HxGN LIVE Global 2022 kicked off on June 20th in Las Vegas, NV. Our Senior Analyst, Arvind Krishnan attended the event. At the event, Ola Rollen, CEO of Hexagon AB, shared his vision for the future. The following are the takeaways and observations that Arvind had throughout the event. Manufacturing companies are looking to implement sustainable technologies and processes that help reduce CO2 emissions.

How can manufacturing companies reduce their carbon emissions?

Several digital technologies can help manufacturing companies reduce their emissions. Companies can simulate their manufacturing process and optimize it to consume the lowest energy. Digital simulation of the manufacturing process also allows companies to reduce waste and get their production process right the very first time.

Manufacturing companies are looking to implement sustainable technologies and processes that help reduce CO2 emissions. 
Hexagon AB‘s CEO, Ola Rollen, in his #hxgnliveglobal 2022 keynote, talked about the importance of reducing wastage and developing a mindset of getting things right the first time. For manufacturing companies, digital technologies are critical enablers in their mission to reduce waste by getting their components manufactured correctly the very first time. I will discuss two crucial technology acquisitions that enable Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence to deliver this value to its manufacturing customers.

One such technology is the ability to simulate the manufacturing process digitally before going into production. In 2017, Hexagon acquired MSC software. With that acquisition, Hexagon added valuable simulation software solutions to its portfolio, enabling its customers to simulate their manufacturing process. Engineers use the insights gained from the simulation results to determine their manufacturing strategy. Take the popular manufacturing technology that has the potential to revolutionize the industry – additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing simulation solutions from MSC software enables engineers to simulate the entire 3D printing process digitally and, more importantly, arrive at an optimal strategy. This means that engineers can 3D print their parts successfully the first time. This also means that engineers can eliminate wastage in manufacturing. Needless to say, companies save money and make a significant step toward reducing CO2 emissions. 

Another technology acquisition recently announced by Hexagon is the area of quality management. I am talking about ETQ. ETQ provides SaaS-based QMS (quality management system), EHS (environment, health, and safety), and compliance management software solutions. Using ETQ’s solutions, manufacturing companies can detect and correct quality problems. That certainly is a no-brainer. But the insights provided by the quality inspection data can pinpoint the source of the quality problem and help companies fix it once and forever. To manufacturing companies – this means reducing waste due to quality issues and re-work. To the planet – this means less quantity of materials extracted and less energy consumed in manufacturing. 

So there is a theme in these acquisitions. These seemingly disjoint software solutions perfectly fit Hexagon’s vision of providing scalable sustainability to its customers. Manufacturing companies can use these solutions to deliver value to their customers and help the planet achieve the uncompromising and challenging climate goals that we owe our children. 

Do design and manufacturing engineers need a new way to collaborate?

At the Hexagon Live 2022 conference, Parth Joshi, Chief Product and Technology Officer for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, announced the Nexus platform. Hexagon’s customers can use Nexus to connect and seamlessly transfer data between the different solutions.

Do design and manufacturing engineers need a new way to collaborate? Hexagon AB thinks so!

At #hxgnliveglobal 2022, Parth Joshi, Chief Product and Technology Officer for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, announced the launch of a cloud manufacturing platform – Nexus. Nexus is a solution where engineers participating in product design and manufacturing can collaborate. Today several of Hexagon’s solutions are Nexus enabled, and many will follow. A few characteristics of Nexus look fascinating to me: the seamless transfer of data and the platform’s openness. 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence‘s customers participating in product development will use Nexus to share design and manufacturing data. In today’s product development, seamless data transfer across different solutions is critical in cutting down the time to market and eliminating errors. Nexus will enable this seamless transfer of data from one product to another. It uses a data format that all Hexagon’s products connected to Nexus can use readily. Let me explain this with an example. A design engineer can upload the scan data from a Hexagon’s 3D laser scanner into Nexus. A manufacturing engineer at another location can connect to Nexus and examine the suitability of the scan data for 3D printing. There is no need for these engineers to save files and exchange them using emails or shared drives. Nexus will also enable engineers to collaborate with suppliers and other external stakeholders.

Parth Joshi also mentioned that Nexus would be an open platform. That means that even products from other solution providers can link to Nexus. In my opinion, the ability to connect other third-party solutions to Nexus is very critical for its success. Engineers in manufacturing companies use a plethora of specialized solutions in product development. No one solution provider has all the tools needed for today’s complex product development. By embracing various solutions (both Hexagon’s and others), Nexus will improve the existing workflow and enhance company productivity. 

In addition to seamless data transfer and open platform architecture, Nexus will facilitate and maintain all communications between stakeholders in one central location. Using Nexus, stakeholders can quickly respond to queries and get the latest data. They don’t have to worry about losing information via emails or chat. Using these communication features, I believe Nexus can provide accountability and speed up product development. 

Past research by Lifecycle Insights shows that various teams participating in modern product development still operate in silos (though that trend is slowly reducing). Stakeholders in these teams use different tools and have trouble accessing each other’s data. These limitations cause friction and slow down product development. A platform like Nexus will be of great value in this environment. 

Is Hexagon entering the PLM market with Nexus?

After the announcement of Nexus, many engineers and industry experts felt that Nexus is Hexagon’s approach to entering the PLM market. Our analysts at Lifecycle Insights do not think that is the case. Though the Nexus platform has many capabilities that a PLM solution typically has, its purpose is not to replace any PLM solution. Thanks to its open architecture, the Nexus platform will allow companies to readily link their existing PLM solution to Nexus. Companies can automate processes using the Nexus platform and their PLM solution. They can experience a more efficient way of working with Hexagon’s design, simulation, manufacturing, and quality solutions.

Is Nexus a #plm solution from Hexagon AB? The executives at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence do not think so. But how about you?

Since Parth Joshi introduced Nexus at #hxgnliveglobal 2022, there has been much excitement about this offering. Some people think of Nexus as yet another PDM or PLM solution. But Hexagon brands Nexus as an open platform for smart manufacturing. But what could that mean to users?

The Nexus open platform has features commonly found in a PDM or PLM solution. Users can connect to Nexus via any Hexagon solution and transfer their data. In that aspect, Nexus acts as a data sink. Other Hexagon products can seamlessly access this data. In this aspect, one can think of Nexus as a data management platform. But the purpose is to seamlessly access data across Hexagon’s solutions and not store data in one central location. Stakeholders can manage all communications related to this data right inside Nexus. 

Many downstream applications, such as Simufact Additive (a solution from Simufact Engineering – Part of Hexagon), can take data from Nexus. In this respect, Nexus acts as a data source. Because Nexus is used to seamlessly access data throughout the product lifecycle (from design to quality management), users of Nexus can think of it as having this PLM flavor. But the intention is to have a connected digital thread that permits access from all Hexagon’s point solutions and have a fluid experience throughout the product development cycle. 

But, Nexus has the room to offer many more. I think Nexus will have several in-built applications tackling various aspects of design, manufacturing, and quality management. Further, Nexus users can customize their workflows and connect software tools from other solution providers to their Nexus ecosystem (significant, in my opinion). These software tools can even be existing PDM or PLM solutions. I can also think of Nexus native third-party solutions to address other essential customer needs of the future. 

Though Nexus has some features commonly found in a PDM or PLM solution, it is premature to think of Nexus as a PDM or PLM alternative. A platform like Nexus can provide a superior product development experience for Hexagon’s customers. My colleagues at Lifecycle Insights and I look forward to seeing Nexus evolve in the coming months.