MT Magazine January/February 2024




replicate what’s working well. And digital manufacturing is key. But what is it? Batra: “The integration and digitization of design of products and the digitization of the design of manufacturing processes.” It’s a “convergence of digital and physical technologies.” It’s something that, well, sort of sounds familiar to those who have been involved in manufacturing since the 1980s. Then and Now Once, the hot acronym was CAD/CAM/CAE: computer-aided design, manufacturing, and engineering. Batra notes: “Eighty percent of manufacturing costs are predetermined in the design phase,” so the idea was to “design for production.” So, while CAD/CAM/CAE would address that, “the tools weren’t there to do it.” He explains, for example, that while CAD and CAE allowed for the development of part models of geometry and physical properties, these were essentially static models. How the part would perform in the physical world wasn’t something that was provided. What’s more (or less) is that there was a tendency back then, due to a separation of the strong domains of the CIO team and the manufacturing organization, to have manufacturing take the product design and try to determine how to manufacture it. All of this was time-consuming, not particularly efficient, and most particularly expensive. A key aspect that was missing is true integration between design, manufacturing, and engineering, as well as the ability to simulate all aspects – from the characteristics and function of the part (what if it is an alloy that was then reconfigured to be produced with carbon fiber?) to its operation on the factory floor (how many robots are necessary for material handling given the operational characteristics of the automation?). Why is digital manufacturing important? Because it allows you to perfect things, prove things out, and get high reliability before you do it in a physical environment. Raj Batra President – Digital Industries, Siemens USA

Few companies (Corning, GE...?) have lasted as long as Siemens. And few have the kind of relevance that Siemens has, with its focus on industry, infrastructure, transport, and health care, all predicated on digitization and decarbonization. Not only are those two pillars – digitization and decarbonization – things that its products, software, and systems help its customers achieve, but they are key elements throughout Siemens’ various lines of business. Actual Advantage Consider this: In Nanjing, China, Siemens had three production sites for its R&D, production, storage, and logistics for its CNC business of building controllers, motors, and drives. It recently consolidated all three sites into a single “lean and green digital native factory.” The greenness takes the form of annual energy savings of 5,000,000 kWh of energy, 3,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide, and the reduction of 6,000 cubic meters of water use. Its leanness is evident in a 20% increase in productivity. And the factory was first “built” as a digital twin, which helped make these achievements possible. What’s interesting about Siemens is that it not only provides the tools that its customers use for digital manufacturing but also employs those same tools in its own product and process development and, importantly, execution. As Raj Batra, president of Digital Industries for Siemens USA, puts it: “We’re one of the biggest manufacturers in our own right, so we feel all the pain that our customers feel.” He points out they have manufacturing operations that are in need of modernization and digitalization; they have manufacturing operations that have quality rates of 99.9%, a DPM of 10 or 11, and the ability to handle hundreds of product variations a day. So, they are working to change what they need to and

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