprise will always be a patchwork approach.”
Keith Larson, Smart Industry VP Content