Top 10 digital factories: Siemens
“More flexible production, greate...
After ranking in our Top 10 digital factories, we look at the value of digitalisation for industrial organisations.
“More flexible production, greater productivity, and the development of new business models are all possible today thanks to digital solutions,” states Siemens, with the future offering even more potential, as organisations adopt the likes of edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, automation, industrial 5G and additive manufacturing, allowing organisations to “tap into the full potential of Industry 4.0 and get ready for the next level of their digital transformation journey.”
Becoming a digital enterprise
To help enable organisations to make the most of the opportunities digitalisation offers, Siemens has developed a holistic portfolio of software and automation solutions to support discrete and process manufacturing industries to become faster, more flexible and more efficient.
Digitalising the entire value chain
Siemens’ holistic portfolio - known as The Digital Enterprise - has been developed to enable industrial organisations to integrate and digitalise their business processes.
The portfolio comprises solutions for product design, production planning and processing, plant design, production engineering, and engineering and commissioning.
In addition to these solutions, the portfolio includes automation, production or operation and services, as well as the capability to integrate suppliers and logistics. “Companies can start with digitalisation at any step of their value chain, for greenfield and brownfield plants, and based on standardised and open interfaces,” comments Siemens.
Harnessing digital twins
Whether it's developing a new product, planning a new plant or production, digital twins harness the capabilities of physics based simulations and data analytics to create new insights in a fully virtual environment.
“This makes it possible to realise innovations faster and more reliably, while also requiring significantly fewer real prototypes,” states Siemens.
With these tools even more data is created during the production phase or when a plant begins its operations. “This performance data of the real production and of the real product can be collected, analysed, and fed back into development to improve and optimise new products and processes at an early stage.”
The potential of industry 4.0
To help its customers leverage the potential of industry 4.0, Siemens offers a portfolio of scalable solutions which companies in discrete and process manufacturing can invest in to become completely and comprehensively digitalised across the entire value chain.
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Image source: Siemens
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.