Building our understanding of the factory of the future

Siemens Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog Results

Last week, Siemens had a really valuable virtual event called their “Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog. Those that missed it you can watch previous sessions on-demand at any time via “Recordings”. They provided an outstanding virtual showroom packed full of innovations, product presentations and use cases are exhibited in an exciting real 3D environment. The platform and all on-demand assets will be available until January 29th 2021.

The “Digital Enterprise SPS Dialoghad 56 3d-exhibits in 12 topic areas, more than 130 product presentations, 3 real factory showcases with 21 stage presentations involving over 38 speakers. By registering you can view “on-demand” selectively or watch the whole event, explore the showrooms and simply learn, evaluate and assess what these concepts would mean for you in your own Industry 4.0 journey, to a more highly automated and connected environment.

I said it at the time, and I repeat it: “The event was, for me, the best virtual event of this very strange and weird year we have all been caught up in“. For Siemens, they also commented this was quite a milestone to be achieved in the field of virtual events. It delivered a lot. My initial post “Siemens SPS Dialog.” might be worth also picking up upon.

By being virtual, the insights provided has advanced my understanding of what is being offered in Siemens Digital solutions significantly and would give any clients a terrific understanding of Siemens combined physical and digital offerings.

An event showcasing critical aspects of the factory of the future

It opened my eyes to the changes within factories that are being currently undergone to get to the factory of the future. I have been learning what has happened in the past 12 months to change our perception of Manufacturing and the factories we need in the future.

Siemens has been focusing on building their ecosystems consistently for years, and this exceptional focus on the connection needs to successfully deliver Industry 4.0 has been central in their Digital Enterprise solutions, consistently offering the solutions for making all things (IIoT) both digital and in the physical, building out on additive manufacturing, motion controls, artificial intelligence, flexible autonomous as well as their more known aspects of Siemens digital offerings of industrial IT as a service with Siemens Mindsphere, the role the Digital Twins are playing in designing, exploring and extending the physical world.

What comes across in the event by Siemens was how significantly the future of production is undergoing an extreme transformation in its combined physical and digital offering. Let’s take four.

  • When we reflect on the recent events of the last twelve months, this has been highly disruptive but those industrial companies that had already started their Industry 4.0 journey were in such a better shape to step up to the challenge, they kept production running but is highly adaptable ways. This is where Siemens comes in in the solutions to allow this highly automated, flexible, digitally connected environment to work at all times.
  • When we reflect on the remote work, rapid response and agility have all been tested in recent months. The factory that had digitalization and autonomy at its core made astonishing adjustments to its ability to be flexible and even “ramp up” or speedily adjust its production to demands that were unpredictable and requiring immediate decision making. The learning from these last nine to twelve months has been astonishing.
  • The shifts from the predictable to managing in (total) uncertainty required a factory of significant flexibility in design understanding, digitally prepared and physically able to be reconfigured.
  • The pressures have grown, shorter cycle runs are becoming more normal and necessary. Not just because of the rapidly changing customer demand but as past established supply chains have been disrupted or dramatically altered to adjust to different global circumstances, the shift has become one of production is entirely customer-focused.

Factories are undergoing massive change.

Sequential production has given way to a more autonomous manufacturing approach that has agility at its core. The system is becoming more based on modular, autonomous machines that continuously optimize themselves and operate extremely flexibly and efficiently.

These autonomous, decoupled manufacturing units quickly form new assembly cells and can produce constantly varying products without repeated manual engineering. Each machine is assigned skills based on the product ordered.

The manufacturing steps are engineered by an Autonomous Factory- the factory design of of the future

An AI-based system that performs a producibility check that determines whether all the necessary skills for manufacturing
the product are available in the factory. The requisite production steps are then combined in an optimal sequence, fully automatically and without reprogramming.

Artificial intelligence as the foundation of production. Autonomy in production is made possible by digitalization. Based on a digital twin of the product to be manufactured, AI algorithms enable the system to detect product variants, check material availability, and plan the steps necessary for manufacturing the product. AI also enables sensors and actuators to perform human-like actions like identifying parts and positions for gripping an object.

Production as a whole also makes its own decisions and organizes itself. Many assembly steps can be performed in any order. A central, AI-based system ensures the highest possible output and monitors optimal utilization and compliance with delivery deadlines. The system always knows the status of production at every workstation down to the smallest detail.

The Siemens “Digital Enterprise SPS Dialoggives massive insights into what is currently being undertaken to connect factories and offer leading-edge solutions. To deliver Industry 4.0 gets a good reality check at this event of why Siemens are regarded as leaders in this evolution across all industries.

The ultimate goal is end-to-end consistency as the foundation of digitalization and physical being combined.

To quote from Siemens literature here:

Siemens Totally Integrated Automation

“A big part of the needs of today’s factory environment is “Totally Integrated Automation (TIA)”. The world’s leading automation concept provides absolute end-to-end consistency in three dimensions.TIA enables seamless interaction between all automation components, the software involved, and higher-level systems and services Integration”

This capability is ensured by consistent data management, worldwide standards, uniform interfaces, and openness – from the field level to the company management level.

Siemens role is to lead tomorrow’s technologies by integrating all the parts today, step-by-step, for a secure investment and end-to-end capability.

This SPS Dialog provided significant insight into what is possible. To be at the cutting edge of so much innovation in product and digital solutions must be an exciting time. I got a (massive) dose of that Siemens Energy from this event. Take a little time to find out yourself is my recommendation.

A product brochure to support this event showcasing the innovations discussed and presented by Digital Enterprise at this event is available here. Here you can recap innovations, new products and exhibition highlights from #SPSDialog at a glance in this 56-page brochure about #simulation with #TIAPortal, #Mindsphere, #cloud connectivity of PLCs and much

For me, they got me hooked in so many of the sessions. Within my business, I attempt to combine Innovation, Ecosystems, IIoT and Energy as my core focus. An event like this one that compresses so much gave me such a lot of value into accelerating my own understanding of all that is ticking away under the Siemens Digital Enterprise bonnet.


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