Siemens recently presented their solution to manufacturing pitfalls: Industrial Operations X. Here Siemens presented a thorough manufacturing solution that covers everything from shop-floor production tasks to management. By choosing an automated and integrated approach, Siemens targets to reduce issues related to labor shortages, supply chain demands, resource procurement, and sustainability. Here is my take on a few of the presentations given at the 2023 Hannover Messe fair where I covered this announcement.

Managing the maintenance assets for an entire manufacturing facility can be a challenging task. With dozens to hundreds of assets, all with their own lifecycle history, that require maintenance plans at different times and for various reasons, it may seem daunting to tackle such an issue. With proper CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Solutions), organizing and having a pulse on each piece of equipment helps plants hit budgetary and time constraints for their maintenance departments. 

CMMS solutions can often be confusing to purchase and have frustrating user interfaces. I recently attended Siemens presentation on their solution, Lifecycle Management Suite paired with the SIMATIC PCS 7 system components, at the Hannover Messe 2023 fair. How does this compare to other CMMS solutions on the market?

How Does Siemens Lifecycle Management Suite Compare To Other Maintenance Solutions

Siemens Lifecycle Management Suite offers a system that automatically uploads all assets and takes care of all maintenance plans and creation. This CMMS solution is a Software as a Service (SaaS), where all data is stored globally and can be accessed locally. The SaaS approach also offers calibration on all process instrumentation devices. It exists as a plan-based licensing model that provides additional services and applications to users that can be scaled up or down depending on need. With dashboard available vulnerability checks, and maintenance planning suggestions, it helps optimize and prevent risks for maintenance departments.

While interconnectivity between equipment and software is the future of IT/OT convergence within the manufacturing industry, the Lifecycle Management Suite offers resources similar to other CMMS solutions on the market. For SMB’s looking to integrate into a fully vetted system and instrumentation, I would recommend Siemens solution. However, I am curious how historical or non-siemens instrumentation or hardware may fare through integration. This is something I am looking forward to researching, and will update on in the future!

The Importance of Product Lifecycle History in Manufacturing

Why is product lifecycle history important, and what benefits does trusted traceability provide? At the Hannover Messe Fair, Siemens presented their thoughts.

A product has a traceable history from raw materials to finished goods. Without this history, customers lack adequate information about their products, which leaves them questioning. These questions may include if the raw materials were recycled, when a machine might have been manufactured or inspected, and which parts might have been repaired or replaced. This information is valuable to the product owner to make evidence-based decisions and certify products and procedures based on required regulations. With a product lifecycle history, the journey of the product’s lifecycle is documented and stored to connect all of the puzzle pieces. 

A digital passport gives a complete overview of the value chain of your product and enables the consumer for other use cases. Audits, recalls, quality concerns, counterfeiting, and proof claims are just a few instances where a trusted genealogy of the product is beneficial. With trusted traceability, a simple QR code scan can provide the application to empower the user to know the complete history of a product. This history can also help with engineering transformation through digital twins and boost sustainability through informed decision-making.

While record keeping is imperative to having complete knowledge of a product, having it in an all-in-one, easy-to-access place is highly beneficial. Between having insight into making maintenance and servicing decisions to meeting legal and regulatory requirements, users can eliminate the guesswork in an everyday use case with proper product lifecycle history. 

The Future of Sensors in a Manufacturing Environment

Sensors present a crucial role in a manufacturing environment. So what does the future of sensors look like, and what will be imperative to this industry? I recently attended the hannovermesse fair, where I could see where Siemens stands.

Connecting basic machinery in an open architecture model to sensors has been commonplace and a manufacturing standard for many years. Yet Siemens brings in a new player with the SINTRANS SCM IQ sensor-to-cloud gateway. The SCM IQ package base includes cloud infrastructure, data storage, and applications all in one bundle. This gateway collects information from machine sensors wirelessly. It sends it to the cloud, where it is then processed, and engineers or technicians can gather crucial information on the health of the machines.

This smart conditioning monitoring with IIoT sensors works for pumps, gear sets, compressors, and other commonly found equipment for industrial applications. The instrumentation is resistant to dust and water and only requires replaceable batteries, which prolong the lifespan. Anomaly collection then utilizes machine learning for reliable detection through the sensor data. Data is then collected and presented to the user through an app notification, and can monitor as many sensors as needed at once.

In manufacturing environments common with dust and moisture, this gateway solution offers scalability from small applications to comprehensive plant monitoring, even in rough environments. Being able to predict downtimes on machinery is every manufacturing facility’s dream to help reduce costs and provide more throughput. With a bonus of no wiring during installation and commissioning, SINTRANS SCM IQ sensor to cloud gateway is a worthwhile investment.

Can Manufacturers Scale Predictive Maintenance?

Many manufacturers may ask themselves, how can I make predictive maintenance work at scale? Luckily, I had the chance to attend Siemens’s presentation on this during the Hannover Messe conference. Siemens has partnered with Senseye – A Siemens business starting April 1st, and together they offer a solution that utilizes AI to automate the analysis of any and every kind of machine.

Supporting and maintaining robust predictive maintenance methods has become increasingly difficult with more extensive and complex demands from managing equipment. Yet companies fail when they try to meet these new expectations with upgraded solutions. Currently, 80% of analytics projects fail to deliver outcomes. The most significant driver of this comes from the struggle with scalability across an entire site.

Siemen’s solution to this is to start with cultural change. Accepting the technology that comes with this change is imperative for the customer to hit proper ROIs. By following a systematic approach of design, deploy, operate, and refine with newly integrated systems, companies hit and sometimes even exceed their ROI. With this approach, an emphasis is put on training and coaching for the sites to help enable and implement the solution entirely.

On the technical side, the Senseye technology presents IT/OT convergence that allows company personnel to predict the behavior of any machine. Due to its scalability with the abovementioned integration process, manufacturing companies can roll out this solution to multiple plants simultaneously. Operating on historical data and analysis allows engineers to reduce their spare parts and consumables usage, utilize proper predictive maintenance, and employ fully remote diagnostics and monitoring.

The Siemens & Senseye approach is an attractive match, with a thorough understanding of what it takes to apply predictive maintenance at scale. Through studying failures and using best practices for technology and culture, it is understandable that many of their projects have had tremendous success. With this type of application for predictive maintenance at scale, machines will experience less downtime and stronger efficiencies. 

My thoughts: With Siemens presentation on the rollout of Industrial Operations X, I am impressed and excited at the thorough coverage of their manufacturing solutions. They managed to cover a broad range of topics, provide industry examples, and planned for the interconnectivity of all of their solutions. Between product lifecycle management, the future of sensing, IT/OT integration, and on the floor initiatives, Siemens has a strong pulse on where the manufacturing industry is at, and where it needs to go.