A factory of the future...in Amberg

Sept. 24, 2021
"It's not about using new technology for technologies' sake, but to constantly improve the efficiency and flexibility of the factory."

With its Digital Enterprise concept, Siemens is pursuing the digital transformation of industry, both at the customer’s site and in-house. Take, for example, the Siemens Electronics Works Amberg (EWA), which exemplifies optimized throughput, ambitious cycle times, and reliable security measures. Siemens boasts that the future of manufacturing is already a reality in many areas of the EWA, thanks to numerous solutions from its Digital Enterprise portfolio.

We wanted to learn more about the EWA facility, so we posed a few questions to Bernd Raithel, Siemens Factory Automation director of product management & marketing. Take a look:

Smart Industry: What most excites you about the Siemens Electronics Works Amberg?

Bernd: The EWA is a factory where I can always see how the latest technology is applied to increase factories' productivity. It's not about using new technology for technologies' sake, but to constantly improve the efficiency and flexibility of the factory.

Throughout the last 13 years where I worked closely with the colleagues in the factory, they were constantly striving to improve the efficiency and flexibility of the factory. They are continually evaluating new technologies to see how they could help increasing productivity even further. So, 13 years ago, the EWA was already a highly automated factory using PLCs, HMIs, SCADA, and MES systems to automate and optimize as many processes as possible. New technologies like simulation, virtual commissioning, AI/ML, and edge were integrated into the production process in recent years.

For example, to predict the failure of machines, a planned maintenance interval is always better compared to unplanned downtime in the middle of the night. For the machines which are cutting the PCB boards, this helped to save yearly around 200,000 EUR. It's just one of many examples.

Smart Industry:  What is produced here? How is this facility used as a showcase for new capabilities?

Bernd: The Electronic Works Amberg produces the S7-300, S7-1500, ET200SP PLC systems, ET200 I/O systems, and HMI Comfort and Comfort Unified Panels. With 350 production changeovers per day, a portfolio of 1,200 products, a throughput of 17 million components per year, the Siemens Electronics Works Amberg is one of the most innovative factories in the world.

The factory uses all the Siemens technology and products available today and is a perfect showcase to demonstrate Siemens’s technology in action. And adjacent to the factory, Siemens just completed the customer-experience center IMPULSE. All the technologies used in the factory are explained based on showcases regarding the actual production processes inside the factory.