Thought Leadership

Building a smart factory – modern software in digital manufacturing

By Blake Snodgrass

In the manufacturing industry, there is a customer demand to reduce downtime and increase throughput. A company needs someone to help them deliver the proper foundation through a smart grid, electrical distribution, building automation, security and fire safety. With this underpinning, a business can create a future factory. Siemens combines the physical and virtual world using data to address the needs for connection and provides awareness across processes, partners, products and people.  

A smart factory perfectly collaborates with people, technology and IT. A company needs to get its product out the door faster while analyzing energy usage and ensuring employees are safe and efficient. The manufacturing industry is implementing technologies to address customer demands, to raise productivity, and do it all cost-effectively.

Learn more about smart factories.

Constructing a smart factor

Design CC provides the technology backbone for smart building infrastructure, providing an open, robust, up-to-date platform that increases comfort, efficiency, resilience, and safety. It’s a scalable, open enterprise software platform for data integration that offers visibility to the company and the user. It connects building systems through open protocols, APIs, web services and custom integrations, achieving positive business outcomes. This technology provides the architecture to meet KPIs: operational efficiency, energy efficiency and employee safety via a connection of data-driven technology to achieve chosen use cases.

Also, Fault Detection Diagnostics (FDD), a cloud-based building analytics tool, utilizes machine learning to provide predictive maintenance to maximize factory uptime. Lastly, an integrated digital twin solution provides digital twins of a company’s buildings and assets via multi-dimensional visualization for intelligent analysis and refining facility best practices.

Learn more about Design CC.

Achieving a smart factory with Industrial Edge technology

A smart factory needs smart tools. Siemens Industrial Edge is an open, ready-to-use Edge computing platform that includes devices, apps, connectivity and an application and device management infrastructure. With edge computing, data is processed where it’s generated: production machines, machine tools, processes and plants. As a result, data is practical, using it to optimize workflows, save resources and improve quality. Also, Industrial Edge provides cloud computing as necessary – like greater computing power, more storage and remote access, with total control over data.

However, not all machines are smart and communicate data. For example, sensors can be built-in if it’s a brand-new machine. Also, Valor-built boxes can plug into machines for PCB. However, any machine would not be straightforward, thus the need for smart machines. Someday everything will be OT with everything smart, but it’s not there yet.

Therefore, Industrial Edge assists a company’s IT infrastructure with convenient data storage and transmission because not all the data is processed through an IT network but generated locally. It lets you maintain complete control over your data. With Industrial Edge, you decide which data is processed locally and which is optionally transferred to a cloud for further processing.

Learn more about Siemens Industrial Edge.

Future smart factories

Someday in the future, all factories will be smart. However, until then, factories are grasping the need for a smart factory. In a smart manufacturing environment, every machine on the floor is smart and serves up information with every other machine, regardless of brand, type or age. Eventually, IT will not be necessary because all machines will be smart. In a typical smart environment, machines will deliver data to other machines, receive that information, and look at it holistically, so there is data from many different vendors with various data schemes to analyze.

Learn more about future smart factories.

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 levels of automation to drive innovation.

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.

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