Optimizing worldwide manufacturing logistics
Siemens Industry Sector
Tecnomatix helps planners make more informed decisions about global manufacturing
Exacting planning requirements
Siemens is the worldwide leading supplier of production, transportation, lighting and building technologies. Its Industry Sector’s Industry Automation (IA) division features a comprehensive portfolio of automation products, solutions and services, including the offerings of its Low Voltage Controls and Distribution (CD) business unit, where approximately 2,400 people design and manufacture low voltage circuitry products for the global market. Product series such as SIRIUS (for switching, protecting and supervising motors) provide high-tech solutions for automation and drive, measurement and control, and medical applications. The wide range of applications for these products, which are decisive for the success of Siemens’ customers, necessitates a varied product line and multiple lot sizes. The products must also be highly durable and designed to customer-specific requirements.
SIRIUS units are manufactured at two locations in Germany as well as 29 other IA CD locations around the world. The planning department, consisting of approximately 60 members, coordinates the manufacturing processes across all of the worldwide locations, keeping in mind the entire value chain, from prefabrication (such as plastic injection molding and stamping/bending processes), to assembly manufacturing (for magnets and coils), to final assembly. The diversity of production methods ranges from simple, manual manufacturing to highly sophisticated, integrated production lines. Decisions about manufacturing locations are based on the required investment in staff and materials as well as on local sourcing conditions.
Process planning vision
Although planning processes always result in the same data, in the past the information was presented differently by the various planners. “Especially as a lead factory, we faced the challenge of giving manufacturing planners a more systematic way of working,” says Peter Engelhardt, manufacturing planner at the plant in Amberg, Germany. “The minimal level of data integration in our old process caused us additional work, along with the labor required to trace out and provide proof of the outcomes for the planning work.”
Engelhardt became project manager for the “Digital Factory” initiative, the intent of which was to significantly reduce the effort required for manufacturing planning of product variants as well as to meet increasing workloads with higher efficiency. Also, the business unit hoped to improve the quality of individual project reports, which are important for management decisions, and to facilitate the understanding of production process changes. “Digital planning is the logical and necessary equivalent to digital engineering,” says Rudolf Gietl, director of worldwide manufacturing for Siemens, Industry Sector, Industry Automation, Low Voltage Controls and Distribution.
To accomplish these goals, the Siemens Industry Sector’s IA CD unit purchased the Tecnomatix® digital manufacturing solution from Siemens PLM Software, implementing the Tecnomatix assembly planning and validation solution in combination with the plant design and optimization solution. It started with a pilot phase, resulting in a final list of requirements. In a step-by-step approach Siemens PLM fulfilled these requirements by nearly 100 percent.
The assembly planning and validation capabilities in Tecnomatix makes it possible to evaluate manufacturing methods, calculate production costs, schedule resources and examine resource utilization. An analysis of costs and how they compare among the various production alternatives provides the basis for location decisions. A three-dimensional manufacturing layout provides an overview of the facilities. Planning outcomes are confirmed and validated through detailed simulations. The scope of this functionality ranges from evaluations of assembly capability to disassembly assessments and ergonomics examinations.
The plant design and optimization solution provides tools for simulating material flow rates and performing bottleneck analyses.While the assembly planning solution is the standard tool for all manufacturing planners, the simulation solutions are available to experts. “With this combination, we meet our team requirements while being able to share the same data with simulation experts,” explains Engelhardt.
A project to plan a highly innovative material flow concept proved the value of the Tecnomatix solution. First, the facility concept was developed as a simulation model. The facility performance was optimized by creating and dimensioning buffers. To accomplish this, the simulation software provided comprehensive analysis options in both 2D and 3D, which identified several bottlenecks. These were eliminated and the flow of material was balanced throughout the entire facility. In the next step, the logistics for producing 50,000 units a day with 1,500 variants were established, including validation of operations and production schedules.
“We had very precise information, which would not have been possible without these digital tools,” reports Peter Biersack, department chief in charge for manufacturing and testing planning at the Amberg, Germany facility. “We were able to enter the implementation phase with a high degree of reliability and accuracy.” Now an in-house simulation model supports material stock optimization and guarantees that all necessary variants are available at all times.
This positive experience shows that with the introduction of digital planning tools, manufacturing planners made an important step toward digital factory concepts. Additional functionality enhancements include CAD data migration, ERP connectivity, implementation of a process library and collateral product cost calculations. With Tecnomatix, manufacturing planners at the hardware manufacturing plant in Amberg have become digital factory trendsetters.