Sophia Judith Baechle 10/07/2017
Award-winner Christian Ralf Jähnert, who completed his Master’s thesis last year at the Amberg electronics factory using the Siemens plant simulation software, receives the 2017 VSI CES Award.
The title of the thesis says it all: “Design and Evaluation of a Flexible Cyber-Physical Production System (CPS) in Multi-Stage Electronic Production.” Jähnert wrote the Master’s thesis under the guidance of both the Chair of Production, Automation, and Production Systematics (FAPS) at the University of Erlangen and the Siemens Factory Automation Business Unit. The thesis examines the CPS approach with practical applications in the area of electronic production in the Siemens Amberg electronics factory (EWA). The concept he developed is intended to optimize the machining sequence of the products in the production system.
To evaluate the concept, a digital twin was created in the production facility using real production data within an event-discrete simulation environment, employing the Siemens Tecnomatix plant simulation software. This model simultaneously laid the foundation for implementing the cyber-physical control concept, which permits a direct comparison with the conventional production control approach under identical conditions. The results of the simulation studies show that using the cyber-physical control concept improves the target variables underlying the target dimensions by as much as 23 percent, compared with the conventional control concept.
The Carl-Eduard-Schulte Foundation jury singled out the thesis for the 2017 VDI CES Award because it establishes a basis for manufacturing personalized electronic products at the cost of a mass-market product. The foundation awards the prize every year to graduates of technical colleges, universities, and vocational colleges in Germany for outstanding and trailblazing undergraduate and Master’s thesis in the field of production engineering.
Kristina Dotzauer 26/06/2017
Can I rely on the installed power supply, or have there been recent outages that were bad for business? Is the type of my supply the most cost-effective solution or are there alternatives that will save money? How will my requirements change in the years ahead? These are examples of the kinds of questions asked by many operators of industrial facilities in the face of growing requirements.
Without power there is no business. This statement holds true for all sectors, whether in the manufacturing or the process industry. Heavy industry is no exception – in fact, it requires tremendously high volumes of energy for activities such as processing chemicals or smelting steel. “As a result, energy costs in the steel processing, oil and gas, and basic chemical industries account for a significantly higher share of the overall costs. In the energy-intensive mining sector, complex operating conditions also need to be taken into account,” explains Dr. Alexander Rentschler, head of Product Lifecycle Management at Siemens Transmission Solutions. “As a result of the large distances to a well-developed infrastructure and the climate extremes that often prevail in these areas, the highest level of reliability in the power supply is required – which high-voltage solutions offer.”
Efficient power transmission
In heavy industry, an efficient power supply is thus one of the most important factors when it comes to remaining competitive. Here, too, high voltage offers the right approach. “Direct current transmission can be used to efficiently transmit power over long distances. This means that plants that are far removed from the grid can be connected not only reliably, but also cost-effectively,” explains Dr. Rentschler. “Direct current transmission technology is generally suitable for all applications where power producers are located far from consumers. Staying with the area of heavy industry, the best example of this are mines, or the back-up supply for industrial parks. This technology also supplies the basis for state-of-the-art grids by efficiently connecting distant energy production centers, such as oil and gas platforms via high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission .” As a pioneer in the field of direct current technology, Siemens Transmission Solutions also offers a power transmission solution in the medium power range (medium-voltage direct current (MVDC) transmission).
An additional benefit of direct current transmission can be found, in particular, in countries with a poor grid infrastructure. This approach provides for a more reliable connection to the high-voltage grid because it simply bypasses local networks, which are often more prone to failure – in other words, it taps into the power directly at the source. This feature opens up yet another benefit, as Dr. Alexander Rentschler explains: “Any place where high availability must be ensured through a redundant power supply – this applies not only to heavy industry, but also to data centers, for instance – must have a second connection to the high-voltage grid in addition to the supply through the regional grid.”
Alternatively to DC transmission, Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) increase the reliability of AC grids and reduce power delivery costs. They improve transmission quality and efficiency of power transmission by supplying inductive or reactive power to the grid. The Industrial SVC is usually put near high and rapidly varying loads, such as arc furnaces, where they can smooth flicker voltage.
Grid connection for any situation
High-voltage substations are used to connect energy-intensive facilities to the grid. Products such as e-houses or mobile substations offer alternative solutions that are ideally suited for time-critical projects as well as for distant operating locations where the installation of a conventional substation would be difficult.
The innovative high-voltage solutions, combined with Siemens Transmission Solutions’ years of implementation experience, offer a solution for a reliable power supply even when large volumes of energy are involved.
Learn more about integrated power supply solutions for industries, buildings, and infrastructure facilities in our blogs about the automotive, chemical industry, building technology, microgrids, and cybersecurity sectors.
To be sure you’re always up to date, follow us on our Twitter channel @siemensindustry or on LinkedIn. And for energy related topics, follow our Twitter feed Siemens Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page.
Andreas Milbradt 14/06/2017
In the MindSphere Lounge at Hannover Messe, Microsoft introduced its portfolio for MindSphere, the cloud-based open IoT operating system. Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure strengthens MindSphere in the areas of infrastructure and analysis. And Microsoft plans to make further functions available on MindSphere.
Simple connection to Microsoft products
MindSphere on Microsoft Azure includes hosting of MindSphere on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Microsoft Azure offers additional functions that are also available on MindSphere, including the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which provides services for big data applications as well as machine learning. A further advantage is that many Microsoft applications can easily be integrated into MindSphere through their connection to Office 365 or Visual Studio. Microsoft Azure creates a variety of interfaces to established software solutions in this way. Microsoft also provides .NET support to make it easier to program applications in the future.
Hardware for new service models
In the MindSphere Lounge, Microsoft gave a presentation to show how the Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset can be used to visualize data from MindSphere, making it possible to perform future remote support service work using digital images. In the live demo, visitors in the MindSphere Lounge were able to check the current status of a S7-1500 controller in a digital image from Microsoft HoloLens. Via the mixed-reality headset, experts from a service center are connected and can see the same thing as workers on site and can give the workers information that will appear directly on the HoloLens display. This technology can be used on different devices and machines to enable faster repairs and maintenance. This is leading to new business and service models for OEMs and end customers which are now possible thanks to MindSphere in combination with hardware such as Microsoft HoloLens.
Tobias Knieling 01/06/2017
The SINAMICS Winder Project Assistant guides the user through a graphical interface, step by step, to configure a complete winder and tension control solution for SINAMICS S120 Drive Systems.
Software generation instead of programming – the winder standard application for SINAMICS S120 has everything required for efficient winder engineering.
Parameterization based on parameter lists is not necessary – users just define their desired configuration in selection tables offered by the Project Assistant.
The diagnostic view of the Project Assistant allows a later performance optimization of the winder drives. Through the online interface to the drive, parameters can be individually modified with the Project Assistant.
Kristina Dotzauer 19/05/2017
Increasingly, companies must provide smaller batch sizes and individualized products in order to meet their customers’ requirements. A secure energy supply is vital when it comes to reliable and efficient production. However, centralized grids are prone to disruption and cause a complete standstill in production in the event of an outage. Microgrids and TIP offer a decentralized, secure, and efficient solution.
Traditional power grids supply energy – at least most of the time. But when environmental damage or security breaches threaten the grid, it can lead to widespread outages in the entire service area. This presents major problems to industrial companies in particular because these types of outages cost a great deal of money. And this is something that no one can afford in the age of increasingly individualized products, shorter production times, and batch sizes that are becoming ever smaller. With microgrids and our Totally Integrated Power (TIP) power supply portfolio, we offer companies a holistic approach for a decentralized, secure, and integrated energy supply.
Complete control over your own power grid
“Microgrids are small, independent power grids,” explains Heike Onken, an expert in distribution grid applications. “They can be operated as part of the main grid as well as fully autonomously.” To ensure optimal operation, they need to be perfectly tailored to the specific requirements. With our SICAM Microgrid Manager, we help companies to plan and dimension microgrids to meet the needs of their plant.
To be independent of the main grid, microgrids primarily rely on power from renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, photovoltaic systems, and cogeneration power plants. Generating energy from renewable resources, however, can be unpredictable and lead to fluctuations and imbalances between generation and load. These factors have an impact on the grid stability and the supply quality. With SIESTORAGE we offer an optimal solution to stabilize the grid and integrate more renewable energy sources. This enables companies to avoid peak loads or to access an alternative energy supply in the event of a failure.
With software and hardware products, systems, and solutions from our TIP portfolio, we enable companies to enjoy a reliable and secure power supply along the entire value chain of their plant. This makes the energy flow significantly more targeted and efficient – while simultaneously reducing operating costs.
Thanks to their decentralized structure, microgrids are also less susceptible than the main grid to weather-related power outages and cyberattacks. This provides companies with a secure energy supply – and thus reliable operation. If a disruption ever does occur, our integrated systems and solutions ensure that the system is immediately restarted, independently of external power sources – a black start – and smoothly resynchronizes the system with the main grid. With this approach, we increase the sustainability of the microgrid.
Reliable power supply for Mexico’s mines
Grupo Mexico, a Mexican mining firm, is using our individually configurable control technology in an industrial microgrid to tap into hidden potential. In its Buenavista del Cobre copper mine, the company automated the data acquisition and developed a maintenance approach that can be implemented during ongoing operation.
During this process, the most important goal was to reduce the number of operational disruptions and major maintenance standstills – along with the associated additional costs. Our integrated solution consists of an energy storage system, a data network, and the configuration of substations with SICAM PAS technology.
Our Spectrum Power grid control platform as a central element makes it possible to display consumption reports in real-time. This creates greater transparency and boosts competitiveness. As a result, the mine was able to reduce downtime by 60 percent, cut the operational risk for the staff, and save a substantial amount of money.
This example shows that, even in challenging environments, microgrids are a good option for remaining sustainable in an age when power grids are becoming increasingly intelligent. Thanks to their flexibility and consistency, microgrids are the key to a secure, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly energy supply.
Andreas Milbradt 18/05/2017
At the Hannover Messe, our partner Bluvision demonstrated just how easily functioning solutions can be made available on MindSphere. As an Industrial IoT specialist for beacons and SaaS-based solutions, Bluvision is making its hardware and software solution for condition monitoring and real-time location tracking available – quickly and cost-effectively – in MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens.
One of our first MindSphere partners is Bluvision, whose offering was also presented in the MindSphere Lounge at our Hannover Messe booth. The U.S. company provides Bluetooth sensors for condition monitoring and real-time location tracking. The sensor data can then be visualized and analyzed in a specially programmed application. Bluvision is now making this IoT solution available on MindSphere.
Collecting data intelligently
Bluvision manufactures compact, low-energy Bluetooth devices known as beacons, which can simply be attached to devices and then start collecting data. Beacons are suitable for any type of mechanical equipment, such as conveyor belts, water pumps, bearings, etc. The product’s distinctive feature is that a beacon does not have to be configured for the corresponding device, but learns on its own. The sensor measures temperature and vibration and creates a profile of normal values based on the measured values. The recorded data is then collected from BluFi gateways via Bluetooth and transmitted directly to MindSphere via WLAN for analysis, which is performed using a suitable application. The condition of individual machines can thus be monitored and operators can respond to developing failures at an early stage or before the failure happens. Bluvision offers an easy-to-install, straightforward sensor network for carrying out preventive maintenance for a variety of devices.
Real-time location tracking, easily implemented
In addition to condition monitoring, the Bluvision sensor network also enables real-time location tracking. For instance, if equipment or inventory is equipped with a beacon, this beacon can be tracked in real time at an accuracy within one meter. Customers can use the Bluvision application Bluzone to display the locations of all objects fitted with beacons, and thus maintain an overview of all work processes. Using the condition data of the monitored machines, they can monitor the work processes and machine availability at any time in order to check and improve the system’s efficiency. Apart from providing real-time location visibility, Bluvision’s location-based solutions also provide history of path, dwell times and deeper analytics.
By providing the technology to MindSphere, Bluvision is enhancing the Siemens IoT operating system with a complete solution for an intelligent sensor network.
Andreas Milbradt 29/04/2017
To be able to analyze MindSphere data, MindSphere works with partners such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). This cloud platform provider also presented its cooperation with our IoT operating system in the MindSphere Lounge at the Hannover Messe.
Everything comes together on the Internet of Things. Information from innumerable machines is collected, but the added value comes primarily from analyzing this information. As an IoT operating system, MindSphere is the platform where the efficiency of the connected machines can be improved through intelligent analyses. MindSphere customers thus boost their systems’ productivity.
AWS provides the global infrastructure
Amazon Web Services provides both its cloud infrastructure and its services to Siemens. Through the provision of the AWS infrastructure, MindSphere customers receive access to the 42 Availability Zones operated by AWS. Specifically, these zones consist of physical locations with multiple data centers that are distributed in clusters around the world and that have a redundant power supply and connectivity. In addition, applications can be hosted in the country where they are actually used in order to comply with internal company rules and legal regulations. MindSphere and AWS are thus able to offer solutions that are highly available and scalable.
Digital services enhance MindSphere
However, there’s more to AWS than just the provision of data centers. MindSphere customers benefit from the services made available through AWS, such as Amazon Athena, Amazon Elastic MapReduce, and Amazon CloudSearch. The package also includes artificial intelligence and security solutions. Thanks to the cooperation with AWS, MindSphere customers can use these digital services as needed to intelligently process machine and system data quickly and without a lot of effort.
Andreas Milbradt 27/04/2017
MindSphere demonstrates how new technologies lead to new business models. This is precisely what Accenture views as its strength: being at this intersection of business and technology. The company uses its expertise to support customers in their digital transformation and is thus a perfect partner for MindSphere. Accenture is one of eight partners presenting its offerings in the MindSphere Lounge at Hannover Messe.
Accenture’s orientation as a company active in the areas of strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations fits perfectly with the requirements of MindSphere. Together with Siemens, Accenture offers a comprehensive portfolio for tailored solutions for MindSphere customers. Fundamental consulting services – for defining new business models with a subsequent road map, for example, or validating a concept – are among Accenture’s offerings along with the scaling and implementation of applications. Accenture thus establishes the link between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) for its customers in an open, cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens.
Tapping into new business models
Especially for machine builders and industrial equipment suppliers, the linking of OT and IT opens up the previously untapped opportunities for new business models. Plans can be devised more reliably and decisions made on a well-founded basis thanks to data-driven analyses. MindSphere helps companies to reduce costs and produce more efficiently through predictive maintenance. Studies performed by Accenture revealed that this can reduce maintenance costs by 30 percent and the number of stoppages by as much as 70 percent. The MindSphere solutions provided by Accenture enable OEMs to take advantage of these new business and service models and fully leverage the digital transformation. This results in a win-win situation: OEMs benefit from new business models, and their customers benefit from higher plant availability.
Remote monitoring and remote services
Accenture is currently demonstrating in the MindSphere Lounge what its solutions look like. The Connected Asset Manager monitoring application visualizes all connected devices and machines on a world map and monitors their status. If a previously defined maximum value is exceeded, the application triggers an alarm to allow companies to respond to indicators such as excessive temperatures or elevated motor speeds at an early stage and thus prevent downtimes. Accenture is exhibiting a model at the trade show to demonstrate how the Connected Asset Manager works when implemented. Visitors can see just how easily a robot can be connected to the cloud.
In addition, Accenture also offers a remote maintenance solution. With the Connected Worker solution, an on-site employee can, for example, access data from MindSphere via a hardhat with integrated augmented-reality (AR) glasses. The collected data helps the employee recognize weak points or problems while servicing the machine. Optionally, an expert can also be consulted. This expert sees the colleague’s local work area through the AR glasses and can insert visual cues in the AR glasses’ field of view. This technology is also suitable for remote training sessions.
Visit the MindSphere lounge at our Hannover Messe booth in hall 9, D 35, to gain further insight into our partners’ work.
Andreas Milbradt 26/04/2017
Just as at SPS IPC Drives, our partners are presenting their offerings for our open, cloud-based IoT operating system at this year’s Hannover Messe in the MindSphere Lounge. Atos, one of our first MindSphere partners, is also demonstrating its solutions. The company uses its wide range of IT and digital services in various applications for MindSphere.
It has long since ceased to be a secret that data is the key to fully exploiting the potential of digitalization. However, it’s not enough to just collect the data. The real key lies in processing the data. And it’s precisely this processing that Atos offers through its end-to-end solutions for MindSphere. The company’s areas of expertise include consulting services as well as implementation. Use-case consulting and rapid prototyping help the company quickly find the right solution to meet customers’ requirements. Atos then evaluates the solution’s feasibility in a proof of concept and its added value in a proof of value.
Expertise in developing applications
After a design phase comes the implementation, for which Atos likewise offers support for all the necessary steps. In terms of app development for MindSphere, Atos utilizes the experience it has gained from previously implemented applications. Currently, Atos’ portfolio comprises 12 applications, most of which are already offered as a mobile version. After programming the app, Atos supports customers during integration and implementation, thus offering support from the idea phase all the way through until the application is running.
One app from Atos is Manufacturing Sustainability, in which users can display the energy consumption from production data for the entire factory as well as for individual machines or jobs. The database thus created not only provides a general picture of consumption – in order to help a company adhere to its own specifications, for example – but also uncovers potential savings that can improve the sustainability of manufacturing.
Atos apps live at the Siemens booth
Representatives at the Siemens booth are also presenting what previously implemented applications look like in practice. Directly below the MindSphere Lounge, visitors can view a demonstration of two of Atos’ apps, Process Quality and Filling & Packaging Performance. These are demonstrated in an application for the food and beverage industry in which customers can have their own individual milkshake bottled. By analyzing process performance, customers always have an eye on a plant’s productivity and quality in the area of filling and packaging. Through the integration of multiple systems at different production sites, customers can view the app’s dashboards to see information on availability, quality, and performance. The Filling & Packaging Performance app uses the values to calculate overall equipment effectiveness, allowing customers to monitor the equipment’s performance at any time. As a result, customers can monitor average and reference values after just a short time. Furthermore, the app also displays the values of individual sites and machines. Deviating values in production are then displayed at the touch of a button, and the faulty value of the batch is highlighted. In this way, Filling & Packaging Performance provides a comprehensive overview of filling and packaging, from the company level right down to the individual machines.
Andreas Milbradt 26/04/2017
The MindSphere Lounge floats above our booth at the Hannover Messe. We’re making topics related to digitalization, Industrie 4.0, and IoT tangible through numerous presentations by Siemens and our partners as well as through an impressive backdrop with a 180° video installation. Visit us at the Hannover Messe at our booth in Hall 9, D35, and discover the MindSphere Lounge.
MindSphere, our open, cloud-based IoT operating system, is steadily growing. More and more partners are making a contribution to the MindSphere ecosystem, ranging from infrastructure to applications. To this end, we’re offering improved connectivity – in the future, it will be possible to use even more devices to connect machines and plants to MindSphere. The MindSphere applications from Siemens, MindApps for short, then enable users to collect and analyze machine data. Moreover, many of our partners are also working on applications for MindSphere that meet specific customer requests. At the Hannover Messe, our breathtaking MindSphere Lounge offers the ideal stage for presenting MindSphere in general, along with our partners’ offerings and our new MindSphere startup cooperation.
Space for partners
Next to the stage of the MindSphere Lounge, you can gain insights into collaboration with MindSphere at our partners’ tables. In addition to Atos, Evosoft, and Microsoft, who already participated as MindSphere partners at SPS IPC Drives 2016, the number of partners continues to increase. Accenture, Amazon Web Services, Bluvision, and SAP will now present their contributions to the MindSphere ecosystem in the MindSphere Lounge at the Hannover Messe. Follow our Competitive Industries blog to gain further insight over the next few days into our partners’ work.
Dynamic spirit through startups
In addition to our collaboration with the companies just mentioned, we’re already working on other cooperation agreements. In the cloud environment, startups in particular offer enormous potential. The speed and diversity for which startups are known greatly contribute to developments of the Internet of Things. For this reason, MindSphere is increasingly seeking out partnerships with young companies. Together with next47, Siemens’ own unit for startups, we’re incorporating this dynamic spirit into our ecosystem. Working jointly with our well-known partners, we’re providing selected startups with access to MindSphere and selected use cases. This cooperation with young companies will continue to grow in the coming months. Two pilot projects are already running today with the companies Coresystems and Seeq. To subsequently expand the project, we’ll launch the global MindSphere Rocket Club startup program in autumn 2017.
You can find a complete overview of all presentations related to MindSphere on the Events page of the MindSphere Lounge