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.
When you put your MES solution in the cloud, you “simply login, configure, and use” or “ready to deploy immediately—can be configured and used the same day.”
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. That is from the PR agency for 42Q, a company that has extensive experience in cloud-based MES and is announcing availability of the “first, fully cloud-based MES solution.”
Let us get past the marketing fluff (I know of at least one cloud-based MES that has been around for a few years). They did get positive quotes from two analysts—Rick Franzosa of Gartner and Matt Littlefield of LNS Research.
This release doubles down on the trend toward cloud-based software services. This way of buying/using software applications offers a huge savings in buying and maintaining your own IT infrastructure. Updates are fast and painless. If your partner is good, you can scale your business rapidly with far less pain than when you own your own server farm.
“Companies are ready to leverage cloud-based MES solutions. On premises servers and software are no longer the best solution for today’s smart factories,” said Bob Eulau, CEO of 42Q. “At 42Q, we deliver cloud-based MES solutions that are easy-to-implement, flexible, scalable and cost effective.”
“With this offering, we provide manufacturers with the first, fully featured, cloud-based MES solution that is different from anything the industry has seen. Whether you have a large, multi-factory global operation, or a single production line, we can help your business get the most from your manufacturing process in just weeks,” added Srivats Ramaswami, CTO, 42Q.
42Q has more than 40 locations in the cloud across discrete manufacturing industries including medical devices, automotive and defense.
What makes it work
The company does recognize that, while it simplifies the IT side of the implementation equation, constructing an MES solution for your manufacturing plant does require engineering. You really must rationalize your processes and engineer your solution.
The company offers a deployment services team certified in its “RPM (Rapid Production Model)” implementation methodology. “Our RPM methodology ensures that implementation will be successful, based on our structured templates and proven approach. As appropriate, our methodology also incorporates steps for regulatory compliance requirements.”
Our deployment team can help you with documenting business requirements, developing a concept architecture and translating this into detailed solution design. We will then help you configure the system, conduct system testing and facilitate user acceptance test.
Our training team can deliver onsite and remote training programs based on standard or custom curriculum developed with you. Our training solution is targeted to enable you to achieve maximum value from 42Q, and achieve self service from a systems configuration and factory integration standpoint.
The company does recognize where there is work involved and offers assistance. Many times when you dive deeper than the marketing hype, you can find substance.
There is no more debate about if a hosted cloud solution can work. Now the decision is whether it is the best solution for my application.
Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things describe manufacturing strategy as much as technology. But as I occasionally write here and write daily on my spiritual practices blog, there is a people side to all this technology and strategy.
Technologists (most people reading this site) tend to talk technology. Then they get carried away and think that technology will replace all need for people. Hence the science fiction writing and movies on that theme.
Arianna Huffington (the Huffington Post) attended the recent gathering of the world’s elite in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum. She discovered manufacturing and Industry 4.0. But she wrote a book on the power of getting enough sleep for your essential health. She managed to weave a story from both threads.
The dominant topic of discussion this year — both inside the talks and panels and outside, as well — was transition. Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s founder and executive chairman, captured this sense — the possibilities as well as the challenges — with this year’s theme, the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Schwab describes this new period as “the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds which is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems.” It’s an era of automation, constant connectivity, and accelerated change, in which the Internet of Things meets the Smart Factory.
Yes, this new manufacturing strategy, which I must say seems to focus on what we call discrete manufacturing (think autos, airplanes), seeks to go deeper in employing digital technologies. In many ways it is following the lead of process industries (they hate the word manufacturing even though that is a government classification) which always seems to lead in applying math and rigor to its processes.
She continues, quoting Mark Benioff of Salesforce about people and technology:
If the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be defined by speed, connectivity, and change, there’s also a need for a countervailing force. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said, “Speed is the new currency of business.” But as he also said, the Fourth Industrial Revolution begins with trust, which has been at the heart of business as long as business has existed — and will only become more important in our more transparent ever-faster-moving world. Benioff’s point exemplified a larger truth of this year’s Forum, that far from being add-ons, a focus on trust, transparency, purpose, and a deeper kind of connection are central to meaningful success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
I’ve been writing about trust and transparency on my other blog this week. Sometimes we forget basic human values in our pursuit of either technology or profits.
Oh, yes, and she adds that we all need enough sleep each night to perform at our peak. You can go buy her book–or sleep on it.