Siemens Digital Plant Vision | Automation.com

Siemens Digital Plant Vision

August 202012
Siemens Digital Plant Vision
Interview with Raj Batra, President of Industry Automation Division
 
August 2012
 
By Bill Lydon
 
I had the opportunity to talk with Raj Batra, President of Industry Automation Division, at the Siemens 2012 Automation Summit in Washington D.C.  Batra discussed how the process industries are moving to digitizing plants with virtualization, with DOW and DuPont as early adopters.  As an example, Batra described how DOW wants to have mechatronics kind of modules for their process areas that enables object-oriented programming of an area and allows configuration by changing attributes.  Today, there exists a lot of inefficiency because each plant is writing unique programs to solve common application requirements. This lack of consistency also increases support costs.
 
Batra described how greater productivity can be achieved with higher level software approaches for programming applications as opposed to unique “point engineering.” This higher level programming makes it easier for multiple groups of silos within companies to efficiently interact including design engineering, production planning, manufacturing execution, business systems, automation, and optimization. We discussed the challenges customers have with silos in their organizations that make it more difficult to implement this new integrated approach. I asked Batra if a user wants to take this holistic approach to their systems, how does a user engage with Siemens since Siemens also has distinct groups or silos in the organization including PLM, MES, and automation. He answered that today customers still deal with 2-3 different groups at Siemens, but they are coordinated on a project basis.
 
PLM Integration
 
Batra described PLM integration as a journey and Siemens does not yet tightly integrate PLM to automation and Simatic. He noted that most customers are not yet ready for this level of integration. Siemens is building the functionality for total integration into the roadmaps of all products with hooks and integrations being designed in for convergence leading to the integrated systems vision. Batra noted this journey started ten years ago when they made PLM acquisitions. The build out of the integrated systems vision requires deliberate analysis and design with large ongoing investments.
 
Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal Convergence
 
While discussing the area of Siemens products that require separate programing and configuration software, Batra clearly stated the evolutionally plan for their Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) portal. TIA portal is one software environment for all engineering, automation, drives, factory automation, and process automation. This evolution has started with the 1200 family of controllers and will grow into other controllers with eventual integration into PLM.
 
Focus
 
Batra noted that their success comes from focusing on vertical applications where they understand customer processes and apply technology solutions. These implementations result in major improvements in plant efficiencies.
 
Thoughts & Observations
 
The idea of having integration from design through plant floor automation is starting to emerge with users having silos that need to be integrated to achieve greater efficiency. Supplies will also need to address their silos that can be barriers to achieving this holistic vision and align with users as they evolve their organizations. This emergence is reminiscent of the evolution to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that integrated business functions. There were a number of silos that took time to integrate including sales information, purchasing, logistics, scheduling, and warehouse management.
 
The TIA Portal is a key piece of the Siemens architecture convergence. I was impressed by the level of commitment by Siemens people from all around the world who are involved in the TIA Portal software development as they embark down the path to meet worldwide requirements.  For more information on TIA portal, visit www.siemens.com/TIA.
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