New Versions of Everything, New Expectations

Realizing the Digital Twin – 2017 Siemens Analyst Conference

By:  Sandra K. Rodriguez, Market Analyst

The Siemens Analyst Conference took place in Boston from September 6 – 7, 2017.  Dr. Jan Mrosik, CEO Siemens Digital Factory Division, opened the conference with a clear message:

“Digitalization changes everything and a common digital thread enables continuous business transformation!”

Siemens has invested $6.5B since 2013 in its digital enterprise suite, beginning with the acquisition of LMS International which expanded its strategy for system validation and verification.  The company is also seeking to establish a leadership role in electronics and semiconductor product and process simulation by adding Mentor Graphics to its Digital Factory division.

A Digital Twin is not a concept, it is a disruptive technology.  It enables companies to competitively change the way products are realized, come to life and evolve.  Adding digital twin technology within a smart factory offers companies three unique benefits:

  • The ability to predict profitability through analysis of production scenarios
  • Improved efficiencies through the digital thread and virtual commissioning
  • Optimized production through the comparison of real and digital production systems

Spanning the full lifecycle and applied across the entire value chain including ideation, realization and utilization, the executive team repeatedly stated that “Siemens is the only company who can provide the digital twin across the entire production lifecycle.”  Another common theme reiterated during the event was that a digital thread enables continuous business transformation by compressing the innovation lifecycle including:

  • Product Design
  • Production Planning
  • Production Engineering
  • Production Execution
  • Services

Insight Plus Action Equals Impact

In addition to the Digital Factory Division, Tony Hemmelgarn, President and CEO of the Siemens PLM Business Unit, pointed out the company is drinking its own Kool-aid with all Siemens divisions driving digitalization technologies such as PLM and IoT.  Those divisions include: Energy Management, Wind Power, Power & Gas, Power Generation Services, Process Industries and Drives, Healthineers (Siemens’ Medical division), Building Technologies and Mobility.

Speed, flexibility, quality and efficiency are all essential requirements of Siemens’ customers in the manufacturing industries.  During the conference, Siemens demonstrated how its cloud-based, open IoT operating system “MindSphere” offers companies like Rittal the ability to develop the digital twin and leverage product, production and performance data.

Rittal manufactures climate control units for enclosures and provided an example of Mindsphere’s capabilities. The Rittal management team began their IoT enabled, smart maintenance journey by first asking themselves — how can we use IoT ready products for additional data-driven services?  Rittal’s presentation focused on ‘smart maintenance’ with MindSphere.   The company’s products are equipped with sensors and are therefore able to capture data such as temperature, pressure, the opening degree of a valve etc.  Today, the company captures this product data and transmits it to the Siemens cloud.

The ability to send and receive status monitoring and maintenance information allows for visualization of information in MindSphere.  Rittal has developed IoT enabled, smart maintenance strategies to optimize service routes, ensure customers have the correct list of recommended spare parts and equally as important, order the right spare parts.  Rittal’s customers benefit from connected asset data, including:

  • The ability to measure the remaining useful life of an asset
  • Advanced fault detection
  • Service requirement detection
  • Availability of spare parts
  • Improved first-time fix rate

The next steps in Rittal’s smart maintenance journey will be to provide customers with dashboards and apps that provide visualization of equipment status and data for continuous evaluation of predictive maintenance strategies.   The ultimate goal is to deliver cooling-as-a-service and data-driven service packages.


Earlier this year at Siemens PLM Connect, I presented data from Axendia’s research study focusing on The Future of Change and Configuration Management in Med-Tech, in Indianapolis, IN.  Data was derived from an industry survey that revealed companies continue to fix problems as they occur, particularly in the medical device industry.   As Tony Hemmelgarn pointed out during the opening session, diagnostic information is valuable but how much more valuable would it be to optimize product or plant information and augment it through the digital twin?

With a closed-loop system and common  digital thread, innovative companies can interrogate issues in the product and production digital twin and address any potential problems in the virtual environment using real world, production/product data.

Digitalization changes everything and a common digital thread enables continuous business transformation.

It’s time to get started on your evolution.

Download a PDF Copy of this event brief here.


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