Manufacturing Simulation Software Competitive Assessment

Manufacturing Simulation Software Competitive Assessment

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.

Manufacturing Simulation Software Competitive Assessment

Digital Manufacturing Technology Leads To Agility

Hannover Messe was all about Digital Manufacturing this year. One place I could not make in person was a demonstration by Accenture and Dassault Systèmes. This just goes to show the great convergence of digital technologies improving manufacturing processes.

The companies built a proof of concept (PoC) to show how digital technologies can improve efficiency and create more agile manufacturing in industries such as heavy industrial equipment and aerospace.

Working with a large industrial equipment company, Accenture and Dassault Systèmes are building and implementing a three-phase solution that harnesses digital technologies to create a link between engineering and the manufacturing shop floor for non-repetitive manufacturing companies. The adaptive solution provides a new level of continuity for product assembly including the sequence in which parts are built, and provides a better level of insight into the process for engineers and the assembly staff.

The first phase of the agile manufacturing solution creates the theoretical assembly sequence required to build a product such as a train, airplane or digger. Phase two helps create, optimize and re-plan quickly an operational plan and schedule for each worker on the shop floor. The third phase creates a digital display of the schedule for each worker so they are able to refer to it. These three phases use Dassault Systèmes’ solutions.

Replacing what has often been a paper-based process, Accenture and Dassault Systèmes are creating a solution that provides a new digital link between the engineering team and the shop floor, allowing for real-time changes in the schedule. The agile manufacturing solution can also provide insight and risk assessment into any proposed changes to a product or the assembly schedule before they are made, greatly reducing downtime and creating more agile manufacturing.

“Many companies struggle to improve manufacturing flexibility and sustain unexpected commercial or technical changes when production issues, missing parts or engineering modifications occur,” said Eric Schaeffer, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Industrial practice. “A dedicated agile manufacturing solution will provide flexibility for configuration management and the ability for local plants to personalize products, as well as support for maintenance services.”

“The Industrial Internet of Things and other digital concepts are allowing manufacturers to embark on a new era of productive, sustainable and cost-effective processes that result in a better experience for their customers,” said Laurent Blanchard, Executive Vice President, Global Field Operations (EMEAR), Worldwide Alliances and Services, Dassault Systèmes. “We are extending our long-standing collaboration with Accenture to drive agile manufacturing in the age of experience. Companies can benefit from Dassault Systèmes’ expertise in virtual manufacturing operations and data management applications and Accenture’s best practices in integration services, business process re-engineering, change management and deployment.”

Manufacturing Simulation Software Competitive Assessment

Automation Conferences and Jim Pinto

I have a potpourri of items to start the day. In the morning I leave for a week serving at the Tijuana Christian Mission. We will do a variety of service projects including building a section of a cinder-block security wall at its Rosarito orphanage site. We will do some work at the women’s shelter. We will also have some “real” Mexican tacos and check out the Pacific Ocean. I will be writing ahead, but there may be some gaps.


I decided that I just had too much going on along with watching my budget to attend this year’s ABB Automation and Power World event in Houston. This is the first one I’ve missed. And, yes, I do feel some withdrawal pain. What little news I’ve seen so far says that attendance is about 8,000. That is fantastic. I have seen no other news so far.

There were a couple of press releases in general. I subscribe to news feeds using Feedly on my iPad. I scan hundreds of items a day. Unfortunately, whatever Web technology ABB uses, when I click on the teaser lead in to the story to go to the Website, nothing happens. I’ve reported it to ABB several times in the past. For now, I don’t tweet or write up these items–I can’t see them.

Jim Pinto on Tolerance

My friend Jim Pinto who once wrote a monthly column on automation for me has switched his outlook on life. He has been tackling social problems lately in his new blog.

The latest edition is an impassioned plea for tolerance. He talks about treating other people with dignity. Certainly that is a life skill that will help you become successful except in the most toxic of organizational environment. But certainly successful as a person.

The piece did send me in search of a book in my library from the late 60s called “A Critique of Pure Tolerance.” For you philosophers, you might get just a sniff of Kant in the title. Rightly so. Three philosophers contributed essays–a Hegelian, a Kantian, and a positivist. One author was Robert Paul Wolfe. I can neither remember the other two or find the book right now. The point was (throwback to anti-VietNam protests) that sometimes you really shouldn’t tolerate the thoughts of others. I just offer that as a token of meaningless debate.

Real news from Dassault

Dassault Apriso 40Just received this update. By the way, I think these pre-configured apps are the beginning of the future for manufacturing software. Seems Apriso is making us smart–at least according to the press relations manager. Version 4.0 of Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA Apriso Manufacturing Process Intelligence (MPI) application suite is now available. New Maintenance, Logistics and Warehouse Intelligence Packs add visibility to another 200+ new KPIs.

Manufacturers operating globally are challenged to accurately measure analytics across sites to identify “best-in-class” performance. MPI 4.0 now offers 700+ pre-configured, built-in measures and KPIs within seven DELMIA Apriso Intelligence Packs. Intelligence Packs are pre-configured to work out-of-the-box with existing Apriso products (or may be integrated with other vendor products) to deliver the industry’s most robust EMI solution for global manufacturing excellence.

MPI 4.0 now offers Maintenance, Logistics and Warehouse Intelligence Packs, in addition to existing Production, Machine, Labor and Quality Intelligence Packs.

Advanced manufacturing strategies

There is one thing that puzzles me. Does anyone care about the variety of “smart manufacturing” theories and initiatives that take up so much room in magazines and blogs these days? I keep asking and writing, but the response is muted.

Granted, the European initiatives, principally Industrie 4.0, seem to be supplier driven. The US counterpart, Smart Manufacturing, has a government component, but is largely academic backed by some private companies who wish to take advantage of a pool of Ph.D. candidate researchers. It does talk about building a platform. However, the commercial impact is still in the distant future.

Just checking in. I’m working on a paper. If you have anything to contribute, I’m all ears.

Manufacturing Software Better Integrated With Digital Manufacturing

Manufacturing Software Better Integrated With Digital Manufacturing

Apriso 97This trend in manufacturing software I expect to see accelerated as we move through 2015. Although not everyone is sanguine about the efficacy of fully integrated (if indeed that is even possible) design to manufacture software. Even so, here is yet another first step.

Apriso 9.7 is now available from Dassault Systèmes, with enriched integration to the company’s digital manufacturing applications. As the first significant new product introduction since Dassault Systèmes’ acquisition of Apriso Corp., the Apriso 9.7 application suite offers an improved business experience for Apriso users, with closer, out-of-the-box integration to other DELMIA Digital Manufacturing products, helping to better bridge the gap between the virtual and real worlds of manufacturing. This Apriso product portfolio update delivers enhanced digital continuity from design to execution, supporting paperless manufacturing initiatives while accelerating new product introduction.

“The launch of Apriso 9.7 represents an important first step to becoming part of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Apriso capabilities will be available by simply adding widgets to the platform, extending real-time visibility to manufacturing intelligence to engineers and other users of the platform,” said John Fishell, DELMIA Product Management at Dassault Systèmes.

Dassault Systèmes customers can use Apriso 9.7 to help ensure engineering designed work instructions are properly executed on the shop floor. Examples include manufacturing Bill of Materials (mBOM), routings and 3D work instructions. Presenting feedback from manufacturing to engineering through the 3DEXPERIENCE portal helps improve production process performance and validate whether virtual routings are optimal for a real world environment.

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