Today, manufacturers are facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses expect major disruptive changes to operations. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), up to 53% of industrial manufacturers are anticipating a change in operations due to the global pandemic . Protecting workers whose jobs cannot be carried out remotely is the top priority. Manufacturers can meet these challenges head-on with virtual simulation and industrial IoT capabilities.
The new normal
Siemens Tecnomatix recently published a detailed article and video on how virtual simulation can help manufacturers plan for social distancing with Siemens Plant Simulation models. Building on this work, the MindSphere team asked: How can this Plant Simulation model data be enriched with operational data from downstream processes? The answer is by using the MindSphere application Closed-Loop Discrete Events Simulation.
As a part of a larger solution, Closed-Loop Discrete Events Simulation helps businesses quickly ramp up digital twin capabilities. Users can leverage existing digital twin technologies – such as Siemens Tecnomatix Plant Simulation 15.1 – to improve predictive model accuracy with real-world data. To review the entire closed-loop product offering in more detail, head over to a previous post that outlines how and why the closed-loop applications can work for your business.
Accelerate the adjustment
MindSphere Closed-Loop Discrete Events Simulation enables users to create, manage and run digital twin simulations between physical assets and their virtual models. In addition, it seamlessly connects with Tecnomatix Plant Simulation. Tecnomatix Plant Simulation allows users to model their current environment and analyze when any two workers may come within a defined distance and then flag that intersection with a red circle. The system will identify where each of these violations occur and keep a running count of violations in any given time frame. You can then modify the model to add protective partitions between the workers.
The production simulation model establishes a connection between the virtual model and its corresponding shop floor production line. All simulation analytical tools in Closed-Loop Discrete Event Simulation become the diagnostic tool for that production line. Users can import a time-slotted data file within a few minutes into the model. In turn, they can run the simulation with real-machine data and behavior.
Moreover, users can then replay the live production, check for bottlenecks and perform energy analysis. They can perform what-if analysis using social distancing guidelines. They can evaluate different scenarios that played out to understand how the process parameters helped or impeded workers. This application brings a discrete events simulation model of a production line to life by using real plant floor data.
Follow along with more in-depth explanations of each closed-loop application in our series highlighting these new capabilities. Or to find out more, get in touch with one of our Siemens MindSphere experts.
 National Association of Manufacturers, “Economic and Operational Impacts of COVID-19 to Manufacturers,” March 2020. https://www.nam.org/coronasurvey/