Digitalization or Digital Enterprise Hannover Messe Word of the Day

Obama and Merkel at HannoverEchos of Industrie 4.0 were present around the Hannover Messe 2016, but times have moved on since 2013. The word of the week was digital–in many forms, such as digitalization, digital enterprise, digital factory.

Chancellor Merkel and President Obama (two friends says the headline) were not digital, however, as they made a grand tour through parts of the trade fair highlighting the latest manufacturing technologies. And when the US President appears, the rest of the world stops. There were a reported 10,000 police in Hannover. The building I was in during the tour was surrounded by police, we could see snipers on the buildings around us, and we were locked in from 9 am until 1 pm. Fortunately, we had food.

Fortunately also for Siemens, they had a “captive” audience for their press conference for an extra couple of hours.

Siemens captured a large chunk of my time in Hannover. (Disclaimer, two divisions of the company paid some of my expenses.) Because I had some good contacts, I was able to get many interviews and looks behind the scenes. But the main reason I spent much time there was that Siemens had much to show.

Digital Manufacturing Vision

The digital manufacturing vision that Anton Huber laid out for me at the ARC Forum in Orlando in 2006 has progressed considerably. With a backbone of Internet of Things technologies and adding in digital everywhere, Siemens revealed the benefits of bringing everything together.

Take a tour through automobile production, for example. Sebastian Israel took me through the process from designing in Siemens CAD solution (NX), to production planning and engineering (TeamCenter, both from Siemens (PLM). The process continues through designing and engineering the line–digitally of course. Because it is digital first, engineers can simulate the line removing constraints and interferences before any steel is cut.

Integrating the automation and controls to the process is the hardest part of the system. Siemens has begun this process. It does acknowledge much work remains in this area. Mechatronics integration is well along. Things do not stop here, though. TeamCenter helps with change management. TiA Portal enables control engineering collaboration. The process feed the execution level (MES) for production scheduling and other functions including feeding the resource manager of CNC tools to help select the proper next tool to use. This integrates into services–data is usable for such analyses as predictive maintenance.

So far as I can tell, no other company comes close to the ability to do all this within its own umbrella. Although remarkable for what I’d call the “old” Siemens, the “new” Siemens actually uses partnerships to fill the gaps in the system. This is not the same company I met 15 years ago.

I congratulate Mr. Huber for the vision and seeing it through to its current state.

Other Siemens News

Rihab Ehms led a personal tour on TIA Portal Engineering Software. This product continues to develop and flesh out gaps. The first glimpse from a few years ago was pretty much that of an Integrated Development Environment for programming control. Slowly, the Siemens team added drives, HMI, and now motion control and motor management. Also included is energy management. It is a multiuser environment enabling broad collaboration among engineers using a “smart library” concept and common data management.

Ulli Klenk, next on my list, discussed Industrial Additive Manufacturing. I mentioned some interviews I’ve had on additive manufacturing research at North Carolina State. A Duke grad, he was a bit disappointed. His passion showed on the ways Siemens is helping customers with additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing). Leveraging expertise from Siemens PLM and working with partner machine builders, the company has systems working in a number of application.

Not part of this exhibit but thoroughly fascinating as well, Local Motors sent an engineer to participate in the Siemens booth showing how the company is building a complete car (and now a minibus) using additive manufacturing methods.

The paper industry faces challenges as we all reduce the amount of paper we use. It is searching for alternatives to its product lines. Therefore the broadening of the industry term to “fiber.” Siemens is there, of course, to  blend its process control, drive systems, simulation, and predictive maintenance capabilities. Dr. Hermann Schwarz explained the technologies and then said these technologies will help the paper industry broaden into the fiber industry.

One last technology that I didn’t tour but heard much about is MindSphere. Partnering with SAP HANA, this is an industrial cloud providing data driven services and eventually an App Store so that customers can wring the most value possible from their own data.

Not a Chance

When this vision was explained in 2006 and 2007, I didn’t think there was any chance Siemens could pull it off. The pieces are coming together well. They still have much work to do, but customers can certainly benefit right now with increased manufacturing flexibility, product quality, and efficiency.


GE Opens Advanced Manufacturing Works

GE Opens Advanced Manufacturing Works

The world of advanced manufacturing and digitization continues its steady advance. GE recently announced opening of its first advanced manufacturing facility—a power products manufacturing plant in Greenville, SC.

Interesting that Rockwell Automation just announced a CEO transition leading analysts to look back on Keith Nosbusch’s tenure. Certainly at a time when rivals such as Siemens, Schneider Electric, and, yes, GE have made strong moves in the digital manufacturing space, Rockwell stuck with the “Connected Enterprise.”

That strategy essentially refers to EtherNet/IP networking. I recall my last conversation with CTO Sujeet Chand. I thought maybe he was going to talk about adopting some new technologies. Instead, he introduced a Cisco executive who talked about switches.

I’m en route to Hannover where I have appointments already with Siemens and GE Digital to talk about their digital strategies. Throw in Dell and SAP, and things get interesting.

I think Blake Moret, the next CEO, has his work cut out for him to keep Rockwell Automation relevant in the new age. I’m not usually too critical of Rockwell. I know its reputation for being conservative. Nosbusch stayed the course firmly. I’m starting to think that if Moret doesn’t provide some new directions, there is a risk.

Meanwhile, Back to GE

  • The bullet points from its press release:
    New Facility Will Deploy Best-in-Class Technologies to Accelerate Improvements in Every Aspect of the Manufacturing Process Including Design, Engineering, Product Development, Production, Supply Chain, Distribution and Service and Will Unlock New Productivity and Growth across GE’s Power Portfolio
  • GE Has Invested $73 Million to Date and Will Invest an Additional $327 Million across the GE Power Greenville, S.C., Campus to Boost Innovation and Accelerate the Commercialization of Development of Best-in-Class Technologies for Customers across the Globe
  • Eighty Engineering and Manufacturing Jobs Created with the Facility’s Opening, Expected to Have a Multiplier Effect across the Supply Chain

GE celebrated the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Works (AMW) in Greenville as the GE Power business continues to introduce tomorrow’s technologies, today. The announcement comes on the heels of GE’s grand opening of its first additive manufacturing center in Pittsburgh in early April and represents the next step forward in GE’s journey as the world’s premiere digital industrial company.

“The opening of the AMW is a pivotal moment for us. We’re building a skilled workforce and culture that’s devoted to delivering breakthrough innovations that deliver better, faster outcomes for our customers and unlock new productivity and growth.”

GE has invested $73 million in the facility to date and will invest another $327 million across the GE Power Greenville campus over the next several years to drive innovation and the faster development of best-in-class technologies that deliver more value for customers across the globe. At least 80 engineering and manufacturing jobs are being created with the facility’s opening.

GE Power President and CEO Steve Bolze was joined by South Carolina elected leaders for the grand opening of the 125,000-square-foot facility at GE’s Greenville manufacturing campus. The facility broke ground in mid-2014.

“GE is leading the transformation of manufacturing in the power industry, and this facility will ignite the digital industrial revolution for our company and the industry,” said Bolze. “The opening of the AMW is a pivotal moment for us. We’re building a skilled workforce and culture that’s devoted to delivering breakthrough innovations that deliver better, faster outcomes for our customers and unlock new productivity and growth.”

The AMW is GE Power’s first advanced manufacturing facility. The facility will revolutionize the way GE Power designs, creates and improves products by serving as an incubator for the development of advanced manufacturing processes and rapid prototyping of new parts for GE’s energy businesses—Power, Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas and Energy Connections. New techniques and production processes developed at the facility will bring new best-in-class products to global customers quicker than ever.

Advanced manufacturing brings a convergence of the latest technologies together to transform every aspect of the production process to make new, better things, faster. Industrial innovations, from new materials science, 3-D printing (additive manufacturing) and automation to advanced software platforms and robotics are redefining manufacturing for the future.

Advanced manufacturing has a huge and growing significance worldwide. Recent research1 found that nearly 24 million people are already employed in advanced manufacturing industries in the U.S., creating about 19 percent of GDP, and that each job in an advanced manufacturing industry supports another 3.5 jobs through the supply chain.

GE started in Greenville more than 40 years ago with a 340,000-square-foot site. With the latest addition of the AMW, the site has grown close to 1.7 million square feet of factories, offices and laboratories focused on manufacturing advanced products for customers worldwide. GE has more than 3,200 employees in Greenville and has invested more than $500 million in the last five years to bolster critical manufacturing activities housed on the campus. The company has established valuable relationships with local community schools, universities and technical programs to develop new technologies and create a system to support those who are passionate about growing with the industry.
1 The workforce of the future: Advanced manufacturing’s impact on the global economy, April 2016, GE. Authors: John Paul Soltesz, Marni Rutkofsky, Karen Kerr, Marco Annunziata

3D Printing The Next Layer Collapsing Technology?

3D Printing The Next Layer Collapsing Technology?

Robert McCutcheon PwCWe all expect 3D Printing, also known as Additive Manufacturing, to be a disruptive. Or is it everyone who expects it? Will 3D Printing become the next technology to collapse layers in manufacturing just like the software and communications layers I’ve been discussing?

PwC just reported on its 2015 survey of manufacturers’ experiences and attitudes toward the technology. The results are somewhat mixed, as you would suspect given how new the technology is and how rapidly it is gaining acceptance.

PwC’s Robert McCutcheon posted a blog on LinkedIn introducing the latest results. I’m quoting the post here:

There are many different types of technology that are at the fingertips of manufacturers looking to become the next Factory of the Future. But there’s still that hesitation, there’s still the question: Is 3D printing (3DP) just hype?

According to PwC’s recent study, it’s not. In fact, it’s become quite clear that the technology, also known as additive manufacturing, is crossing from a period of experimentation to one of rapid maturation. Industrial 3D printers, once almost exclusively used for prototyping, are now on some of America’s factory floors and being rolled out on production lines.

How do we know?

Two years ago, PwC tested the waters to figure out to what extent U.S. manufacturers were adopting 3DP into their operations and how they expected the technology to play out in the future. In our latest report, we share what’s changed and the three most significant shifts that have emerged:

  • More “doing,” less experimenting: Fewer manufacturers (17% versus 29% two years ago) are simply experimenting with 3DP to figure out how to use the technology. Now, just over half are using it for prototyping and final-products versus 35% two years ago.
  • Greater expectations: Two years ago, just 38% of manufacturers expected 3DP to be used for high-volume production over the next 3-5 years. Now, 52% do. Interestingly, we saw a drop from 74% to 67% in the number of manufacturers that expect 3DP to be used for low-volume, specialized products.
  • 3DP is still disrupting, though how it’s disrupting continues to evolve: Twenty-two percent say it will be disruptive to restructuring supply chains. The same percentage say it will threaten intellectual property.

Eighteen percent believe it will change relationship with customers. Two years ago, the primary concern was how it would disrupt the supply chain.

In “3D Printing comes of age in US industrial manufacturing“, we dive further into these three shifts and uncover sentiment from 2014 versus today. What’s clear is that the growth in 3DP and the range of ways it’s being implemented is demonstrating 3DP will be an important discussion to how manufacturers are assessing, shaping and expanding their businesses.

However, no matter where one is on the adoption scale, there are questions that must be addressed.

2015 Automation, Business, Manufacturing Prognostications

2015 Automation, Business, Manufacturing Prognostications

Jim Pinto w beardLet the debates begin! Jim Pinto has published his 2015 prognostications in the latest JimPintoBlog.

Check out his entire list and enter your thoughts on his blog. I’ll highlight some of his thoughts and add some of my own.


Automation Industry Trends

New inflection points will change the leadership lineup.

GM—I do not expect big changes in the automation leadership lineup. Mitsubishi, Rockwell Automation and Siemens are dominant in their home areas and fighting it out in China and India. Siemens has a bit of an edge having been international for a longer period of time. But as automation commoditizes, perhaps some new entrants will grab some share. If Bedrock Automation can market well, watch out for it. On the process side, Invensys is gone, absorbed by Schneider Electric. So the process automation business becomes even more of a minor part of the overall businesses, like ABB, Emerson Process Management, and Yokogawa. The only interesting situation in that market area is Honeywell Process Solutions. But I don’t really expect any change there.

I think 3D printing (additive manufacturing) is a game changer and one of the most important things from last week’s CES. It’s not strictly automation, though.

From Jim:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): The Industrial Internet will transform the next decade. Intelligent sensors and networks will take measurement and control to the next level, dramatically improving productivity and efficiencies in production. Growth in 2015 will be bottom-up, not top-down.
  • Smaller, Cheaper Sensors: Everyone is looking for or working on smaller, cheaper sensors for widespread use in IoT. Expect fast growth for sensors this year.
  • Cloud Computing: Cloud computing technology reduces capital expenditures and IT labor costs by transferring responsibility to cloud computing providers, allowing secure and fast access for data-driven decisions. The significant gains in efficiency, cost and capability will generate continuing rapid growth in 2015.
  • 3D Printing in Manufacturing: Today, do-it-yourself manufacturing is possible without tooling, large assembly lines or multiple supply chains. 3D printing is reshaping product development and manufacturing.
  • Mobile Devices in Automation: The use of WiFi-connected tablets, smartphones and mobile devices is spreading quickly. Handheld devices reduce costs, improve operating efficiency, boost productivity and increases throughput. More and more employers are allowing BYOD (bring your own device).
  • Robotics: Millions of small and medium-sized businesses that will benefit from cheaper robots that can economically produce a wide variety of products in small numbers. The next generation of robots will be cheaper and easier to set up, and will work with people rather than replace them.
  • Control Systems Security: In spite of apprehensions over consumer security breach events, industrial cyber security has mostly been ignored due to lack of understanding of solution costs. Many companies struggle to justify what is seen as added cost to secure their operation. Major security breaches will change this attitude.

Business Technology Trends

Gartner’s top trends for 2015 (3) cover three themes: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift. There is a high potential for disruption to the business with the need for a major investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

Here are the top Gartner trends:

  • Computing Everywhere: As mobile devices continue to proliferate, there will be increased emphasis on the needs of the mobile users. Increasingly, the overall environment will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user
  • 3D Printing: Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 98 percent in 2015, followed by a doubling of unit shipments in 2016, reaching a tipping point over the next three years.
  • Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics: The volume of data generated by embedded systems generates vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise. Organizations need to deliver exactly the right information to the right person, at the right time, so analytics will become deeply, but invisibly embedded everywhere.
  • Smart Machines: Advanced algorithms will allow systems to understand their environment, learn for themselves, and act autonomously.
  • Cloud Computing: The convergence of cloud and mobile computing will continue to promote the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. Applications will evolve to support simultaneous use of multiple devices.
  • Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection: All roads to the digital future lead through security. Organizations will increasingly recognize that it is not possible to provide a 100 percent secured environment. They will apply more-sophisticated risk assessment and mitigation tools. Every app needs to be self-aware and self-protecting.

GM—My take is that the biggest thing in this area is analytics combined with improved visualizations and dashboards that take advantage of smartphones and tablets. Cloud is here. IoT is here. Security will forever be an important part of business.

2015 Consumer Electronics Show

  • Wearable Devices: The time is right for wearable devices.
  • Practical green tech.
  • Sustainability and transportation: Tesla Model X all-electric SUV with the doors that open like a Delorean. Electric-assisted bike technology; electric scooter with swappable batteries and dashboard analytics.
  • Kid-Tech: Apps to help teach children science, math, and tech. Fun little robots that teach kids computer programming concepts. Drawing, design, and color patterns to help kids learn about robotics and computer programming.

GM—as I’ve already written, autonomous vehicles could be a game changer and 3D printing was huge. The outlier is drones. Who knows where that might go?

Future Prognostications 2015-2025

Here are ten prognostications for the next decade, picked from the World Future Society (7) forecasts, plus other readings and discussions with Futurists.

  • – Education: A major shift to on-line education and certification is already happening, and will continue steadily.
  • – Jobs: Advances in artificial intelligence will eliminate human workers.
  • – Robot Work Force
  • – Middle Class Impasse: delaying retirement, income stagnating
  • – Driverless cars
  • – Speak to Computers.
  • – Robotic Augmentation (exoskeletons)
  • – Health & Well-being: sensors everywhere
  • – Brain scanning will replace juries
  • -Energy: Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years while costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings (less than 14 years) away from meeting 100% percent of energy needs.

GM-There are going to be some disruptions and huge benefits from a number of these. Autonomous vehicles and health advances are fantastic. I wish education would change more quickly that it does. Even those who wish to disrupt education mainly only have the political agenda of “teachers’ unions” and driving down salaries. (Why is it a political agenda to drive down salaries. Shouldn’t we be trying to improve everyone’s lot in life?)

I’m not a fan of Kurzweil. 100% is not realistic—maybe residential, but not everything. Don’t think there’s enough volts there!

I think we are going to need those labor-saving, productivity-enhancing advancements because we’re actually facing a labor shortage in 10 years. Time to start thinking farther ahead.

Humans have a way of adapting to thrive. I am optimistic about the future!

Yes, Jim, I’m with you there!

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