Siemens’ presentations at the recent ARC India Forum emphasized the huge impact that digitalization has had (and will continue to have) on business and industrial operations. It is now imperative for manufacturers to have a well-planned digitalization strategy – both for greenfield and brownfield projects. The company believes that manufacturers and other industrial organizations must transform their businesses into digital enterprises and, ideally, this should extend across the entire value chain. The presentations by Siemens shared a common message: “digitalization changes everything;” and this message came out clearly in the keynote address.
Transform Businesses into Digital Enterprises
In his keynote address, Sameer Prakash, Head Digital Enterprise, Digital Factory Division, Siemens presented the company’s view on digitalization. He said that the ways we gather information, buy things, travel etc., have all changed. He commented that digitalization tends to disrupt markets; and this creates pressure, but also opens up opportunities if done correctly.
Key challenges and requirements of the manufacturing sector:
- Speed, flexibility, quality (especially in sectors like pharmaceutical to improve efficiencies and meet legal requirements for track and trace, and genealogy), and efficiency (of products and production resources)
- Manufacturing enterprises need to be ready to adopt new business models
- Cybersecurity must improve
To address these challenges, manufacturing enterprises must become digital enterprises, which he described as a holistic approach that integrates and digitalizes the entire value chain. One of the main advantages of the integrated approach is that it does not need to be implemented end-to-end; it can be done in stages. This approach applies to and can provide benefits in both greenfield and brownfield applications. In discrete manufacturing, the Digital Enterprise (discrete sector)
has five distinct stages: product design, production planning, product engineering, execution, and services. Once the value chain is integrated and digitalized you get a perfect digital copy of the whole process – the digital twin. The advantages include:
- Sustainable improvements on a regular basis
- Product, production and execution – all integrated on a common database
- Simulation of the whole product/ production line
- Reduced prototyping time
Digital Twins for Value Chain Optimization
Mr. Prakash spoke about MindSphere – the company’s cloud-based, open operating system for the IoT. He highlighted MindSphere initiatives, such as condition monitoring, performance intelligence, complete digital twin etc.; and the company’s partner ecosystem. He provided two examples of how digitalization transformed the manufacturing process.
- In a low voltage switchgear factory at Kalwa (part of Mumbai), a brownfield installation, digitalization helped the plant move from 77 different product variants in three lines, to 180 different product variants in one line. It reduced cycle times of ~21 seconds cycle times on three different lines, to ~9 seconds cycle time (in spite of the varied mix); and from performing quality checks on 22 parameters in 60 seconds, to performing 68 quality parameters (including dynamic behavior) in 9 seconds.
- In the OEM market, Siemens provided Printing International (in the pharma space) data transparency to move from reactive to predictive operations; improve design of their equipment; and manage performance using a digital twin.