“The wall between design and manufacturing has fallen”, declares in an exclusive conversation for Forbes Spain, the global CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software, Tony Hemmelgarn. Although it may be early, his words represent a complete disruption of the dynamics that have characterized the industry from the Manchester workshops from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day. Was this the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The technology trend will drive much of the most value-added innovation in the coming years the confluence of the virtual and physical world with real-time data. It means that the intellectual and physical processes of the process around a product are integrated into one, design and manufacturing will no longer be conceptual. different times.
The vision of what the technology can do is so amazing that when the recent edition of the Munich trade fair Automatica asked some managers to put together their forecast for the year 2030, things like this were heard: “instead of serial production stations, production will consist of a network of semi-autonomous cells flexibly connected to each other, for example, through driverless transport systems” (Jörg Reger, ABB); “From now on, it will only be done in order; the product itself hit its properties and the necessary steps for their elaboration” (Martin Ruskowski, DFKI); or “we are heading towards completely self-orchestrating factories” (Axel Lorenz, Siemens).
Put to change the whole model, it should not be surprising that the first use of the term “Industrial Metaverse” It was Danny Lange, vice president of artificial intelligence at Unity, the company whose graphics engine is used to generate 60% of the world’s virtual reality solution content, and former head of the company. machine learning from Uber. His thesis at IoT World Silicon Valley is that it is much safer and more sustainable to use virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) in industry, as well as synthetic data, “since you don’t need anything to creation.” With virtual robots one can expect whether and to what extent it will be necessary to… incorporate real robots into a production line.
In the middle of a yacht being built
In this way is the recent agreement between Siemens and the giant of graphic processing units and integrated circuits Nvidia, which developed its own platform in the metric, Omniverse. To understand what they are thinking, Tony Hemmelgarn an invitation to put the client in the middle of a yacht being built. You can walk around its interior thanks to the hyper-realistic images. “I can have people attached designing the structural part of the yacht, working on the furniture, working on the deck, and I can have images of the yacht sitting in the ocean, with its bottom, everything moving,” a explains Hemmelgarn.
When the information comes in real time, it will no longer be relevant if the companies designing/manufacturing the ship are in the same physical space.. For visual perception purposes, it is like that for the client, and you can give them instructions so that they adapt their activity to their tastes. The client is the place. “What we see now with Omniverse is that you can be embedded inside the product, inside the factory, I can think in a different way”, explains the global CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software.
The Spanish company BigML, the Spanish company BigML, the considered father of the Netherlands, has just come from a summer school organized by Mercedes Benz in the Netherlands. machine learningTom Dieterrich, who explains to me that he is very impressed the evolution of the process of taking a car off the line for engineers to analyze a potential fault. The IS feedback which they provide integrated in real time throughout the organization, “closing the cycle between the routine detection of a small problem and the production seen as a whole, which is a much bigger concept”. By managing the data it is possible to analyze the causes and the measures that may be needed immediately, and to make changes to the global supply chain.
How to access? the digital twin
To access the selected club the smart manufacturing it requires a high level of digitization, including full familiarity with digital twins. A qualitative leap is also being prepared in this area. The first major difference with previous stages, according to Hemmelgarn, is “the central nature of today’s twins”. It is no longer possible to conceive without taking into account all the components that will eventually make up the product, from design to the end of the assembly line, be it mechanics, software or electronics.
Second, companies will be able to adopt “the digital twin that controls the dynamics of computing, the flowand put it on a device at the hardware edge”, that is, in the distributed processing system close to the manufacturing machinery, “so that this digital twin will also move the operation. That’s an automatic collaboration, because not only is the design and manufacturing controlled by the software, but the software is also the model driving the operation of the devices at the Edge.”
We look at the decisive convergence of IT (information) and OT (operations), two areas of companies are likely to act as one like oil and water in a glass of water. The digital twin therefore “goes to another level that is much longer than what we have been talking about for the past 20 years, it is a different discussion,” according to the manager.
The boom in distributed manufacturing
One of the consequences of this new situation the development of distributed manufacturing, close to the consumer, on a scale previously unknown. A sobering thought in times of supply chain crisis, on “counter-balancing” in the terminology of global logistics giant DHL.
“Most of the companies have designed their factories for years in the following way: I build a large plant, grow it, produce many products and send them around the world by sea.. The problem with that is that most of the CO2 and carbon footprint is in the supply chain, so it is becoming more complicated to reduce”, says Tony Hemmelgarn to Forbes of Spain.
“What we tell him is: I’m going to help you in the automation of the factory and the layout (plant layout) and I will guarantee that I can move quickly so that you can produce locally for your customer, a day away from them, instead of shipping worldwide“, continue.
In that new equation, “the key is automating flexibility, being able to work in smaller, more adaptable and flexible environments depending on available resources, taking into account the location“. As if it were the reverse of the coin, now it’s not so much a question of software, but “if I can do it, produce it and take it to a place”, that is, the way the machinery is . designed and organized. . As an inhabitant of both worlds, software and hardware, Hemmelgarn says Siemens is “in a unique position.”
“What has changed everything in the last three years is covid“, continue. Let’s imagine a company that discovers that part of its process can be done with 3D printing. Why didn’t you see it when you designed it and why didn’t you design it when you did it? You should look on the process now as a unit.
“If a customer says to me: ‘I wish I could print certain parts of a product instead of traditional manufacturing,’ my answer is: wait a minute, you didn’t want to print the parts when you designed them at the time passed by , why do you think about it now? You have software to design the shape of that part, creating crazy visual solutions. In the past you would have said: I can’t do that easily, now I can print it. What we will tell you now is: if all you can do is print parts designed in the traditional way, you are missing something. You have to think about redesigning those parts the same way you would manufacturing in the past and the same can be applied to all other techniques.“. The Fourth Industrial Revolution.