How Does Digitalization Unlock Industrial Potential ?

By Sharada Prahladrao


As a global sponsor at ARC Advisory Group’s recent India Forum, Siemens had multiple opportunities to showcase its technologies and expertise via presentations and case studies.  Siemens’ presentations resonated well with the forum’s Unlock Industrial Potentialtheme of Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure, and Cities, and sparked numerous discussions among delegates.

Siemens’ three presentations shared a common message: “digitalization changes everything.” 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. With the Siemens Digital Enterprise, a “digital thread” connects manufacturing processes and systems. The Siemens Digital Enterprise Suite, a comprehensive portfolio of industrial software and automation, is designed to provide seamless connection of the virtual and physical worlds. 

The key takeaways from the presentations by Siemens:

  • Manufacturing enterprises must become digital enterprises
  • It is imperative to have a digitalization strategy
  • Digitalization facilitates transparent plant operations
  • Cybersecurity is critical in a digital world
Unlock Industrial Potential

Unlock Industrial Potential with Digitalization

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, services.  

Unlock Industrial Potential

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  

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.     

Secure Industrial Networks

Vivek Roy, Head – Industrial Communication & Identification, Process Industries & Drives, Siemens India spoke about the challenges for future-proofing and securing industrial communication networks through cybersecurity. He said that digitalization and Big Data address the key industry requirements that Mr. Prakash spoke about (speed, flexibility, etc.). Comparing the non-digital past with the digital present, he mentioned the shift from manual to automated processes; islands of automation to interoperability; legacy systems to vertical integration, etc. Digitalization connects the production and enterprise layers and these industrial networks, but critical requirements need to be addressed:

  • High availability
  • Robustness
  • Flexibility
  • Security
  • Mobile applications
Unlock Industrial Potential

The main aspects to be considered in industrial network design are management, security, and structure; industrial security touches many points in the structure (training and policy, firewalls, virus scans etc.).  At the enterprise level, the main threat is loss of data and confidentiality; at the industrial level, open networks increase potential threats.  Hence, security measures are vital to protect against unauthorized access, espionage, damage, or sabotage, he said. Mr.  Roy elaborated on how a holistic security concept must include technology, processes, and people. Further, he discussed the importance of standards for industrial security, because every stakeholder (asset owner, system integrator, or product supplier) can introduce vulnerabilities. IEC 62443 addresses the defense-in-depth concept that involves all the stakeholders and components (plant security, network security, and system integrity). Mr. Roy showcased “then” and “now” scenarios for an automotive manufacturer and a food and beverage customer.

Preparing for Plant Transparency

Milind Kulkarni, Chief Manager-Business Development, Factory Automation, Siemens spoke about how global data access and cloud-based services enable transparent plant operations (production, equipment health, and energy data) and improved decision support. This process involves analyzing the data that is captured, visualizing the relevant information, and transforming that information into business intelligence (BI).  This can be fed back into the systems and processes to take the necessary corrective actions. Having access to the past history, current status, and future probabilities helps users quickly fix problems and make informed decisions.

Unlock Industrial Potential

He showed a video in which traditional and new methods were automated in a spice mill to enhance efficiency and productivity. The main purpose of digitalization is to improve productivity; and this can be achieved by linking the horizontal and vertical value chains. He explained how reducing energy costs can help reduce the final product cost without detracting from quality. This requires continuously acquiring and analyzing energy data to optimize energy usage. Mr. Kulkarni mentioned two “DINs” that are required for plant transparency:

  • Deliberation of strategies; Ideate; Navigate
  • Devices; Intermediaries; Networks

In this context, he spoke about the Siemens WebUX solutions that can be used to capture relevant plant information in various application scenarios (management, quality, maintenance).  


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.  In a connected world, cybersecurity has become increasingly important; providing the foundation on which business models and processes are built.

Siemens showcased its technologies via case studies, exhibiting the company’s expertise in multiple domains. With its global footprint, technology breakthroughs, and collaborative efforts the company is helping boost industrial growth.


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Keywords: Siemens, Global Sponsor, ARC’s India Forum, Digitalization, ARC Advisory Group.

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