Schneider Electric's Internet of Training and Simulation Things

By Peter Reynolds

Industry Trends


Training and simulation platforms are not new to the process industries, however Schneider Electric's SimSci business has taken a refreshing look at the deployment and use of these systems across industrial organizations. From an industrial IoT perspective, things are shaping up to expand the use of this technology across differing engineering disciplines and solve different types of process problems and support leveraging the technology across a greater number of use cases.

Recent R&D efforts by the newly formed Schneider Electric software company under the close direction of the SimSci team, have brought forth a major revamp of the company’s simulation platform. SimSci now offers a completely redesigned platform for engineering simulation and optimization designed to minimize custom modeling and rework for process engineers. The company calls the platform SimCentral and it features a modern user interface, flexible problem specifications, and instant feedback to the user. Model-specific libraries are developed for specific engineering simulation problems, such as cooling water, flares, steam and process. Three solver models for any library for process, fluid flow, and dynamic simulation allow engineers to write their models for longer term use for plant optimization or training. The SimCentral software provides a unified modelling environment for process design, simulation, and optimization.

The impressive bit - SimSci has stimulated the market by providing cloud-enabled simulation software that is easy to access and available on a browser from any internet-connected device. Licenses are easy to purchase online for both short-term and long-term simulation projects. The scalability of cloud computing resources and infrastructure make use of multiple cores. This means the engineer or user can run over a thousand cases at once, or a single case a thousand times faster. Another significant benefit allows SimCentral to be run without the need for IT support for maintenance and upgrades to help keep the software version current.

SimCentral Cloud is currently available as a virtual machine-based solution for training workshops and evaluations. In the future, SimSci plans to offer a software as a service (SaaS) deployment model with online registration and payment and multi-user collaboration in the same simulation. This ser- vice will also be extended to university programs for students to enable the engineering graduates to be “SimCentral-Ready” when they embark on their first career in industry.

Much of the workforce today tends to be distributed geographically. This often makes it challenging for a company to manage competency and progression. To address this, SimSci offers a cloud deployment with a phased approach to help owner-operators increase adoption by starting small and expanding on a corporate-wide training program.

ARC Advisory Group recently attended Schneider Electric's 2015 Software Global SimSci Simulation for Business Excellence event in Pasadena, California and learned the company Schneider Electric Software

  • plans to transform the industrial market by expanding the reach of its already broad portfolio by strategic mergers and enriching the use of engineering data cross the full asset life-cycle - design - operate - maintain.

  • drive toward digitizing the entire value chain and expanding the scope of simulation across engineering design, supply chain planning, operations & maintenance, business analysis, and optimization.

  • Simulation and training will work together and be delivered as a cloud based simulation and training platform.

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