Last week I was lucky to attend the Siemens Innovation Day USA held in Princeton, NJ. It was an intimate event with 40 or so technology analysts, financial analysts, and journalists; headlined by an impressive set of Siemens executives, including Judy Marks, CEO Siemens North America; Roland Busch, CTO and Board Member Siemens AG; Tony Hemmelgarn, President and CEO Siemens PLM Software; and many others.
Siemens goals for the event were clear and accomplished by the end of the day: to demonstrate the company’s focus on delivering innovative technologies and its commitment to the US economy. Regarding Siemens’ US presence, a few interesting and impressive tidbits I learned at the event:
- Siemens is a net USA exporter
- Employs 50,000 in the U.S.
- Invested $10B in US software companies over past 10 years
On the innovation front, it was clear Siemens continues to ramp up its appetite to develop and launch innovative technologies, as well as ensure the market is aware of its leadership position in the space. The six areas of focus at the event included:
- MindSphere open IoT operating system
- Additive manufacturing
- Artificial intelligence
- Digital Transformation and high-fidelity Digital Twin
I was particularly interested in the live demonstration of autonomous assets and operations. Siemens envisions a future where machines are not programmed and material flow is not centrally coordinated; rather outcomes are specified and production is dynamic. Although this is still years away (but not a decade according to Siemens technologists), it is bringing to life the LNS Research vision for Smart Connected Assets and Operations.
LNS Research is impressed with Siemens’ progress and its ability quickly deliver to market an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform like MindSphere. However, to provide real value to customers, the test is still ahead of the company to deliver on asset context, true openness across connected device manufacturers, and flexible, lightweight applications – no easy task.
iBASEt Excelerate 2017 Puts Digital Thread into Action
iBASEt was kind enough to invite LNS Research Principal Analyst, Andrew Hughes to their 2017 Excelerate conference in sunny and beautiful Dana Point, California. Since the last Excelerate in fall 2015, our first impression today is one of a much more mature company and confidence in following the chosen path for growth: Digital Thread in Aerospace and Defense (A&D).
Concentrating on What You Know: A&D
In previous years, iBASEt had put considerable emphasis on the suitability of Solumina, its Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solution, for a number of complex discrete vertical markets. While LNS Research believes in MOM diversity, it is never quite as easy to move into new markets as some would suggest. This year, the emphasis was firmly on A&D and with its expertise and acceptance in the industry, the opportunity to expand within the industry is clear. The approach has been to broaden the offerings and provide integration capabilities from design to service. iBASEt markets this as Digital Thread, linking design, through process design to manufacturing and finally Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO), all served by integrated quality.
Most A&D companies use advanced PLM systems to develop their products. One output is an Engineering Bill of Materials (eBOM) that needs to be converted into a Manufacturing Bill of Materials (mBOM) for use by the MES system and business systems, such as MRP and purchasing. iBASEt uses its Digital Thread to digitally link the BOMs and all other data required to manufacture the product. It provides a complete view of the product from concept to in-service support. The iBASEt model puts Solumina in the center with PLM on one side and ERP on the other. The bus allows full data transfer between the various systems, and it provides pre-defined interfaces for most of the popular PLM and ERP systems.
In summary, this was an excellent conference that clearly positions iBASEt at the forefront of large A&D MES projects. Many of the major defense industry suppliers were present, often with substantial teams, and eight of them delivered presentations about their projects. Two of those had just gone live in the last few weeks. We commend them on making the decision to present before go-live data! That shows confidence.