What it’s like to attend a Siemens PLM Analyst Conference. (Image courtesy of Washington Post/Eric Sterling.)
Once a year, Siemens PLM invites analysts and some journalists to its conference. It does thisto remind us once again that it has a complete manufacturing solution for the enterprise, if only to save us from lapsing into the perception that the division of Siemens, AG, the giant multinational corporation, is only about NX and Teamcenter.
Here are some tidbits.
Digital twin concept. (Picture from Siemens PLM.)
In the ideal world of Siemens PLM, every real-world part ever made will have, in a virtual world, a digital twin. A digital twin, as its name would imply, is like the real part in every way. It looks like the part because its geometric form is shown, but that is just a start. It contains every bit of data about the part, from its inception through design, as well as any analysis it is subjected to, its manufacturer and its mass production.And, stay with it, the digital twin hangs around see what is happening to the part in the real world, fielding usage information (from its being on an Internet of Things network, of course) that will no doubt be useful for the next version of the part.
The digital twin concept is being echoed at PTC conferences, by the way.
What conference would be complete without a new buzzword? This year, Siemens PLMelects to use “digitalization,” based on the idea that all aspects of whatever you are designing have been given digital form, even as it passes through the factory.
Siemens AG, the big-time manufacturer of an enormous scale, from towering wind turbines to trains,factory controls and much more, is all about producing things in the most efficient manner. This increasingly pertains to the factory floor, a Siemens position of strength. No other CAD company has, as its parent, an enormous manufacturing concern that can serve both as a source of inspiration, a test bed and quite possibly (though not guaranteed) a customer.
That's Jill, a factory avatar working next to a robot arm that is supposed to be aware of Jill’s vulnerability. (Picture from Siemens PLM.)
Factory automation, including robots and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), are right up Siemens’ alley. We are shown a human avatar (either Jack or Jill) that simulates motion on the assembly line, including getting to all those hard-to-reach places during an assembly. Avatars may not be in widespread use at the moment, but Siemens’ point is that if we—and only we—wanted to go fully digital, we could.
Jack (or Jill) is part of Siemens’ Tecnomatix factory automation software.
Autos Are Us
We saved Ford $100 million, said Jan Mrosik, CEO of Siemens’ Digital Factory Division.
Siemens doesn’t make cars, but it helps several auto manufacturers make them. Its PLCs and robot controls are on the production floor of several such companies, including VW, Ford and Maserati.
The Maserati Ghibli and the Ford Mustang have benefitted from using Siemens PLM software, the latter to the tune of $100 million.
A lot of that was from factory automation. Siemens software can generate PLC code automatically, sending signals to production and assembly equipment.
Robots on the March
Robots figure big in the factory of the future—and Siemens is on top of it. Grindstaff points to a Stratasys 3D printer mounted on a KUKA robotic arm.
The future of factories seems to be with robots, and Siemens is on top of robots. During a recent press event at Stratasys HQ, Siemens software simulated and instructed a KUKA robotic arm outfitted with a 3D print head to lay “some goop,” as CEO Grindstaff called it, in order to make a large, chopped carbonfiber–infused part.
More from the event coming up in future installments.