Presentation Highlights: One Step to Manufacturing Excellence: Tecnomatix Plant Simulation

By Stephanie Aldrete

“One Step to Manufacturing Excellence,” was originally presented at Siemens PLM Connections Europe 2014 by Ronald Lange, Siemens Manufacturing Karlsruhe. Mr. Lange explains the details of Siemens MF-K’s pilot projects to test Tecnomatix Plant Simulation software and how they measured success for implementing a plant simulation process sustainably.

Want to learn more? You can review highlights of the presentation below. The complete presenation is attached.

The Siemens Industrial Park Karlsruhe is one of the biggest Siemens locations worldwide with an area of 284.000 m². Manufacturing Karlsruhe (MF-K) is the largest entity within the Siemens Industrial Park with an area of~37.000 m². There are four large production units forming the core of Manufacturing Karlsruhe: 1) Industrial PCs, 2) Boards and PLCs, 3) Plastic and metal components and 4) software and documentation.

Siemens vison: “We inspire through 100 percent delivery performance, 100 percent free of wastage, and 100 percent quality.

Together with strong support functions, MF-K is optimally equipped to master the challenges of complexity given the 24,000 different products, 16,000 different components, and 750 vendors. For a complex business you need a simple vision.

To achieve Manufacturing Excellence and to control complexity, the MF-K team is working systematically on the continuous improvement in many action fields including, IST Analyze, Zero Harm Culture, Lead-Factory, Design to Customer, Smart Factory, Plant Simulation, Logistics Planning, among others.

Siemens’ first experience with Plant Simulation achieved results on existing production lines at other factories — such as optimized line-balancing, optimized material buffer between workplaces, ooptimization of resources based on new forecast, mminimal but targeted investment in new equipment, and re-organization of production line with only short downtimes.

Results were also achieved on non-existing production lines including savings in un-needed multiple physical build ups; optimization of needed manufacturing, optimization of resources defined, optimization of space for new production line defined, and optimization of material buffer defined.

But, after using Plant Simulation for five years at one factory, they stopped. What went wrong? There are three probable reasons for getting Plant Simulation not sustainably implemented.

  1. Fragmentation of responsibility.

  2. Lack of involvement of people from the shop floor.

  3. No use of Plant Simulation in a daily business.

Learning from Past Experience

MF-K decided to learn from the experiences of the other factory by training its own employees to get familiar with Plant Simulation. Siemens started by involving shop floor employees (by defining projects where the input of the shop floor is important and the output of simulation is helping the shop floor to improve their own processes) and integrating Plant Simulation on a daily basis.

MF-K’s start with Plant Simulation

To kick start the implementation of Plant Simulation at MF-K facilities, Siemens selected the appropriate people responsible for Plant Simulation, selected a challenging training project (not too complex), chose Selective Soldering (for training and getting familiar with Plant Simulation), and selected two pilot projects that can be integrated on a daily basis.

Training Project: Selective soldering

Results of simulating selective soldering at MF-K IPC (Industrial PC production)


  • Speed optimization of the internal transport belts (they were different)

  • Optimization of balancing between soldering (adjustment of soldering programs)

  • Definition of practicable combinations of pcba types soldered at the same time (reorganization of production program)

Achieved results

  • Increase of production quantity by 21%

  • Learned more about processes

  • Developed ideas for further improvements

Pilot project 1: Universal U-Cell

The goal of the project: Improvement of work methods and balancing in U-Cells

With the U-Cell project Siemens developed a fantastic tool to realize significant support in designing and improving of U-Cell workstations at MF-K.


Results of simulating U-Cells at MF-K


  • Development of a variable simulation model for different kinds of U-Cell workstations

  • Intensive testing of the application under real workshop conditions

  • Integration into the two-step method of U-Cell workshops

Achieved results

  • Simple detection of unfavorable balancing

  • Simple detection of waiting times

  • Easy definition of standard work processes

  • Visualization of improvement

  • Significant reduction of workload in designing and improving U-Cells

  • Involvement of the shop floor and frequent use guaranteed

  • Mastering complexity

Pilot project 2: Visualization of a complete production segment

Siemens realized that controlling a complete production segment is much easier with Plant Simulation. Results of simulating a production segment:


  • Creation of a detailed visualization with interfaces to the fixed production program and capacity planning

  • Training in Interpretation of the simulation results

  • Definition of a daily procedure to use Plant Simulation as support in controlling

Achieved results

  • Detection of “overstocking” in the supermarket

  • Detection of bottleneck work centers

  • Visualization of workload for work places and personnel

  • The Implementation of suitable measures to fulfill the production program is now taking place at an early stage

  • Involvement of the shop floor and daily use guaranteed


Measurements for implementing Plant Simulation sustainably

  • Use experiences from others

  • Hold responsibility for Plant Simulation in your own hand

  • Select and train the right people

  • Take your time for getting familiar with Plant Simulation

  • Involve people of the shop floor in working with Plant Simulation

  • Find solutions to integrate Plant Simulation in the daily business

  • The MF-K team will go on with Plant Simulation.


Have you heard about Siemens’ new tablet app Manufacturing 360Download it from the

Apple app store now. The Android version is available on Google Play.

Manufacturing 360 lets you experience digital manufacturing in an interactive factory environment. 

To learn more about Tecnomatix Plant Simulation, visit our website.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at