Thought Leadership

Published article: Machinery benefits of multi-disciplinary design

By Bill Butcher

How are you improving your machines in industrial manufacturing? Are you taking advantage of the many benefits of advanced machine engineering?

In a recently published article in AP Manufacturing Equipment News, Alex Teo, Vice President and Managing Director of South East Asia at Siemens Digital Industries Software, discusses how today’s machines have become marvelously sophisticated. Therefore, building a machine can be an arduous process. Subsequently, the software is crucial to melding the schematics and the electrical into the overall design.

A multi-disciplinary design approach is essential for optimum efficiency to integrate all engineering disciplines to ensure a design is on-time, cost-effective and commissioned.

Traditionally, most machine manufacturers focus on computer-aided design (CAD) and parts manufacturing within tolerance for everything to function mechanically within the machine’s structural arrangement and assembly, focusing on the drawings. The electrical and controls begin after the electrical devices and motors are selected by the mechanical design team. Often the electrical team is still ordering parts while the machine is being wired. This scenario may seem extreme; however, since electrical parts are procured as commercial stock components, it’s still feasible.

Software is changing industrial machinery

However, the industrial machinery paradigm is undergoing a significant evolution. Today’s machines are no longer just a mechanical piece of equipment, with the electrical design and software development in their separate silos. In the past decade, the electrical motors and rotary equipment to move camshaft gears are now driven by software and PLC codes, thus accelerating performance-based programs. This software is adaptable to conditions on the factory floor, enabling the machine to react to real-time sensor readings.

So, the machine design process is dynamically changing. Once a machine design is complete, the next step is to validate that it will operate as intended in response to its software code. This process performs through virtual machine simulation and commissioning, byusing a comprehensive digital twin of the machine to prove or validate the machine’s software code in the virtual world before physically operating on the factory floor.

Therefore, the machine’s behavior is driven by software, which is why simulating the code running on a digital twin of the machine generates substantial dividends in time and resources. With virtual commissioning, the PLC software validates in a managed environment with a fully modular product development strategy. Now machine builders can have the simulation upfront and link the software to the modules. This set up is a groundbreaking achievement for companies to be competitive in this space.

Moreover, virtual simulation promote physical safety. If a machine collides in the virtual world, it is substantially safer and less costly to fix than a physical machine. Virtual commissioning drives the behavior of the motors, integrating them into the kinematics. This aspect is powerful because a machine mechanism might move faster than expected, leading to an actual impact load more significant than anticipated. Replicating the kinematics in virtual commissioning uncovers potential hazards leading to a swift resolution.

Siemens is driving change

Siemens Digital Industries Software is driving 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 comprehensive digital twin that provides organizations with new insights, opportunities and automation levels to drive innovation.

Learn more about the benefits of multi-disciplinary design in Alex Teo’s article.

Also, for more information on Siemens Digital Industries Software products and services, visit or follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Siemens Digital Industries Software – Where today meets tomorrow.

About the author
Alex Teo
is Vice President & Managing Director of South East Asia at Siemens Digital Industries Software. He makes digitalization a priority for senior business leaders to help create new business models and outcomes to engage the digital disruption in this rapid-changing world, thus formulating the adoption strategy to reap the right ROI from the digital transformation.

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