Its offering ranges from the use of artificial intelligence and edge computing through to the factory and process automation of the future. It also includes energy solutions for network operators and digital enterprises.
Under the banner ‘Digital Enterprise – Thinking industry further!’ Siemens displayed smart solutions for the industry-specific implementation of Industry 4.0 at Hannover Messe 2019. By integrating future technologies into its portfolio, Siemens is offering users new and far more extensive scope for leveraging the exponential growth in industrial data. Its offering ranges from the use of artificial intelligence and edge computing through to the factory and process automation of the future. It also includes energy solutions for network operators and digital enterprises. This comprehensive portfolio allows industrial enterprises of all sizes and sectors to achieve the improved flexibility and productivity they need to address the challenges posed by mass customisation.
Siemens illustrated its vision for industry-specific implementation of the Digital Enterprise and the use of future technologies with a range of exhibits, including two highlight showcases. One of these was the chemical industry showcase featuring the totally virtual representation of a greenfield plant complete with laboratory, automation and control technology enabling the sustainable and environmentally responsible production of polyamide made from biomass.
The automotive industry showcase demonstrates the use of digital twins, additive manufacturing, innovative robotics and automatic guided vehicles to enable flexible, efficient e-car and battery production.“By enhancing our Digital Enterprise portfolio with the addition of product innovations and future technologies, we’re helping our customers gain an even sharper competitive edge in their respective industries,” explained Jan Mrosik, CEO of Digital Factory Division. “This also includes modern methods of data analysis enabled by edge or cloud computing. With the acquisition of Mendix, we now have a market leader in the development of low-code apps on board. Using the Mendix platform and the associated tools and services, users can now generate their apps at up to ten times the speed.”
Users will also benefit from the continuously expanding ecosystem surrounding the open cloud-based IoT operating system MindSphere. Independent MindSphere World user organisations in Europe (Germany, Italy) and Southeast Asia (Singapore) now count some 90 users among their members.
Product innovations showcased in Hannover include the latest version of the NX software, which has been enhanced with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. These new features can predict next steps and update the user interface to help users more efficiently use software to increase productivity. Siemens also presented its own E-CAD functionality for mechatronic machine and production line engineering in the form of its new ‘Electrical Design’ module.
New standards in process control technology
Eckard Eberle, CEO, Process Automation Business Unit CEO said, “The completely web-based new system and the multi-user concept for engineering and operation will open up totally new and efficient ways of working for our customers.” The new concept allows expert knowledge to be deployed anywhere, any time, and the innovated Simatic PCS 7 hardware means that customers are already ideally prepared to work with the new system today.
Customers will also benefit from PlantSight, a system which draws data from several different data sources to enable rapid access to previously unattainable information. Synchronising the physical plant with the relevant engineering data enables the creation of a digital twin of the manufacturing process. This allows plant operators to count on a high level of trustworthiness and information quality, enabling continuous operational readiness and greater reliability. Another Siemens innovation at the fair was the new CloudConnect products designed to enable data transmission from the field level to a variety of different cloud platforms.
Smart automation concepts forming the basis for digitalisation
“With our TIA portfolio, we are providing smart automation concepts which create the basis for digitalisation. At the same time, we are also integrating new technologies such as edge computing and artificial intelligence into the TIA ecosystem as the basis for the future of automation. Combining these with our current software environments opens up totally new ways to use production data and at the same time enables a significant increase in productivity,” said Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO, Factory Automation Business Unit. Siemens featured a use case in Hannover which is already in practice at the company’s Amberg factory. The integration of edge computing, AI and MindSphere has already proven invaluable for quality inspection of PCBs by X-ray equipment during the manufacture of Simatic products, allowing the number of final inspection processes to be drastically reduced. Product innovations also include a new generation of high-end industrial PCs incorporating 8th generation Intel processors. Also featured at the fair was an innovative drive and control concept developed by Siemens and Festo involving integration of the multi-carrier system into the Bosch Rexroth transfer system. This allows production processes in fields such as battery manufacture to be designed for greater flexibility and efficiency.
Solutions for digitalisation in machine building
“Digitalisation is the number one productivity driver for our machine building customers across the different industries. This applies both to classical machine tool and production machinery builders and users, and to machine buyers in the field of additive manufacturing. The range of possibilities offered by Siemens within the scope of its Digital Enterprise portfolio is enormous. It ranges from real time-based edge computing applications for data analysis and enhanced performance for complex machine tools through to comprehensive digitalisation of complete production lines and factories,” said Wolfgang Heuring, CEO, Motion Control Business Unit. Siemens displayed a number of new software solutions at the fair for cloud and edge computing designed to enable data analysis and ML, and to boost the performance of machine tools. Also featured at the fair was the integrated use of software and control technology for additive manufacturing in combination with machine tools and modern robotics. Digitalisation also has a central role to play in the field of drive technology. With its IoT digitalisation offering Sidrive IQ, Siemens presented apps and services designed to optimise drives by linking to MindSphere. Additional highlights included the G120X product family aimed at the water/wastewater, pump and fan industry, and the
new servo drive system Simatic Micro-Drive for the safety extra-low voltage range.
Integrated energy solutions for network operators and digital enterprises
Industrial enterprises need solutions which enable the economical use of self-generated energy, increased energy efficiency and the optimum support of automated digital production processes. “The digital transformation of industrial enterprises will only be possible with an adequately designed electrical infrastructure. This will not only enable a reliable power supply to buildings, plants and machines, it also delivers elementary data for the Industrial Internet of Things,” said Ralf Christian, CEO, Energy Management Division. At Hannover, Siemens showcased innovations for power grids alongside solutions for a smart and sustainable power supply to industrial and infrastructure facilities. Visitors to the booth experienced the integration of power distribution into digital automation environments using new, smart systems and tools – some of them with a direct link to MindSphere.