For the past few years, Siemens has released a new version of NX every six months. On Tuesday, June 22nd, 2022, they announced the capabilities of the 2022 summer release. Lifecycle Insights’ analysts Arvind Krishnan and Chad Jackson share their takeaways from the new release.

NX’s Growing Support for Collaboration between Mechanical and Electronic Engineers

One area of new capabilities is the improved collaboration between engineers designing board systems and the engineers designing enclosures. Synchronizing definitions between the two enables more simulation of the board as a whole, opening up a streamlined bath to electronics cooling, excitation analyses, and more.

Siemens NX’s summer release brings home the theme of better digital continuity across different roles in the product development process. Tighter integration of the various solutions with NX facilitates the seamless design data transfer between the various stakeholders in the product development process. The story starts with design. 

Companies are creating products that are growing in #electromechanical complexity. These products have electronics embedded inside them. PCB designers use solutions like Siemens Xpedition to design their complex boards. But mechanical engineers must ultimately integrate these boards inside their products. A seamless connection between NX and Xpedition enables mechanical engineers to visualize and incorporate changes in the board design and see the impact of these changes inside NX. One effect is in the cooling of electronics.

When electronics engineers add new electronics which have higher power requirements, there is a pressing need to manage the thermal aspects. The electronics design impacts mechanical design. Mechanical engineers may need more cooling vents or fans to improve electronics cooling and heat evacuation. FlowEFD inside NX enables engineers to design, compare, and validate cooling strategies for their electromechanical design. Engineers can easily compare alternate designs and pick the right one. Mechanical engineers can scientifically design their housing structures and study their thermal effects within NX.

That is not all. The new functionalities within NX extend the digital continuity well beyond design into procurement and manufacturing. We will cover these exciting topics in a series of future posts.

NX’s Expanded Capabilities for Mold Sourcing and Production

Another area of improved capabilities lies in the sourcing, automated design, printing, and machining of plastic injection molds. But just as importantly, there are deep connections that bridge traditional gaps in the mold development process.

Siemens PLM Software‘s NX summer release delivers broad and deep functionality. But capabilities around digital continuity and seamless transitions may actually be the more important takeaway.

The last two years have not been kind to mold makers. Their businesses have been disrupted, just like everyone else’s. However, they tend to be smaller companies with fewer resources to survive. Many have been forced to skinny down to a skeleton crew. Therefore, productivity is a premium for the design and development of molds.

In that light, there’s a lot to like in the summer release of NX. It provides capabilities for many different roles and activities to support mold makers. Most of these capabilities can reasonably be conceived as best-in-class, as they offer deep, broad, and even unique functionality. Some of the highlights include:

– Support for the request-for-quote process between OEMs and suppliers.
– Automation in the development of mold components and assemblies.
– Printing and machining complex mold cavities and cores.

Now, that’s important. But there are more important capability delivered in this release that might be easy to miss: digital continuity and seamless transitions. This release of NX provides support for each activity at its beginning and end. Each has tight, meaningful connections to the next activity. Handoffs are automated and preserve digital definitions, eliminating rework, redesign, and scrap. And given the need for productivity in mold makers, digital continuity and seamless transitions may be just as important, or maybe more important, than those deep, broad, and unique capabilities that support individual activities.

Siemens’ Continued Investment in Digital Threads

An overarching theme for the release is a continued investment in digital threads, or digital business processes, that allow for seamless transitions and better digital continuity. Supporting more and more digital threads has been an explicit, public goal for the company. And the summer release of NX shows that Siemens is following through.

Siemens has been talking about supporting the digital thread across its products. This new release of Siemens PLM Software‘s NX demonstrates the company’s steps to seamlessly connect the entire product development process in a digital thread. 

Undoubtedly, specific point solutions like Siemens NX provide improved functionalities to support the roles that depend on these solutions to do their job. These NX users want to achieve greater productivity and improve their design experience. This expectation is consistent with Lifecycle Insights 2021 CAD Productivity Study. The new release of NX carries many functionalities that satisfy this need. 

But the new release of NX is not about delivering a disconnected best-in-class CAD solution to the market. The latest release connects with other solutions in a meaningful way. A case in point is the connection between NX and NX Mold Connect, which Chad Jackson covered in his recent post on the NX summer release. This feature allows design engineers to collaborate with suppliers early in the design cycle to ensure that the plastic components are manufacturable and get a reasonable cost estimate. Siemens NX provides seamless transitions between different roles within and even between organizations. This fluid transition between the various participants in the product development process is enabled by ensuring digital continuity and seamless transition between the various tools. And this is all about maintaining the digital thread throughout product development.

Lifecycle Insights conducts research and publishes guidance for engineering executives. Follow us for more on digital transformation in product development.