Siemens Bridges Virtual & Real Worlds

  • May 16, 2016
  • Siemens
  • Feature

By: Bill Lydon, Editor,

Industry 4.0 was at the forefront of dozens of exciting new innovations and strategies from the industrial world at the 2016 Hannover Fair. While seeing Industry 4.0 blossom into real world applications before my eyes, Klaus Helmrich, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, shared their view of Industry 4.0 and the entire digitalization of the value chain. He framed the discussion in the context of the company’s new focus statement, ‘Ingenuity for life – Driving the Digital Enterprise’ focusing on three major elements for success in the future:

  • Reliable electrical power (Electrification)
  • Automation
  • Digitalization

Design to Production

Siemens provides an entire scope of digital enterprise offerings for all facets of industry, from virtual design to final production. This helps users to gain the benefits from digitalization, in order to improve efficiency and productivity of product design, production planning, production engineering, production, and service.  Helmrich described how Siemens is providing full consistency and continuity, between the virtual and real production worlds, with software integration and pervasive networking. 

Strategic Decision

Helmrich believes manufacturing CEOs should make a conscious strategic decision to invest in a seamless integration platform, capable of integrating all functions from design to production automation, that fosters collaboration with all stakeholders inside and outside of the company.  This platform enables applications to be leveraged to meet the needs of the industries served by the organization. Certainly his recommendation is biased towards the Siemens offerings.  In the case of Siemens products, he described how a user can select Team Center which becomes the foundation for gradual and evolutionary creation of the digital enterprise.  There are a range of benefits including the rapid prototyping of designs in the virtual world, where issues are identified and resolved quickly, at low cost. The virtual environment fosters greater design creativity, along with the freedom to explore a wider range of design alternatives.   Helmrich noted that when it comes to time to deploy the majority of application code, “up to 80%”, can be generated by the system.

In addition to improving design the digital enterprise creates a continuous improvement closed loop.

Cyber Security

Helmrich emphasized the importance of cyber security at all levels. He described Siemens overall cyber security focus and competency, using holistic concepts to deliver comprehensive cyber security at all levels of the digital enterprise.   This holistic security concept has five levels:

  • Plant security features
  • Improved security processes
  • Incident management
  • Security awareness
  • IT infrastructure.

Simulation in Depth

In Siemens’ Hannover Fair stand, simulation-in-depth was demonstrated with an impressive modeling of industrial facilities by Bentley Systems and Siemens PLM Software. These facilities have integrated Bentley’s point-cloud building information modeling (BIM) features, with the process simulation tools in Siemens’ Tecnomatix software for 3D digital factory automation. Users of Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software solutions work from enhanced 3D digital models of existing factories in their “as-operated” conditions, leveraging the models created from point clouds captured through scanning existing facilities.   The ability to rapidly create as-built plant models using digital cameras is significant, as it reduces the time and costs associated with digital modeling.  These point-cloud models can serve as the as-built/as-operating record of the line, enabling improvements to operational performance throughout the factory and product and process lifecycle.

Integration provides a view of all plant information including 3D as built representation.

Cloud Offering - Siemens MindSphere

Siemens demonstrated MindSphere – Siemens Cloud for Industry, which is an open IT ecosystem, based on the SAP HANA cloud platform. Customers and developers use this platform to create, extend, and operate applications in the cloud.   OEMs and application developers can access the platform via open interfaces, including OPC and OPC UA, and use it for their own services and analyses. This can include online monitoring of globally distributed machine tools, industrial robots, or industrial equipment such as compressors and pumps.  Using MindSphere Siemens Cloud for Industry, customers are also able to create digital models of their plants, with real data from the production process. This allows them to synchronize the model and the plant, enabling them to carry out simulations and optimize business processes.   Users will be able to develop their own web services with MindSphere, which can also serve as a basis for digital service possibilities such as predictive maintenance, energy data management, or resource optimization. 

Cloud Gateway

Using Siemens new Connector Box, a Simatic IPC–based cloud gateway, makes it possible to securely collect machine and plant data, from PLCs or drive systems (from Siemens and other manufacturers’ automations and controls) to transmit to the cloud.

Video: Obama Merkel visit Siemens at Hannover Fair 2016

President Obama and Chancellor Merkel visited the Siemens booth at the Hannover Messe trade fair in Hall 9. Joe Kaeser and Klaus Helmrich used an example from automotive industry to show the high-ranking political leaders what digitalization solutions for the entire value chain look like. 

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