Additive manufacturing could bring major disruptions to processes for product design, analysis, manufacturing and distribution that have been in place for years or even decades. It’s a disruptive technology, and its impact on business brings new worries every day to business managers and CEOs.
But rather than fearing the implications of this technology, companies should embrace it and use it to catalyze innovation. That innovation could do a lot of things, including give a little girl with severe strength and motion problems an exoskeleton to help her move more easily. It may change processes, but it also has the potential to transform people’s lives.
In this additive manufacturing series, Andreas Saar has discussed the impact this manufacturing process is already having and its potential future impact. In part one, he explored different companies in different industries experimenting with the products additive manufacturing can create. In part two, he explained how and why companies should pay attention to this manufacturing process. Here, he discusses what this additive manufacturing boon means for Siemens PLM and its business.
How additive manufacturing impacts Siemens PLM
Now that we’ve looked at how companies and industries have been experimenting with additive manufacturing, we should ask what this manufacturing process means for Siemens PLM. How will it impact our business? Why should I care about this? How will this affect me?
The answer is clear, and it’s important to understand it. Additive manufacturing strikes right in the heart of our business. It impacts the very core of what we are doing and the reason why we’re here: to provide our customers world-class technology so they can develop and build competitive products.
Additive manufacturing doesn’t work miracles by itself. It needs applications, features and functions to support it. This process impacts our entire product portfolio and our entire product lifecycle. This includes design (CAD), engineering (CAE), manufacturing (CAM) and manufacturing operations management, or MOM (Teamcenter and manufacturing execution system, or MES).
This is the main reason why we, a company that provides product lifecycle technology, must absorb and understand that additive manufacturing will impact our technology and product lines in the same profound way it will impact our customers.
It will impact all product lines, including NX, Teamcenter, Tecnomatix, MOM and MES.
We need to design tools for facetted and hybrid modeling. These tools need to be able to design lattice structures and technology dealing with multiple materials.
In manufacturing, we need to think about adding material instead of subtracting material.
In CAE, we have to analyze not only the final part design, but also the process of adding material layer by layer in respect to thermal and structural behavior.
Printers will be standard production equipment in a few years, and they’ll need to be managed alongside traditional equipment. Processes must be automated and jobs need to be executed on these 3D printers.
All of this will affect the core of the Siemens PLM business and most technology we develop today.
What is Siemens PLM is working on for additive manufacturing?
There are many significant developments Siemens PLM is working on today. We understand what product lifecycle means, so we can leverage this functionality.
Our core differentiators play well into the additive manufacturing space. Associativity between design, manufacturing and CAE is becoming extremely important in the relationship between CAE and CAM. Our CAE technology will be a main differentiator in the end to end process, and the experience we gained in hybrid manufacturing projects helps us understand the printing process.
Leveraging our Teamcenter dominance in the market, we can provide a managed environment for additive manufacturing. And with the integration of the shop floor by means of our MOM and MES tools, we will lead the way from prototyping to real production.
I truly believe in the innovation potential of this disruptive technology. Siemens PLM customers will use this technology to create better products faster and more cheaply. Companies will have to innovate to stay competitive. Additive manufacturing has this enormous potential to help companies innovate, differentiate and stay competitive.
The research funds invested into additive manufacturing will substantially accelerate and mature this process. This research will help the additive process evolve and become more easily repeatable.
The focus is now on real industrial use of additive manufacturing. Some people believe additive production will soon outnumber traditional machining – these are the people driving this change.
I want everyone to get as excited and as passionate as I am and get involved with this technology. It will impact our future and your future. This technology will link to what we do, to our products and technology. Additive manufacturing will affect PLM – and we’ll be on the forefront of successfully creating solutions for that.
This concludes our introduction to additive manufacturing. Stay tuned for more.
Tell us: What benefits would your company see if it incorporated additive manufacturing?
About the author
Andreas Saar is vice president of manufacturing engineering software for Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division. He and his team are responsible for developing applications and solutions, primarily on the NX platform, to deliver world-class software for part manufacturing, manufacturing planning of single and mass product production, machine tool simulation and shop floor data management. Andreas has been with Siemens PLM Software since 1984, holding a number of positions in product development, product management, technical support and sales. Andreas has been in the manufacturing software business for more than 28 years. He received his diploma in mechanical engineering and business from The Technical University of Darmstadt/Germany (TUD) in 1982. He is currently based in Siemens PLM Software’s Cypress, California office.