Siemens, the Adoption Curve of Industry 4.0 is GrowingBy Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 06/29/2020 - 07:00
Q: How advanced do you think Industry 4.0 is in the Mexican industry?
A: I am quite optimistic about the reception that Industry 4.0 has had. We started promoting this concept and these solutions seven years ago and today we are observing that the adoption curve is growing. We are seeing the results of promoting the concept and explaining what its benefits are, as well as the impact of digitalization in different industries and even at a personal level.
At the industrial level, we have also seen that there are very concrete efforts for the implementation of Industry 4.0. Siemens is an important voice for the Industry 4.0 concept. We start with advice and consultancy. We identify our clients’ needs and design the technologies that help them achieve their objectives.
The technologies we implement include artificial intelligence, cloud edge computing, 5G, autonomous management systems, blockchain, additive manufacturing and preventive maintenance. We have a wide variety of solutions that can be adapted depending on the client's needs. Fortunately, we have seen that the adoption curve of Industry 4.0 in the country and in the automotive industry is growing, which makes us optimistic.
Q: How does Siemens develop long-term partnerships with customers that choose its platforms and digital tools?
A: We begin by consulting with our clients to identify the main needs of their businesses. We focus on KPIs, not technology, because when we talk about digital transformation, it means a transformation of the company. Technology is simply a tool to reach that goal.
In this initial session with the client, we talk about the needs of their business. For example, we talk about how to improve operational KPIs, how to be more efficient, how to improve quality indexes and supply chain and how to improve cybersecurity systems, among many other things. After identifying these needs, we prioritize each and decide which technologies are appropriate to achieve the company’s objectives. We then develop a schedule for the implementation of different technologies depending on the client's priorities.
It is also important that all solutions have a justifiable return on investment. Together with the client, we develop the calculation of how long it will take to improve KPIs through technology to justify the client’s investment. Typically, investments in digitalization see a return in one to five years.
Next, we move into the digital enterprise stage, a comprehensive concept that starts with product design. We design the product digitally then move on to Phase 2, which is digital design and simulation of the production line to manufacture the product that we have already designed virtually. Before the real implementation, we work on a digital twin, which is to design the product and the production line virtually. This digital-reality combination is the basis for implementing a successful digital transformation.
Q: What is Siemens’ role in analyzing data coming from the production line?
A: We capture production information through sensors on the production line and we analyze that data in the cloud with our IoT platform called MindSphere. It connects products, plants, systems and machines, enabling companies to harness the wealth of their data with advanced analytics. In addition, it gives them access to a growing number of apps and a dynamic development ecosystem. This tool generates tangible benefits for the client, such as predictive maintenance to avoid production downtime, having the possibility of predicting when elements will fail depending on certain parameters and being able to improve the client’s satisfaction index.
We are now launching the concept of edge computing. With this tool, the analysis of AI information and algorithms can be done at the customer's plant. This is especially useful for applications that require very low latency. We can have a combination of some applications with very low latency in the plant and others that are not as critical in terms of time, in the cloud. This gives the client a very clear picture of their production and how to achieve their objectives. It is an open system and the client can generate their own apps to view the information. We also have many existing partners that develop information visualization applications.
We have an alliance with HP through which all its 3D printers are manufactured with edge computing and MindSphere embedded in their systems to all the transmission of operations data and notifications to the user.
Siemens is a German company focused on electrification, automation and digitalization. The company is one of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies. It is also a supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis.