Industrial Internet of Things plays the starring role in the new digital transformation theater, but digital twin is the supporting actress without whom there would be no drama. Simulation comprises an important element of this whole digital enterprise scene. ABI Research has been releasing some interesting research reports, and this one just hit my inbox that is quite interesting.
The Manufacturing Simulation Software Competitive Assessment analyzed and ranked seven major vendors in the industry – Siemens, Dassault Systèmes, Arena (Rockwell Automation), AnyLogic, FlexSim, Simio, and Simul8 – using ABI Research’s unbiased innovation/implementation criteria framework. For this competitive assessment, innovation scores examined the technical capabilities of the vendor’s software and implementation scores focused on the vendor’s commercial ability to deliver their solution around the world across a variety of manufacturing verticals.
Ranked as the top manufacturing simulation software vendor, Siemens scored highest in implementation and topped four of the ten scoring criteria. Dassault Systèmes came in a close second, having scored the highest in innovation and topped three of the ten criteria.
A key judgment criterion within the innovation category was digital twin capability, the software’s ability to align end-to-end physical processes with a dynamic digital representation that provides two-way feedback and ongoing optimization. Vendors were also judged according to data ingestion, the software’s ability to utilize high volumes of real-time data from a variety of sources, including industrial equipment and sensors on the factory floor. Further assessment included UX, data modeling and analytics, and virtual commissioning capabilities.
ABI Research chose these vendors for the assessment due to their simulation capabilities in discrete manufacturing specifically, where software is used to simulate physical processes digitally to optimize engineering, planning, and operations on the factory floor.
Siemens scored strongest overall due to its ability to integrate simulation with the widest range of adjacent industrial software and hardware. This integration provides the most robust end-to-end product offering to manufacturers. Another major strength of Siemens is virtual commissioning, delivered through its Simcenter and PLC Sim Advance tools. These tools allow simulation capabilities to extend to the machine control level, where individual machines can be virtualized and modeled to improve equipment efficiency and reduce failure rates. Dassault Systèmes very closely followed Siemens and topped the innovation category due to outstanding digital twin capabilities and analytics performance via the company’s impressive 3DExperience platform. These two companies stood out from the field and were therefore named Leaders in the report.
“It is no coincidence that the two companies with the strongest end-to-end software offerings across the smart manufacturing value chain have emerged as Leaders in this report,” said Ryan Martin, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “Siemens and Dassault Systèmes can leverage their broad service offerings and industrial expertise to feed innovation and to implement complete solutions that equate to powerful and reliable simulations in discrete manufacturing.”
Three companies- Arena (Rockwell), AnyLogic and FlexSim- were named as Followers in the report. While these companies lack the full range of simulation capabilities of the Leaders, especially at the machine and equipment level, they have strong modeling and analytics capabilities. They, therefore, provide effective solutions for simulating factory floor layouts to optimize discrete manufacturing performance according to key metrics such as product throughput, machine downtime, capacity, and inventory levels. Arena, owned by Rockwell Automation, topped the Followers category due to strong performance in data modelling and analytics. Arena’s complex variability modeling capabilities and its strong installed base within the market contributed to a strong score in implementation.
“Ultimately the companies that scored best in the ranking can go beyond high-level factory layout simulation by also accurately modeling and commissioning industrial equipment on the factory floor and incorporating product design into the simulation environment. This means the way machines behave and how they are used to manufacture actual products is considered more comprehensively, a key factor in generating more reliable simulations. For this reason, Siemens and Dassault Systèmes stand out as market leaders in discrete manufacturing simulation software,” concludes Martin.