What is advanced machine engineering? (IMD article)

In a recently published article in Industrial Machinery Digest, Bill Davis, Solution Director of the Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment Industry for Siemens Digital Industries Software, discusses the rapid advancement of innovative technologies driving companies to address the challenges and trends facing machinery manufacturers.

Bill Davis
Bill Davis, Director of Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment Solutions at Siemens Digital Industries Software

Supporting machinery trends

These trends include consumer-driven customization, smart machines and hyper-automation. In response to these trends, there is a significant focus on ensuring the development of next-generation machines by the collaboration of multiple disciplines necessary to produce advanced machines.

Also, virtual design and commissioning assist in ramp-up production, resulting in better upfront validation, shorter commissioning times and more immediate productivity. Therefore, advanced capabilities are available to manage the entire bill of materials, including its many options and variants for advanced machine builder support throughout the product life – engineering design through manufacturing and service life.

Providing advanced machine engineering differentiators

Advanced machine engineering solutions address the challenges and trends confronting the machinery industry. These include multi-discipline design, virtual machine simulation and commissioning and multi-disciplinary BOM configuration management.

These essential differentiators are positively impacting the machinery industry. For example, multi-disciplinary design incorporates the complexities of creating a machine that includes both the design and manufacturing.

Virtual machine simulation and commissioning validate the virtual world’s software code before physically operating on the factory floor. This PLC software validates in a managed environment with a fully modular product development strategy, providing machine builders with upfront simulation, linking the software to the modules. This is a groundbreaking achievement in this competitive space.

Lastly, a multi-disciplinary BOM (bill of materials) and configuration management provide manufacturers with the ability to respond to customization demands – pervasive in modern, configured-to-order machines. Subsequently, builders need to track the diverse options and variants for integrating customers’ requirements and project and change management, while managing the BOM throughout the product life.

Smarter machines require smart software

Advanced software is mandatory for manufacturers to address increasing competitive globalization, shrinking margins, rapidly expanding customization, environmental and government regulations and Industry 4.0 initiatives. So, machines must be smarter.

Machine design innovation in the operation and development process is a core requirement. To be exceptional requires quality and innovation in the automation code, which provides intuitive user interfaces, ease of use and new hardware capabilities. It uses software algorithms to help machines move faster, more safely, with less physical stress on components.

It’s also essential to test that code in a virtual world, running it through all use cases before loading it on a physical machine. Therefore, all machines released to the customer come with binaries representing the compiled machine operation and user interface code.

Additionally, each software variant must be traceable and retrievable via the serial number for the machine bill of materials. A machine’s life needs traceable records of all upgrades in hardware and software representing the machines’ living digital twin.

Siemens Digital Industries Software drives the transformation to enable a digital enterprise where engineering, manufacturing and electronics design meet tomorrow.

Xcelerator, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software, helps companies of all sizes create and leverage a complete digital twin that provides organizations with new insights, opportunities and automation levels to drive innovation.

Learn more from Bill Davis about advanced machine engineering.

About the expert
Bill Davis is the Solution Director of Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment Industry for Siemens Digital Industries Software. His experience and insights have been acquired from a career spanning 30 years in engineering and operations management with machinery and heavy equipment companies.  Bill holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Marquette University, with a concentration in Operations Management and Strategic Marketing, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/thought-leadership/2020/09/17/published-article-what-is-advanced-machine-engineering/