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.


Automation Products Announced by Rockwell Automation

Studio 5000 View Designer ScreenshotIn advance of this week’s Automation Fair at Chicago’s McCormick Place, Rockwell Automation has announced a couple of new product extensions–SoftwareStudio 5000 development environment and ControlLogix  5580.

“The addition of these applications [to SoftwareStudio 5000] significantly enhances our integrated development environment,” said Mike Brimmer, product manager, Rockwell Automation. “The expanded environment simplifies the design process and reduces the need for multiple tools, providing a more seamless system development experience.”

The Studio 5000 environment now includes the following:

  • The new Studio 5000 Architect application is the central point within the Studio 5000 environment where users can view the overall automation system; configure devices such as controllers, HMIs and EOIs; and manage the communications between the devices. The Studio 5000 Architect application also exchanges data with other Studio 5000 applications and third-party electrical design tools to simplify the development experience.
  • The Studio 5000 Logix Designer application is the design and maintenance software for the Allen-Bradley Logix5000 family of controllers and is used to configure discrete, process, batch, motion, safety and drive control. It simplifies the design process by providing an application-centric view of code; enhanced work flows for more efficient re-use of content; and collaborative tools that make it easier for multiple people to work together.
  • The new Studio 5000 View Designer application is the design and maintenance software for Allen-Bradley PanelView 5500 graphic terminals. The Studio 5000 View Designer application provides an intuitive, modern design environment that helps users more easily build contemporary systems. It enhances integration between the control system and operator interface to improve programming efficiency and runtime performance.
  • The new Studio 5000 Application Code Manager speeds system development by helping users build libraries of re-usable code that can be managed and deployed across their entire enterprise. Creating projects with Application Code Manager helps improve design consistency, reduce engineering costs, and achieve faster time-to-market and commissioning.

In addition, Rockwell Automation has updated the Studio 5000 environment with enhanced security and localized batch control. New security features include more user-authentication and access-control options, and a new privilege escalation capability. These features help improve productivity and system uptime by granting users the right level of access at the right time. Localized batch control allows controller-based batch sequencing and eventing to simplify system architecture for single-unit control and process skids.

11-12-15 ControlLogix 5580 imageThe new ControlLogix 5580 controller provides up to 45 percent more application capacity and includes an embedded 1-gigabyte Ethernet port to support high-performance communications, I/O and applications with up to 256 axes of motion.

“With this new controller, users can meet future capacity and throughput needs as they design smart machines and work toward building a Connected Enterprise,” said Dennis Wylie, global product manager, Rockwell Automation. “The new port and additional capacity cuts the amount of control and communications hardware required, reducing system complexity, costs and required panel space.”

In addition, the product selection process is easier with the ControlLogix 5580 controller because users can now select the appropriate model using the total number of Ethernet nodes required. A single ControlLogix 5580 controller can support up to 300 Ethernet nodes.

The controller also supports enhanced security as part of a defense-in-depth approach to help protect facilities, assets and intellectual property. The controller incorporates advanced security technologies and software features, such as digitally signed and encrypted firmware, change detection and audit logging.

Follow this blog

Get a weekly email of all new posts.