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Smart Manufacturing Takes Center Stage in 2022

Rahul Garg
By Rahul Garg Vice President, Industrial Machinery & SMB Program, Siemens Digital Industries Software

Smart manufacturing will come to the fore in 2022 as a holistic strategy that considers the entire process throughout a product’s entire lifecycle. It now takes advantage of greater connectivity and live data capture to improve the process.

Smart manufacturing bridges the gap between the design and manufacturing environments and enables collaboration through open, intelligent data exchange formats.

Digital transformation is enabling smart manufacturing to validate and manage modern manufacturing and assembly operations, achieving better quality with less cost. Companies can now extract value from a wealth of information to reap these benefits:

  • Connectability: Allows machines to communicate with other machinery in the plant via a machine builder (OEM).
  • Adaptability: With all the information generated by sensors and capabilities, smart machines recognize changes in upstream products and processes and adjust to dynamic operating conditions.
  • Predictability: Provides an increasing emphasis on improving the predictability of a machine’s performance in the field based on digital simulation technologies, requiring a high-fidelity digital twin of the machine.
  • Extendability: Extends the life of a machine in the customer facility with predictive maintenance and adaptive performance. The objective is to create more value for a manufacturing customer and to optimize cash flow.

Smart manufacturing reduces time-to-market and development costs through improved planning, faster validation of production alternatives, and growing operational efficiency and manufacturing performance.

This methodology provides a fully IoT-interconnected environment where every factory machine, system or database drives insight from invaluable data using a low- or no-code tool interface. Now teams can respond to issues in real time through a phone or tablet remotely, keeping the factory operating efficiently, whether people are there physically or not.

Simultaneously, with the longer-term pressure to build and deliver innovative products faster, customers demand greater personalization and customization. This new dynamic market requires flexibility and efficient use of resources without compromising quality. A complete digital enterprise responds to customer requests and market demands quickly, opening the door to new and innovative business areas for all industries. It also has the added benefit of building in greater resilience when unplanned disruptions occur. This process provides invaluable advantages for quality, operation and speed while delivering a competitive advantage.

Digital innovation using smart manufacturing is possible through a suite of sophisticated software tools. Smart manufacturing is a multidisciplinary approach incorporated into a comprehensive digital twin of the machine and the overall manufacturing process. It is critical to have the right software to manage all of this. For example, engineers provide the optimal design to balance cost and durability based on what they know about machine dynamics, which in turn is based on up-front simulation.

In addition, there is a closed-loop environment where manufacturing can use the same model for machining and fabrication. Then, during operation, manufacturing execution software feeds information back into the engineering space to provide a closed loop of continuous improvement. Using an integrated change management process, manufacturing can inform engineering about the real cost drivers for the part. In turn, engineers can iterate quickly on a solution that provides the same durability at a lower fabricated cost.

Xcelerator is a portfolio of software solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software designed to help companies achieve these kinds of results. The portfolio of engineering software services and application development capabilities enables innovative product and manufacturing design, while model-based systems engineering and digital thread capabilities ensure that data is accessible when and where it’s needed—throughout the design, production, and utilization flow.

Furthermore, the software and services provide a full spectrum of capabilities to connect and streamline all processes, from requirements planning, engineering, production through to service. It is now possible to combine all the domains required to engineer, manufacture, and deliver a smart factory by providing a higher level of automation due to digitalization.

The result is an executable digital twin, realizing every step in the manufacturing process. This process allows machine manufacturers and designers to create more value by closing the loop between manufacturing operations and engineering.

Digital transformation through smart manufacturing shows the full capability of an IoT-connected environment. It is an environment where every machine, system or database in the factory is interconnected and provides the ability to drive actionable insight from data enabled in a low- or no-code tool interface. Then, teams can respond to issues in real time through their phones or tablets to keep the factory operating smoothly.

Furthermore, digital transformation provides the overall support needed for smart factories today and in the future to facilitate advanced technologies, innovative designs, and collaboration. It allows industrial machinery OEMs to turn design complexity into a competitive advantage while providing optimum quality and reliability.

Tronrud Engineering AS, Hønefoss, Norway, was founded in 1977 and develops, manufactures and supplies machines, equipment and automation solutions. It is a notable example of smart manufacturing implementation. Previously, Tronrud’s process of bringing a machine to life through prototyping was painstaking. However, using Siemens’ software portfolio suite during its development stage, the company can create 3D models of the machine and its parts and simulate its behavior. In addition, virtual commissioning allowed Tronrud to test its designs in a virtual environment before building the hardware.

The machine’s virtual image, or digital twin, enables parallel work on the design, mechanics, and programming. As a result, Tronrud Engineering reduced the design phase by 10 percent and commissioning time by 25 percent, allowing less time on the shop floor and creating more machines with a shorter time to market.

The fundamental changes involved in using this software brought together design resources in collaboration between the software engineer, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer. In addition, using a virtual model versus a physical model allows Tronrud Engineering to test without the fear of damaging the machine prototype. Consequently, it allows for cost and time savings, with all correlations performed digitally.

Smart manufacturing bridges the gap between the design and manufacturing environments. It enables collaboration through open, intelligent data exchange formats. As a result, those who commit to a digitalization strategy are in a position to lead their industries and thrive even when faced with unexpected disruptions.

Digital transformation provides the backbone for the smart factory. It facilitates advanced technologies, innovative designs and tighter collaboration. Digital transformation enables industrial machinery OEMs to turn design complexity into a competitive advantage.

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