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Recap: Additive Manufacturing Deployments In Southeast Asia

Recap: Additive Manufacturing Deployments In Southeast Asia

Amid the ongoing global health issue, additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is proving in real time that it is speeding production and bringing new ideas to the market at a lower cost to deliver the needed healthcare equipment and devices the world desperately needs.

In market research released earlier this year, Grand View Research Inc. reported that the overall additive manufacturing industry is projected to reach $35.38 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14.6 percent over the same forecast period. However, the 3D printing industry still has its share of challenges, such as efficiency that the process yields, the machines, and materials.

In line with this, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), in conjunction with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS, Universal Robots, Markforged, NAMIC, and GlobalData held a two-part webinar aimed at helping manufacturers understand 3D printing better and gather insights on the way forward for additive manufacturing in Southeast Asia.

In the first installment of the two-part webinar on 24 November 2020 with SLM Solutions, Siemens and Globaldata, we covered the different AM deployments in Southeast Asia, the process challenges, and the key considerations toward successful adoption.

Where has COVID-19 left us in 2020?

Opening the session with a keynote presentation, David Bicknell, Principal Analyst, Thematic Research at Globaldata gave an insightful overview of where the pandemic has left the additive manufacturing industry in 2020. He discusses the impact of the pandemic, developments in AM and opportunities for ASEAN.

With the pandemic paralysing supply chains, David also highlights how 3D printing can be the solution to building more resilient supply chains and how more companies are embracing 3D printing. He also covered briefly insights from HP which examines the current perception of digital manufacturing.

3D printing has proved to be a source of optimism, and David rounded the session by sharing innovative feats during this challenging environment such as biomimetic tongue surfaces and printed door handles. Where would 3D printing bring us in 2021?

Key Considerations for Successful AM Adoption

Lu Zhen, Lead Application Engineer at SLM Solutions Singapore, speaks about successful AM adoption and projects worldwide—such as the 3D printed titanium brake caliper for Bugati race car—the different stages of AM adoption and market growth, and four key considerations for successful AM adoption: design, in terms of effectiveness and weight; material strength and compatibility; process scalability and repeatability; and economics or cost.

Lu also speaks about factors that would enable increasing adoption and industrialization of AM, such as systematic qualification processes and standards, specialised knowledge, IP, and having a mature supply chain.

Finally, he presents some of the AM projects in Southeast Asia, such as the anti-cavitation trim for EMERSON; core insert for plastic injection mould, for OMNI MOLD; impellers for maritime application, for ShipParts.Com; motor mount base and clutch for race cars, in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore; and a battery hull for submarine robots, developed in collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS).

3D Printed Face Shield

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has stalled manufacturing activities worldwide, it has, at the same time, highlighted the speed and flexibility of 3D printing to create and deliver the desperately needed healthcare equipment and devices.

For instance, it has provided Siemens and its Industry 4.0 partners an opportunity to combine their strengths to locally develop and manufacture a face shield designed by Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital using additive manufacturing. This fully local collaboration saw Siemens’ Advance Manufacturing Transformation Centre (AMTC), supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), HP’s Smart Manufacturing Applications and Research Centre (SMARC), and Mitsui Chemicals come together to design, optimise and manufacture the face shields in an accelerated product introduction cycle of under two months.

Benjamin Moey, Vice President, Advance Manufacturing, for ASEAN, at Siemens Pte Ltd, and also the head of Siemens’ AMTC, talks more about this in his presentation, as well as demonstrated the actual 3D-printed face shield.

Wrap Up

The webinar closed the session with a lively Q&A session between the three presenters—SLM’s Lu, Siemens’ Boey, and GlobalData’s Bicknell—with attendees asking questions on simulation technology related to 3D printing; 3D printing software; injection moulding versus 3D printing (in case of the face shield); availability of material base supply; best ways service bureaus can market themselves to attract AM clients; and whether AM will finally see the day it will be used for mass production.

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REGISTER NOW: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

REGISTER NOW: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

We continue our additive manufacturing (AM) webinar series with the future developments and outlook for 3D printing in Southeast Asia.

In Part 1, we featured different case studies regarding AM deployments in ASEAN. Click here to view its recap as well as watch the videos of the webinar.

On 15 December, we will explore the possibilities and look into what the future holds for AM in part 2 of our webinar series!

Register for the free webinar below!

Part II: Future Developments For Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia
Tuesday, 15 December 2020
3:00pm – 4:00pm (GMT+08:00)

Be part of the panel discussion with SLM Solutions, Markforged, Universal Robots and National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), who will discuss the unique opportunities of AM; what it can do to your design, manufacturing operations, and innovations; the latest technologies for AM; and future developments and outlook for the 3D printing industry in Southeast Asia.

Join our panelists:

AM Webinar panelists

AM Webinar logo

Register for the free webinar:

Siemens Delivers Digital Contact Tracing Application For Safer Workplaces

Siemens Delivers Digital Contact Tracing Application For Safer Workplaces

Siemens Smart Infrastructure has launched Enlighted Safe, a new workplace digital contact tracing app, which helps employees return safely to the workplace. Enlighted Safe provides greater transparency into the contact history of employees who are known to have tested positive for COVID-19. This is designed to support organisations in reducing the exposure of infection, keep healthy employees safe and productive, and eliminate the inefficient, expensive and error-prone manual contact tracing process for employers.

Built upon Enlighted’s real-time location services capability, employees are assigned Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) identification badges while in the workplace. The app continuously records location, movement and proximity of the employees relative to each other during the period they are in the building. The solution prioritises data privacy, without the need to store personal information. When an employee is known to have tested positive, authorised administrators can query the Safe app, identify other IDs the badge has come in contact with, and disclose the list of anonymised IDs as part of their contact tracing process.

“As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in some locations, ensuring a safe return to the workplace and re-building employee trust is a global challenge. Smart office technology can play an important role,” said Matthias Rebellius, COO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “With new and varied regulations coming into effect, our intelligent IoT solutions can support the safety and well-being of occupants and visitors. We help provide peace of mind and enhanced safety for employers, their workforce and visitors.”

With intelligent IoT analytics, the solution provides greater insight for authorised personnel to visualise the contact events by location visited, duration of contact and proximity data of affected employees inside the workplace. The data is used to inform potentially exposed employees, as well as drive targeted sanitisation efforts. The application’s dashboard also provides transparency on contacts in the building, assisting management in developing safer workplace strategies for physical distancing policies, enhanced sanitisation and monitoring, occupancy limits and contact tracing. Additionally, Enlighted Safe delivers data-driven insights for organisations to proactively manage risks and design safer spaces.

Commenting on the app release, Stefan Schwab, CEO of Enlighted, said: “The important role of IoT technology in buildings has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Enlighted sensory system can now provide digital contact tracing. It also lays the foundation for future-proofed buildings ready to help us understand with real-time data the changing nature of our at-work experiences and meet challenges beyond COVID-19.”

Siemens has been working with organisations around the world to support bringing employees back to their workplace with smart building solutions. This includes Comfy, an intuitive workplace app that keeps occupants informed and enables room and desk bookings; and the Siveillance Thermal Shield body temperature detection integrated with access control and a suite of services, such as enhancing indoor air quality,  designed to mitigate the risks of further virus spread.

 

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[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

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The Future Of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech On The Horizon

The Future of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech on the Horizon

The future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity—it is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Article by Rahav Madvil, Simulation Product Manager for Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Noam Ribon, Senior Business Consultant at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Industrial manufacturing as a sector has been an early adopter of robotics and other forms of technological improvements for decades. Robotics have been one of the best options to increase production efficiency for large and often highly repetitive manufacturing processes. But the era of producing large quantities of just a few products with low mix is coming to an end, giving way to increased product personalisation requiring a more flexible production process with less waste than ever before.

Fortunately, the future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity. It is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Almost all of this promise is built upon a foundation of digital transformation – and the digital twin. Everything from raw material tracking to process optimisations to hardware selection stem from insights gained from the digital twin and a closed-loop optimisation of entire facilities.

The most difficult aspect of any change to operation are the inevitable changes to process—they are expensive twice over, because nothing is being produced and resources are still being consumed. An autonomous transport initiative squarely addresses this, relying on a few, key technologies to make it happen.

The Power of Virtual Commissioning

Creating a comprehensive digital twin of your production process can greatly reduce downtime for new machines, new processes and new products.  Let’s say you need to install a new CNC station. What if the processes for this new machine could be validated before it ever arrived on the production floor by using the digital twin of the production line? Less time could be spent integrating the new component into the overall production lines through line integration as a part of virtual commissioning.  Available today, virtual commissioning is the critical underpinning to an efficient production environment enabling a closed-loop iterative optimisation of the entire facility.

Virtual commissioning is vital, not only for testing software controls, but for adding insight to the efficiency of the controls strategy. It is also essential for embarking on the advanced robotics journey, laying the groundwork for implementing greater process automation and flexibility needed to efficiently implement tomorrow’s manufacturing technologies today.

Simulate Everything Upfront

One of the best options to minimise risk when updating an existing process or making a new one is to simulate the new operations. It nearly eliminates upfront investment in machinery before knowing whether the new process will operate as expected on the shop floor. For new digitalisation efforts, this is where a digital twin should be established for the process. Without a comprehensive study of the actions within a plant new equipment could be under-utilised leading to lost investment.

Just as important is the implementation of IoT devices, that serve to close the loop between the digital twin and the physical processes once the new processes have been initiated. Although these devices are often embedded in new production equipment, but it is important to consider how to best maximise the voluminous data they generate to gain crucial insight into the production process.

Next Generation Programming

Another route to maximising production time even when supporting a high product mix is to expedite the reprogramming of the robotics in use on the factory floor. Without integrated robotic control, updating a robotic arm for a new task can be incredibly time-consuming. It needs to be taken offline, reprogrammed, validated and restarted, for each robot that will handle the new processes.

In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

Siemens Digital Industries Software bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

All that changes by integrating the programmable logic controllers for these robots into the comprehensive digital twin. Much of this process can be streamlined. Does a bolt spacing on a phone need to be shifted slightly to accommodate the latest 5G wireless antenna? If the entire fleet of robots working on that production line could understand the change, that would save many hours across multiple engineering and production teams. Engineers simply need to let the robots know of the change and any differences in manufacturing tolerances can be accounted for with closed loop sensing through visual or force feedback. With force feedback within the robotic arm, any force exerted over a defined threshold can initiate a pause to the robotic arm’s actions and readjust positioning to address the perceived problem.  Instead of shutting them down for reprogramming, all the robots working on the project can adjust independently to subtle changes.

Although this might sound like some futuristic scenario, task-based programming has already been tested in the real world. In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products. Previously, one of the largest hurdles to automating assembly was how to work with flexible components. Traditional robotics rigidly follow predefined movements, so if something were to inadvertently shift, the whole assembly could be destroyed. But by implementing force sensing on the robotic arms, there is an almost intuitive understanding of the parts and how the robot is interacting with the workpiece at its station. If a hole is slightly out of place on a panel, the input from force sensors can help the robot redirect its movement and thread a screw through without complex, preprogrammed instructions for misalignment scenarios.

Optimising Production with Autonomous Robotics

Simulation, virtual commissioning and advanced robotics programming lay the foundation for a fully flexible production floor, but automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) weave it all together and bring it to life. Historically, conveyor belts acted as the material flow paths on a shop floor. They efficiently move product from point A to point B but require semi-static positioning. Even mobile conveyor systems, common in logistics work, take time to move and to ensure a safe path for product.

Heatmap from simulating AGV and AMR activity on a manufacturing floor.

In contrast, AGVs and AMRs can change their path during transit. This saves time that would have been spent readjusting existing features, this is critical for a flexible production environment. Imagine a production floor, making two distinct version of a product. For version one, the bolts need to be added before the secondary assembly is added, while in version two bolts cannot be added until after the sub-assembly has been mounted. In a static conveyor facility, this could be completed given enough conveyor length and a sorting mechanism. Beyond a couple variations to the production sequence the factory would fill up with conveyor loops that only transport a few products at a time, defeating one of the  main goals of the technology But with a fleet of AGVs or AMRs moving materials and work pieces throughout the facility, products can be rerouted and the sequence reordered to another machine. Or, in the case of highly customised consumer products, components could be routed to the best machine for the task. It can account for how much time is required to switch over to the new process, how many units can it produce compared to other machines, and even the impact of a re-route on other processes on the shop floor.

Reaping the Benefits of Tomorrow’s Robotics Today

Achieving all this requires a highly integrated production process. To guarantee a product is still made correctly during an automated process change, it needs to be simulated beforehand using a digital twin. To certify the product can be made in the new location, the production machine needs to be validated for the task using virtual commissioning. And to ensure the slightly different parts don’t produce errors in the process, the machines themselves need to be flexible to adapt to in real time to changing conditions with AGVs and AMRs.

Properly managing all these variables can have an incredibly positive effect on process performance, in fact it can produce up to a 40 percent improvement in labour productivity, according to a 2020 McKinsey study. Understanding the shop floor is an invaluable proposition and will continue to net savings and improvements through the life of the facility, even making it last longer by reducing maintenance overhead and costs with the improved condition monitoring of extensive IoT and the comprehensive digital twin.

Learn more of how Tecnomatix brings the tools of tomorrow’s factories to the factories of today with Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio with free trials for the Process Simulate and Plant Simulate tools.

 

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Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

Siemens Improves 3D Printing And Scanning Workflows

ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

Siemens Opens Additive Manufacturing Network

 

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FOLLOW US ON: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

 

 

Siemens Launches Advance Manufacturing Competence Center In Singapore

Siemens Launches Advance Manufacturing Competence Center in Singapore

Siemens has officially launched its Advance Manufacturing Transformation Center (AMTC) to provide guidance, support and training to companies in Southeast Asia on their journey of adoption, transition and transformation towards advance manufacturing.

AMTC is the first-of-its-kind, three-in-one competence center that combines the Digital Enterprise Experience Center (DEX), the Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (AMEC) and Rental Labs – creating a one-stop advance manufacturing ecosystem that addresses operational transition.

The DEX showcases Digital Enterprise solutions that enable companies to create digital twins of their envisioned advance manufacturing plants, so that they can simulate, optimize and evaluate manufacturing operations before constructing the actual manufacturing environment. It also provides manufacturing design consulting.

The AMEC is where companies can experience hands-on exposure to an advance end-to-end additive manufacturing production line supported by AMTC’s ecosystem of technology partners. It fills the gap between additive manufacturing R&D and commercialization by letting companies carry out prototyping, supported by on-site additive manufacturing experts.

The Rental Labs (Additive Manufacturing) provide affordable access to the latest industrial design software and high-end additive manufacturing printers as well as post-processing equipment – allowing companies to do low-volume 3D printing for proof of concept, and testing of such production line before deciding if they want to invest in additive manufacturing infrastructure.

Minister Chan Chun Sing congratulated the launch of the Siemens AMTC with a video message.

Minister Chan Chun Sing congratulated the launch of the Siemens AMTC with a video message.

“Today, most companies understand the urgent need for digital transformation, and the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized that. But many companies are deterred by factors such as complex and unintegrated technologies, high cost of transition, disruption to business continuity and lack of technical experts,” said Raimund Klein, Executive Vice President of Digital Industries, Siemens ASEAN. “Siemens is supporting companies in their transition into Industry 4.0 with the AMTC, a consulting, training, R&D and small-scale production facility, all rolled into one.”

As a testament of how the AMTC can help to accelerate production introduction cycle, the center and its partners developed and manufactured a medical grade face shield using additive manufacturing in June this year. The face shield was designed by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) for its COVID-19 front-liners. The optimized face shield has enhanced durability and strength, provides comfort wear and allows ease of cleaning.

Siemens, through the AMTC, is partnering SkillsFuture Singapore to roll out a six-month additive manufacturing training under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme. The programme equips mid-career jobseekers with skills in additive manufacturing and digitalization to move into roles such as Programmable Logic Controller engineers and automation engineers, so as to better support the current wave of industrial companies undergoing digital transformation. The AMTC will host projects for trainees to work on and organise Project Demonstration Days for trainees to pitch their projects to potential hiring employers.

“The launch of its Advance Manufacturing Transformation Center reflects Siemens’ continued confidence in Singapore as a leading location to spur regional development and adoption of Advanced Manufacturing. We believe it remains relevant and will catalyse the digital transformation of businesses in the new operating environment,” said Lim Kok Kiang, Executive Vice President, International Operations, EDB. “We are also heartened that Siemens is supporting our mid-career professionals with training opportunities during this challenging period, and equipping them with skills for the future.”

The AMTC ecosystem currently consists of technology providers, education and research institutes, as well as government agencies. They are:

Technology Providers

Education and research institutes

Government agencies

 

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

Check these articles out:

Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Siemens Workplace Distancing Solution Helps Manage ‘Next Normal’ Manufacturing

Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

Siemens Improves 3D Printing And Scanning Workflows

ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

Siemens Opens Additive Manufacturing Network

 

WANT MORE INSIDER NEWS? SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DIGITAL MAGAZINE NOW!

FOLLOW US ON: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

 

 

Would You Trust The Algorithm?

Would You Trust The Algorithm?

Imagine if you could automate some of the day-to-day operational decisions in your organization, so that your employees could focus on strategic projects, like developing new product lines or expanding the business. How good would an artificial intelligence (AI) model need to be, before you give it control? Would it, for example, need to equal the performance of human engineers, or demonstrate better performance? What if an error could cause significant financial losses or even human injury, how would this change your response?

A survey put scenarios like this to 515 senior leaders from the industrial world (including the energy, manufacturing, heavy industry, infrastructure and transport sectors) as part of a research into the uses, benefits, barriers and attitudes towards AI. Their responses offer a unique insight into the future of AI in industrial enterprises.

Heavy industry and heavy consequences

In these industries, many use cases for AI are expected to help avoid disasters and make workplaces safer. This is important because while AI methodologies are similar across industries, the consequences of failure are not. In many industrial organizations, bad decisions can leave thousands of people without a train to work; millions of dollars can be lost if machinery overheats; slight changes in pressure can lead to an environmental catastrophe; and innumerable scenarios can lead to loss of life.

It is therefore significant that a large set of respondents (44%) believe that, over the course of the next five years, an AI system will autonomously control machines that could potentially cause injury or death. Even greater numbers (54%) believe that AI will, within the same period, autonomously control some of their organization’s high-value assets.

To give AI such responsibility, industrial AI will need to become more sophisticated, and often this will be driven by new approaches to the way data is managed, generated, represented, and shared. For example:

  • Contextual data and simulations: Already today we see AI applied to data sets created and organized in new ways to enhance insights and understanding. Examples include knowledge graphs, which capture the meaning of – and relationships between – items in diverse data sets, and digital twins, which provide detailed digital representations and simulations of real systems, assets, or processes.
  • Embedded AI and big picture insights: Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge technologies are giving rise to diverse machine-generated data sets which can support new levels of situational awareness and real-time insights in the cloud or directly in the field.
  • Data from beyond the walls: Improved protocols and technologies for sharing data between organizations could support the development of AI models that simultaneously draw from the data of suppliers, partners, regulators, customers, and perhaps even competitors.

Context changes meaning

To take one example from the above, there is enormous potential in using industrial knowledge graphs to enhance AI models by combining different datasets. “Knowledge graphs add context to the data you’re analyzing,” explains Norbert Gaus, Head of R&D in Digitalization and Automation at Siemens. “For example, machine data can be analyzed in the context of design data, including the tasks the machine is made for, the temperatures it should operate at, the key thresholds built into the parts, and so forth. To this we could add the service history of similar machines, including faults, recalls and expected inspection outcomes throughout the machine’s operational life. Knowledge graphs make it much easier to augment the machine data we use to train AI models, adding valuable contextual information.”

The survey explored the kinds of contextual data that leaders believe would be most useful today. Data from equipment manufacturers came out on top, with 71% rating this as a major or minor benefit. This was followed by internal data from other divisions, regions or departments (70%), data from suppliers (70%) and performance data from sold products in use with customers (68%).

A company that uses knowledge graphs to bring different kinds of data together – such as product history, operational performance, environmental conditions – would be able to create a single AI model that drives better predictions, useful ideas, new efficiencies, and more powerful automation.

Building faith in algorithms

Ever more powerful applications will no doubt raise new challenges. It will require trusting AI with responsibilities that were only ever given to humans. In these cases, AI applications will need to win the confidence of decision-makers, while organizations will need to develop new risk and governance frameworks.

To explore these issues, the survey asked respondents to imagine several scenarios like the one at the start of this article. For example, 56% decided to accept the decision of an impressive AI model over an experienced employee (44%), where the decision would have major financial consequences. Is 56% high or low? One might think it is low considering respondents were told that the AI model had outperformed the organization’s most experienced employees in a year-long pilot. It suggests that the other 44% could have a bias towards human decisions, even when the evidence favors AI. You can read more about these and other important issues in the next-gen industrial AI research report.

Challenges aside, the research suggests an optimistic outlook for AI. As AI grows more sophisticated, leaders expect fewer harmful cyberattacks, easier risk management, more innovation, higher margins, and safer workplaces. Overall, with the promise of such a diverse and important range of positive impacts potentially on the horizon, there will be no shortage of motivation to overcome all challenges on the path to next-gen industrial AI.

 

Check these articles out:

Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Siemens Workplace Distancing Solution Helps Manage ‘Next Normal’ Manufacturing

Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

Siemens Improves 3D Printing And Scanning Workflows

ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

Siemens Opens Additive Manufacturing Network

 

WANT MORE INSIDER NEWS? SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DIGITAL MAGAZINE NOW!

FOLLOW US ON: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

 

 

Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Digitalisation at the enterprise level has proven to be critical to bringing production back online safely, quickly and with greater resilience in preparation for crises of the future. By Nand Kochhar, vice president of Automotive and Transportation Industry Strategy for Siemens Digital Industries Software.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put exceptional strain on manufacturing facilities in the automotive industry. While all parts of the automotive enterprise have been impacted, manufacturing facilities have proven especially vulnerable because of the crucial link that human operators form in the vehicle production chain (Figure 1). Taking action to protect the health of these employees is challenging.

Human operators perform critical tasks in the vehicle production chain, making automotive production facilities especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figure 1: Human operators perform critical tasks in the vehicle production chain, making automotive production facilities especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s production lines were designed and optimised for a pre-pandemic world. Operators often worked in close physical proximity and shared tools, parts bins and other resources to complete their tasks. The measures necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, of course, invalidated many aspects of these production designs and optimisations.

The Challenges of Redesigning Production Facilities

Automotive companies had to quickly modify and adapt their production facilities to ensure the safety of their employees. While these changes are necessary, they can dramatically impact efficiency and output in a production facility. For example, production stations have to be redistributed across a production line to ensure that human operators remain at least six feet apart at all times during the performance of their duties. In addition, each operator must have their own tools and parts bins to prevent the spread of the disease via mutual contact with a surface or object. While seemingly small, these changes can greatly influence how human operators perform their duties, often slowing them down. Just the increased spacing between production stations can slow production down.

The changeover of employees between shifts also presents safety challenges. Manufacturers will need to ensure that workers are healthy when they arrive to work, and allow extra time between shifts to thoroughly clean stations and tools. These extended shift changes result in more production downtime and potentially could require plants to reduce the number of shifts they run in a day, further impacting productivity.

These and other effects of the pandemic have pushed companies to turn toward advanced manufacturing technologies to mitigate the shortcomings of socially distanced production lines and stations. Novel applications of technologies such as virtual reality, advanced robotics and additive manufacturing are enabling safer and more productive manufacturing facilities. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs), for example, can replace shared parts bins, delivering materials to production stations quickly and efficiently while facilitating physical distancing among human operators (Figure 2).

AGVs can help maintain physical distance between human operators by automating material delivery and other logistics tasks.

Figure 2: AGVs can help maintain physical distance between human operators by automating material delivery and other logistics tasks.

While these technological innovations have provided some relief, integrating them with existing facilities can create additional challenges. The implementation of new production processes or technologies can be costly. The redesigned production lines also must be tested, verified and validated to avoid issues as production comes back online. This is especially true at the junctures where old and new processes interact. Any problems that occur can lead to schedule overruns, delays in production ramp-up and increased cost.

It is not just original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) conforming to the new constraints of operating in response to a global pandemic. As OEMs determine how to modify their production design and strategy to account for social distancing measures, their suppliers, including Tier 1 and 2, are engaged in the same exercise. As all these companies adapt, digitalisation at the enterprise level has proven to be critical to bringing production back online safely, quickly and with greater resilience in preparation for crises of the future.

Digitalisation Enables a Smarter Way Forward

Digitalisation has helped companies to adapt their production facilities quickly to ensure social distancing and protect employee health. Modern software solutions enable production engineers to virtually plan and design production stations, lines and even entire facilities before physically implementing any changes (Figure 3). The virtual copy of a station, line or facility, known as a digital twin, can then be simulated to verify, validate, troubleshoot and optimise production designs for safety and efficiency before any machinery is commissioned or facilities reorganised. Virtual production planning and design solutions can even simulate human operators, enabling the production design to account for ergonomics and physical distancing requirements.

Digital manufacturing engineering solutions enable production facilities to be re-designed virtually. Recently, Siemens announced a new solution that helps manufacturers to simulate and manage employee exposure risks while enabling productivity throughout their facilities.

Figure 3: Digital manufacturing engineering solutions enable production facilities to be re-designed virtually. Recently, Siemens announced a new solution that helps manufacturers to simulate and manage employee exposure risks while enabling productivity throughout their facilities.

As facilities come back online and production ramps up, digital manufacturing operations management solutions have helped companies monitor and optimise the operation of their facilities. These solutions can gather production data from multiple sources and aggregate it into useful, contextualised reports. This data can then drive production scheduling optimisations, quality enhancements and more.

A robust digitalisation strategy, however, should extend beyond production design and management. Integrated solutions from product and production design through product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing operations management (MOM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) create a complete digital thread from product design into the supply chain. Such a comprehensive digital thread can help companies turn complexity, whether from operating during a pandemic or from the requirements of next generation products, into competitive advantage by streamlining operations and improving collaboration throughout their supply chains.

Nand Kochhar

Nand Kochhar

In particular, enabling more frequent and effective collaboration throughout the supply chain will be critical as OEMs and suppliers continue to recover production output and prepare for unforeseen future disruptions. Better communication among partners also will help enable OEMs and their suppliers to coordinate the ramp-up of production capabilities with market demand to avoid both excesses and shortages of product. Collaboration also facilitates the sharing of experiences and key lessons learned while adapting to the pandemic. These experiences can help inform disaster recovery plans, allowing companies to incorporate a realistic estimation of how they will react to emergency situations.

Building in Resilience Through Digitalisation

The COVID-19 pandemic has automotive manufacturing facilities and employees under particular strain. As the pandemic has progressed, automotive OEMs and suppliers have been challenged to reorganise and redesign their manufacturing facilities to keep their employees safe and healthy. Redesigning a production facility, however, is extremely difficult, and this is especially true under the pressure of responding to a major crisis.

Throughout the ongoing process of redesigning and restarting automotive manufacturing facilities, digitalisation has proven key to achieving safe and efficient production environments. Digitalised production design and simulation solutions enable engineers to quickly design and verify new configurations for production lines and stations, while MOM, PLM and ERP solutions enable greater insight into facility performance and supply chain logistics. Digitalisation has also helped automotive companies come together in a time of crisis to improve collaboration and learn from others’ experiences. As the industry continues to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lessons learned from these new partnerships will help the entire automotive industry become more resilient as they prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

 

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Siemens Workplace Distancing Solution Helps Manage ‘Next Normal’ Manufacturing

Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

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ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

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Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Through its suite of advanced and leading-edge technologies, Siemens not only helps companies digitalise to meet the needs of the new economy, but also empowers them to carry out smart innovations to succeed in the Industry 4.0 era. However, manufacturers should also focus on upskilling their workforce to fully realise the benefits of a digital factory. While new technologies possess great autonomy, humans must provide direction and control—and apart from overseeing technology, they are needed to gather, compare, analyse and apply data. Implementing Industry 4.0 technologies without knowing how to interpret, manage, and act on the insights leaves businesses with just a buzzword that has no real applicable value. There is a need for organisations to develop talent strategies, as well as build up staffing and training plans to meet the changing needs in terms of skills, job description and organisational models of the companies.

One way that Siemens is doing this is through its newly-launched Advance Manufacturing Transformation Centre (AMTC) in the Jurong Innovation District (JID) in Singapore. The AMTC is the first of its kind competence centre that provides guidance and support to manufacturing facilities in ASEAN on their journey of adoption, transition and transformation towards advanced manufacturing.

AMTC showcases state of the art Siemens digital enterprise solutions that will enable companies to create digital twin models of envisioned advance manufacturing plants. It also helps simulate, optimise and evaluate manufacturing operations before constructing the actual manufacturing facility.

Furthermore, AMTC houses Siemens’ first Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (AMEC) outside of Germany, where companies can experience an advance end-to-end additive manufacturing production line with their technology partners. Companies will be able to carry out prototyping and low-volume production with the support of on-site additive manufacturing experts, enabling a smooth transition and transformation to in-house advance manufacturing.

Aiding the Fight Against a Global Pandemic

Since the beginning of the year, the world has been grappling with a pandemic that has had an unprecedented impact in the global manufacturing supply chain, and each and everyone’s lives. However, despite its negative impact, the COVID-19 pandemic has given Industry 4.0 a booster jab—proving the necessity of innovation and digitalisation, as well as bringing down the resistance to change and collaborate, reducing the fear of new technologies, and accelerating the adoption of digital technologies.

This challenge has provided Siemens and its Industry 4.0 partners an opportunity to combine their strengths to locally develop and manufacture a face shield designed by Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) using additive manufacturing. This fully local collaboration saw the AMTC, supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), HP’s Smart Manufacturing Applications and Research Center (SMARC), and Mitsui Chemicals (Japan) come together to design, optimise and manufacture the face shields in an accelerated product introduction cycle of under two months. TTSH provided feedback during this process to ensure that the face shield provides comfort wear and allows ease of cleaning.

Through Siemens’ in-house additive manufacturing expertise and local network, the face shield design was optimised and printed using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D technology with proprietary polyamide material, that is certified biocompatible by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Mitsui Chemical’s polyolefin coating that is approved for medical use.

In a statement, Benjamin Moey, Siemens’ Head of Additive Manufacturing, APAC, said, “This face shield project has proven the capabilities and benefits of additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 technologies. It is exactly why Siemens set up the AMTC—we want to help companies to adopt advance manufacturing so as to be agile and competitive in today’s fast-changing economy.” According to Moey, Siemens’ strong and diverse ecosystem of partners allow industries to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 without the necessity of engineering from scratch each time, thus saving time and money. This is especially crucial and valuable during challenging times, such as the current COVID-19 situation.

Siemens will contribute in-kind the pilot batch of face shields to TTSH for internal use and evaluation so that TTSH can suggest any refinement, before the face shields will go into production.

Apart from this collaboration, Siemens has also opened its global additive manufacturing network to enable the efficient execution of design and printing requests by doctors, hospitals and suppliers of medical equipment in response to the ongoing global health crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

Helping Skills Enhancement

Another issue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was the loss of jobs due to stalled economic activities driven by falling demand due to lockdowns, quarantines, and movement control orders in all markets worldwide.

Singapore has been no exception. Entering a technical recession after its economy shrank by 41.2% in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter, employment is expected to be impacted. In line with this, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has launched the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme in July as part of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. The programme aims to provide traineeships and training opportunities for mid-career jobseekers impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19.

Under the programme, Siemens is partnering with SSG to launch the Advance Manufacturing (Additive Manufacturing) Learning Programme, an enterprise-based course package designed to provide trainees with up-to-date skillsets to stay relevant and better support the current wave of industrial companies undergoing digital transformation, with focus on industrial additive manufacturing (3D printing).

The course is organised into four block modules: the first three are component trainings looking at providing the basic foundation on key skillsets, namely, PLC programming, 3D design fundamentals and post processing basics;  which will prepare the trainees to undertake the final project module that could be supporting the implementation of an actual industrial project alongside Siemens specialists.

The focus topics were filtered in advance from Siemens’ 14 Corporate Core Technologies and taking into account the company’s priority ‘Make Digitalisation Work’:

  • MindSphere
  • Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence
  • Simulation & Digital Twin
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Cyber Security
  • Blockchain Applications

The six-month programme aims to equip the trainees key areas of know-how in understanding industrial digitalisation and the factory of the future, and provide the unique opportunity to apply these new skillsets to real industrial projects alongside Siemens experts.

Empowering the Future

The COVID-19 situation has forced industries to expedite manufacturing processes and programmes that otherwise would have taken more time to plan and execute in the past.

As the world faces a new normal, more businesses are expected to examine their operational set-up, explore areas that urgently require improvement, and embrace digitalisation to reshape their manufacturing and supply chains to be more productive, competitive, resilient and sustainable, while at the same time initiating programmes that would upskill the workforce to keep them up with these technology innovations. And Siemens will be along the way, empowering every stakeholder towards a better, digitalised future.

 

Check these articles out:

Siemens Workplace Distancing Solution Helps Manage ‘Next Normal’ Manufacturing

Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

Siemens Improves 3D Printing And Scanning Workflows

ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

Siemens Opens Additive Manufacturing Network

 

WANT MORE INSIDER NEWS? SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DIGITAL MAGAZINE NOW!

FOLLOW US ON: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

 

 

July/August 2020 Issue Of APMEN Magazine Is Now Available

July/August 2020 Issue Of APMEN Magazine Is Now Available

The July/August 2020 issue of Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) magazine features the latest developments happening in the world of metalworking, including new tool materials, the right spindle repair, CFRP tools, intelligent punching heads, CMM with mass technology, and the trend towards smart, automated manufacturing, and more.

Another feature in this issue is a collection of insights from industry leaders regarding their outlook for the rest of the year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—what to expect, what the business landscape could be like, what they are doing to navigate these challenges. Hear what key executives from Bystronic, igus, Siemens ASEAN, VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, and Mastercam have to say.

Read the July/August 2020 issue of APMEN magazine, now on our virtual newsstand, and available for delivery in your e-mailbox by subscribing here.

 

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Now that markets are slowly opening up and manufacturing activities are gradually restarting, many are wondering how the manufacturing industry would look like, what the new requirements will be—for customers and suppliers alike—and what the manufacturing industry should do in this ‘new normal’. In this Outlook special, six industry leaders share their thoughts on what to expect, and how to navigate through the challenges in a post-pandemic environment.

Bystronic

Norbert Seo
Senior Vice President, Market Division Asia & Australia
Bystronic

We are yet to see the breadth and depth of the impact of COVID-19.  Economies are slowly opening, but there is an overhung of the second wave.  We are still in a quagmire of uncertainties, but after more than six months of descent, data shows that we are seeing recovery slowly play out.   

Recently, we see a changing outlook wherein business owners are deciding to invest in new machines in order to have full control of their manufacturing processes and minimize reliance on third party providers.  

Additionally, we are anticipating a shift from worker-dense shop floors into automated processing wherein production continues unhampered while lightly manned/operated.  Coronavirus has advanced the need for automation in factories.

We are living a new normal.  Companies who are most agile and able to adapt will eventually thrive in these new circumstances and I am determined that this will be the case for Bystronic. 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

Lim Boon Choon
SVP Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
Korea, ASEAN, Pacific, India

 

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the important role of technology in helping people and companies rapidly adapt to fast-changing and unforeseen circumstances. Most of us have personal experience of relying heavily on cloud-based communications and data transfer during lockdown to continue collaborating and doing business remotely. At Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, for example, we moved swiftly to provide our customers with the online support, training and software they needed to remain productive as they adopted new work practices driven by the need for social distancing, as well as changes to supply and demand within their industries. 

As manufacturing operations pick up again around the world, there is a clear desire among a growing number of our customers to accelerate their automation and digitalisation journey. Workplaces may look very different post-COVID-19, both on and off the shop floor. Among the changes we’re discussing with customers is a shift from on-premise systems to secure, automated, cloud-based systems that facilitate remote data analysis and exchange. 

At the same time the economic situation means manufacturers have to weigh up any capital expenditure plans extremely carefully. Technology will play a key role in helping companies remain competitive during challenging times, but businesses are only ready to invest in automation solutions if they demonstrate a clear business benefit and can deliver results quickly. The other message we’re hearing is the importance of providing open, scalable technology systems that give our customers the flexibility to evolve in line with new market requiremets. 

igus

Haecker Carsten
Head of Asia Pacific 
igus

Optimism for the year 2020 was surrounding our thoughts before the global COVID-19 impact brought several businesses to a standstill, selectively today fighting for survival. Optimism and motivation are what drives igus in the post-COVID-19 environments.

No doubt, the crisis has also impacted our global business outlook and order intake across various industries. However, it has taught us very valuable lessons and generated ample opportunities. The crisis will not end globalization. Rather, it will lead to the questioning of some of its assumptions. In particular, it highlights the need for shorter supply chains in critical areas and the relocation of some activities closer to ‘home’.

We learned from the crisis that the supply chain can be disrupted at any time. Now, we are learning that for other critical resources like pre-materials for medical supply, we also need to stockpile in case there is a cut in supply. This was demonstrated when we witnessed the global shortage of surgical masks and other medical essentials that were taken for granted during normal times. We have learned how vulnerable they are, how concentrated the supply capacity is, and how critical these products can be. Globalization will continue because it is of common interest.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has been accelerating the push to invest in new, labour-substituting technologies. Here, in particular, 3D printing technologies, cobot support, and factory automation with smart condition monitoring will see an accelerated demand to reduce dependency on humans.

igus motion plastics products are today used in several of these applications and will continue to play a major part in all motion and moving energy demand. We accelerated product development, we managed to change our way of working, we adapted quickly to changing needs, and we never stopped investing in growth, be it space or technology.

Our online tools are readily available and our products can be completely configured via our homepage and delivered within 24 hours. Our virtual booth, showcasing our latest 2020 innovations is online and the team is ready to welcome you. Any crisis generates opportunities—we are convinced to manage this for our customers!

Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

Ben Mund
Senior Market Analyst
Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

As developers of Mastercam CAD/CAM software, we talked with shops directly as the impact of COVID-19 began taking hold. Our global manufacturing community generally sees the post-pandemic process in three stages: assessment, refinement, and expansion.

The ‘assessment’ stage moved very quickly. Shops stopped most major (and even minor) expenditures, evaluated what business they could maintain, and worked with their partners as things started to go on hold.

Many shops we speak with have moved past assessment into the ‘refinement’ phase. This is where shops say they expect many lasting changes as they aggressively re-evaluate their processes. Examples include deeper looks into their machine and software capabilities to maximize existing investments, training up staff, and refining jobs they maintain during the crisis to ensure they are as efficient as possible when new work starts coming in.

When the ‘expansion’ phase begins, it is likely the efficiency and creativity shops built up during the crisis will mean smarter capital expenditures, broader skillsets, boosted productivity and more business flexibility. These are certainly lessons we as a company have also learned as we work with our manufacturing community to help prepare shops for the next steps.

Siemens ASEAN

Dr. Thai-Lai Pham
CEO
Siemens ASEAN

COVID-19 has given Industry 4.0 a booster jab—proving the necessity of innovation and digitalization. It has also brought down the resistance to change and collaborate, reduced the fear of new technologies, and accelerated the adoption of digital technologies.

For Siemens, our investment in digitalization in the last few years have allowed us to be in a position to contribute to the community during this crisis:

  1. In March, Siemens opened the Siemens Additive Manufacturing Network for hospitals and health organizations worldwide. This digital platform brings together suppliers and customers in the field of additive manufacturing to help print spare parts for medical devices.
  2. In Singapore, we helped a hotel group to build isolation rooms for guests tested positive for COVID-19. Our team supported with HVAC optimization, ensuring proper circulation of air to avoid any risks of virus-spread.

Both of these instances would probably have taken more time to plan and execute in the past. But the COVID-19 situation forced us to expedite the process.

Moving forward, I’d expect more businesses to examine their operational set-up, explore areas that urgently require improvement, and embrace digitalization to reshape their manufacturing and supply chains to be more productive, competitive, resilient and sustainable.

VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association)

Dr Wilfried Schäfer
Managing Director 
VDW

In 2019, the ten-year boom phase in the global machine tool industry had already come to an end. That was long before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Expectations for the development of the machine tool industry were characterized by a sharp drop in international demand for 2020. A decrease in production of 18 percent was forecast for Germany. 

From today’s perspective, this will not be sufficient. However, due to the uniqueness of the crisis, it is currently not possible to foresee which result the industry will obtain at the end of the current year. The companies are now working intensively to learn their lessons from the crisis and prepare for a new start.

The machine tool manufacturers, for example, are systematically pushing ahead with digitization internally in their own production and in cooperation with their customers. Now that travel has been restricted nationwide, it has proven to be very advantageous for a company to access its installed machine base online. That could be necessary, for example, to ensure service and maintenance or to install software updates. With the universal interface umati, manufacturers can also offer their customers added value in order to optimize their production. umati now stands for machine communication in the entire mechanical and plant engineering sector and is meeting with great interest worldwide.

COVID-19 has also shown that the organisation of a resilient production is important in order to ensure the company’s own ability to deliver. After supply chains were interrupted worldwide when more and more countries went into lockdown, the establishment of robust supply structures is becoming increasingly important. This applies both to the supply of intermediate products and components and the ability to manufacture certain core components in-house.

Finally, customer contact has been interrupted by the cancellation or postponement of many trade fairs worldwide. Trade fair organizers, trade journal publishers from our industry and individual companies quickly made an effort to offer alternatives. The VDW was one of them. With the METAV Web Sessions in mid-June, we succeeded in offering exhibitors a platform that, at least, allowed them to make virtual contact with their customers. These formats will be further developed in the future.

These are just three examples of several areas that will change. They have not to be reinvented but, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, they are increasingly gaining momentum. 

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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