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  • Ursula Lang 20/02/2017

    Siemens set to modernize Portugal's ports


    • Since 2001, Siemens solutions for port terminals have helped reduce CO2 emissions by 74,000 tons
    • Siemens technology enabled savings of 8.7 million euros
    • Siemens Portugal was chosen by the parent company to be its International Engineering Hub for Cargo Handling Systems in seaports



    Lisboa, Portual. With the help of the country's ports Portugal has boosted its exports. By investing heavily in the modernization of the ports, the country is making a difference on the international scene. Thanks to the proven efficiency, productivity and sustainability of its solutions, Siemens has played a key role in this process.


    Domestically, Siemens' solutions for port terminals have helped reduce CO2 emissions of these infrastructures by 74,000 tons and saved about 8.7 million euros since 2001 euros. These projects have both increased cargo-handling capacities and improved the energy performance of all Portuguese port infrastructures.


    This press release (portugese) is available here

  • Ursula Lang 17/02/2017

    Gliding through Venice - New electrically propelled tourist boat sets new standards



    Venice/Italy. The City of Venice has joined forces with tourist boat operator Alilaguna and the shipyard Cantieri Vizianello in a new departure which is set to transform the propulsion systems used in the small boats which travel the narrow canals in and around Venice. With the “Scossa”, an electrically propelled boat designed to carry around 40 passengers, the lagoon city has come up with a new sustainable solution which aims to reduce both noise and emissions. The electric motor which powers the “Scossa” comes from Siemens. Plans already exist for additional boats using the same propulsion method.


    In Venice, boats are as common a method of transport as cars have become in other cities. On the many major and minor canal routes which cut through the lagoon city, they are used as a vital method of transporting both tourists and the local population. With the “Scossa” project, Venice has now taken the bold step towards electrically propelled tourist boats, with a view to cutting emissions and noise pollution in the historic waterways lined by tall, narrow buildings. The operating company Alilaguna and the shipyard Cantieri Vizianello opted for electric motor technology from Siemens to build the “Scossa”, the first small craft of its kind.


    Making no waves

    The technology used, which sets new standards for all kinds of smaller water craft, has already been in existence in the automotive sector and has now been adapted for marine environments. The electric motor comes from the automotive experience. It’s a traction drive, adapted to the marine application but keeping the original small dimensions and bringing together the reliability requested by public transportation. The Elfa traction drives tailored into the Siship ecoprop application have been integrated into state-of-the-art LFMP batteries from Valence.

    The power onboard comes from a Elfa 180 kilowatts (kW) permanent magnet synchronous machine or from the battery pack and feed the Elfa 180 kW propulsion motor through Elfa Mono frequency converters and Sinamics DCP converter.    

    The batteries are stowed under the bench seats inside the boat and provide sufficient power for a tour of the Canale Grande through Venice’s popular historic center. The batteries are then recharged by a generator as the boat travels on routes located away from the center. In this part of its cycle, the boat is not 100 percent electrically propelled but switches to a “diesel-electric” propulsion system. Once out into the open lagoon, this diesel propulsion charges the batteries and is capable of achieving speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour, corresponding to around 16 knots. In the narrow canals of the historic center, the boat travels in electric mode at around five/seven kilometers per hour, in other words three to four knots. This allows the boat to glide completely noiselessly, without emissions and creating only minimal waves through the heart of Venice. “It’s like travelling on a sailing boat but is primarily a gesture of love for the city in which we live and work,” explains Fabio Sacco, President of Alilaguna. “We are presenting ‘Scossa’ as the vanguard of a whole new generation of boats, and we are just at the outset of realizing number two.” The “Scossa” is 15 meters long, a good three meters wide and is able to accommodate 40 guests.


    Well on the way

    “The use of sustainable solutions in the marine sector is already widespread in the cruise ship industry, while progress tends to be more sporadic among the smaller marine vessels. This is a small contribution towards sustaining the city we all firmly believe in, and marks the start of a drive towards the increasing construction of more environmentally friendly marine vessels in the future,” explains Fabio Sacco. “Thanks to the know-how and skills we’ve acquired over the years, we have achieved not only an advanced application in terms of technology,” says Giuliano Busetto, Country Division Lead for Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives, Siemens Italy, “but one that is also safe and reliable. With this achievement, Siemens Italy is providing proof both of its engineering competence, and also its innovative capability as a driver of green and sustainable solutions.”




    To achieve a sustainable reduction of noise and pollutant emissions, the city of Venice is looking to deploy electrically propelled tourist vessels in the future – the “Scossa” fitted with Siemens electric motors is just the beginning.

    Its battery-fed electric motor permits the “Scossa” to glide along the Canale Grande and through the narrow waterways of Venice completely noiselessly and without harmful emissions.

  • Ursula Lang 16/02/2017

    Siemens joins partners to drive forward digitalization of industrial production

    • Research project “Road to Digital Production (R2D)” targets implementation of the smart factory concept
    • Execution as part of the “Information and Communication Technology” program funded by the Free State of Bavaria
    • Project implementation in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, its Fraunhofer Center for Applied Research on Supply Chain Services SCS and the companies iTiZZiMO and KINEXON


    Siemens is joining forces with three partners to take part in the research project “Road to Digital Production (R2D)” supported by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Media, Energy and Technology which is aimed at developing improved technologies, interfaces and infrastructures for the implementation of digital industrial production. Since September 2016, the interdisciplinary team of experts has been working to digitally map and integrate the process landscape of industrial mass production down to the workshop level.


    Siemens and its associates, the Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer SCS, iTiZZiMO and KINEXON, launched the research project “Road to Digital Production (R2D)” sponsored by the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs as part of its Digital Bavaria Initiative. The declared aim of the 26-month project is to advance the development of products and technologies enabling the implementation of digital industrial production. The research and development project will set out to demonstrate that digitalization will not only increase efficiency but also pave the way for optimum quality assurance. With this objective in view, it will be helping to develop new technologies for Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPPS) and defining principles and methods for batch size 1 manufacture and assembly of a product.


    This press release is available here

  • Ursula Lang 15/02/2017

    fresh off the press: Siemens MediaService February 2017 – Industry News



    The February issue of the MediaService gets off to a flying start with two product announcements as well as four application reports from the world of drives and automation. A new Line Module which supports Long Term Evolution (LTE) is being launched to extend the Ruggedcom RX1500 portfolio. From the field of Scalance network components, a new direct access point is available for wireless applications with high bandwidths. Turning our attention to application reports, we read about a new filling station for aircraft de-icing fluid using Siemens automation and RFID technology. Next, we hear how control and CAD technology from Siemens enable the precise production of spare parts for Moto Guzzi motorcycles, which will allow even discontinued original parts for these coveted bikes to be reliably reproduced in the future. Complex control technology is the subject of an article about the 2.5-kilometer two-lane San Fedele Tunnel, where tunnel automation is setting new standards through improved integration, improving safety for all tunnel users. And finally, Siemens product lifecycle software takes care of ensuring sustainable lighting. The use of Solid Edge software saves a manufacturer time spent designing individual bespoke products, while increasing the production rate of its rugged, impact-resistant lighting systems.

    We hope that you find the MediaService useful in your editorial work.



    Read more at:

    MediaService February 2017


    MediaService Digithek  

  • Ursula Lang 14/02/2017

    Giants take to the air - The world’s biggest cargo plane transports motors for ore mills in Chile


    Berlin/Leipzig, Germany/Chile. Coordinating tight schedules with the transport of unusual cargos calls for out-of-the-ordinary solutions. In this case, the Chilean mining company Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi SCM commissioned Siemens to supply and implement drive systems for four ore mills in Northern Chile. The only way to transport these gigantic motors as quickly as possible from the manufacturing plant in Berlin to Chile entailed using another giant: The Antonov 225, the world’s biggest cargo aircraft.


    One of the world’s biggest copper ore operations in Chile, new drive systems for four ore mills, minimal project lead times, gigantic motors and a long transport route – these were the framework conditions and the challenges posed by the client, Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi SCM based in Las Condes/Chile. The company commissioned Siemens to modernize the drive systems of four ore mills at one of its copper mines in Northern Chile with the installation of dual pinion drives: for two 8 megawatt SAG mills and two 1.7 megawatt ball mills.


    A giant to transport giants

    Alongside six 4,000 and six 4,850 kilowatt synchronous motors, the drive solutions commissioned also included the relevant Flender couplings Zapex and furthermore converters Sinamics SL150 with thyristor columns as well as transformers. To ensure adherence to the tight project schedule of just under six months, a decision was taken to opt for express air freight delivery instead of using the sea route. The four gigantic motors from Dynamowerk Berlin which were urgently required in advance for production line two were accordingly transported by truck as a wide load to Leipzig Airport. From here, the precious cargo – each motor weighing 42 tons – continues its journey in another giant: the world’s largest cargo aircraft, the type Antonov 225, with a payload of 160 tons. Despite the impressive external dimensions of the four motors, this 84-meter-long colossus was easily able to accommodate the freight and fly it to Chile in record time. The remaining motors embarked on their journey to Chile by ship.


    Rapid commissioning

    As the new system is capable of installation within just 13 days using the foundations of the motors being replaced, costly mill standstill time can be substantially reduced. The standardized system design enables the operators to now also enjoy the benefits of controllable drives in the ball mills. The direct converters and new automation systems are installed in new pre-assembled E-Houses (Electrical Houses) which were fully developed, produced and pre-tested in the Siemens plant in Santiago/Chile. This simplified their direct connection and commissioning on site. Given the mine’s location at an altitude of over 4,200 meters, particular attention was paid to the electrical and thermal dimensioning of the components.



    85 meters in length and with capacity for 160 tons of freight – the Antonov 225 is the world’s biggest cargo aircraft and precisely the right solution to transport the giant mill drives from Siemens.

    The four motors for the ore mills in Chile are easily accommodated in the Antonov’s cavernous belly after being transported as a wide load by truck from the Dynamowerk Berlin to Leipzig airport.

  • Ursula Lang 13/02/2017

    Over 100 years in operation - Production in historic plaster factory optimized with Siemens hardware



    Bex/Switzerland. Fixit AG is a part of the Fixit Group and operates a total of five producing locations in the Alpine Republic for the manufacture of render and mortar products containing plaster and cement. Its Bex factory was overdue a refit of the entire control, command and power regulation system, for which Fixit relies on hardware components from Siemens. The manufacturer was able to implement the new solution without the need to shut down production, and manufacturing times have now been tangibly reduced.


    Plaster has been produced in the Fixit AG plaster factory in Bex in Switzerland since 1896 – nowadays with an output of around 5,500 tons every single week. The company is part of the Fixit Group, and alongside the factory in Bex operates a further five locations in Switzerland. To ensure that this historic plaster factory, automated since 1982, continued to run profitably, it was time to think about renovation. The company Bühler Entreprises Monthey SA was commissioned with implementing the project, and opted to equip the control room with hardware components from Siemens.


    Central control unit

    One of the challenges facing the project was to ensure that production and deliveries continued as normal during implementation of the new system components – despite a complete renewal of the entire control, command and power regulation system. This includes low-voltage distribution, the drive components, control elements and alarms as well as automation programming. The plaster factory’s central control unit now comprises two S7-1500 controllers: one Simatic1515-2 PN for the plaster kiln and a Simatic 1516-3 PN/DP for the milling process, drying and firing. For both controllers, power is reliably supplied via the power module PM 190 W.


    More efficient production

    The Simatic controllers receive signals from the operators and around 450 pressure, temperature, position detection, rotation control, contact and level sensors from the Siemens product series Sitop PSE200U and Simatic ET 200SP, adding up to a total of 3000 input signals. These use a complete IO Link control module to control around a hundred Sirius motor drives ranging between 1 and 32 amperes of three-phase current. Time management, audits and recording are taken care of by the Simatic WinCC software engineered in the TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal WinCC V13.


    “The selection of new technologies enabled the production time to be substantially reduced,” reports Factory Manager Léonard Maret, clearly delighted with the outcome.



    The plaster is stored in the circular hall. The entire structure rotates around its own axis, ensuring homogenization of the raw material.

    Control system from left to right: Simatic S7-1500 as the central processing and power supply unit (PS 60W 24/48/60V CC) and the input (DI 32x24VDC HF) and output (DQ 32x24VDC/0.5A ST) modules E/S, each with 16 channels.

    Using Sirius threephase motor starters with complete I/O link control module, the cabling work involved can be tangibly reduced. The relevant RCCB is visible on the right.

    The control center operator panel: At the top the previous overview panel which has been kept for training purposes, below the new supplementary digital system.

  • Ursula Lang 10/02/2017

    Everything in view A control system for remote control of 50 locks and water bridges



    Tilburg/The Netherlands. The Dutch Government launched the “Brugman” project to allow the convenient remote control of 50 water bridges and locks. The project envisaged merging the functions of four former control rooms within a single new top-level visualization system. This allows employees to actuate any bridge or lock directly from any workstation. Alongside additional components such as the Simatic WinCC Open Architecture (WinCC OA) Scada system, the Simatic S7-416H from Siemens was chosen as the central programmable logic controller (PLC).


    Although the Netherlands is a small country in terms of its surface area, it is populated with a relatively high number of bridges. In Amsterdam alone, there are just under 1,300 of them, meaning that the city ranks third among European cities with the most bridges. By staging the “Brugman” project to enable the remote control of 50 water bridges and locks, the Dutch government has now replaced four former control rooms in Tilburg, Helmond, Oosterhout and Schijndel by a single new top-level visualization system. The central component of this extensive project is the Simatic WinCC Open Architecture Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (Scada) system from Siemens.


    Complete integration into the automation

    Alongside automation, for which the standardized interface OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) was used to enable integration of the bridges and locks, a redundant Simatic WinCC Open Architecture (WinCC OA) Scada system and 18 clients are in use. The Scada system processes a total of 15,000 process variables. A variety of interfaces enable connection to closed circuit television (CCTV) display walls, CCTV-IP cameras and an audio system. Using a card reader integrated in WinCC OA at each client, users can log into the system using their company card and so also remotely access the control system. The Scada user interface for each individually remote-controlled bridge or lock is displayed as a remote desktop session, which also runs locally at the bridge.

    A large number of maintenance functions are also integrated, including checks in the running system, connection monitoring, de-energized safety routing, direct access to CCTV cameras and the start-up of Virtual Network Computing (VNC) to any system.


    Safe, convenient handling

    As a result of integrating all the components into a single control system, operators are now able to directly, flexibly and safely control each bridge and each lock from any workstation. There are eight workstations available for the purpose in the control room, from which 16 bridges or locks can be operated simultaneously (two per workstation).



    The four former control rooms in Tilburg, Helmond, Oosterhout and Schijndel have been merged to create a single top-level visualization system, enabling the remote control of 50 water bridges and locks.

    Employees can use a company card to log into the control system and so access the bridge and lock control from any workstation.

    There are eight workstations available in the central control station from which up to 16 locks and bridges can be controlled simultaneously.

  • Ursula Lang 08/02/2017

    Clinically clean - Plant for cleaning endoprosthetic implants is automated using Simatic and TIA Portal


    Nauen, Germany. Gerätetechnik Brieselang GmbH (GTB) is a company which manufactures physical and chemical cleaning systems. For a plant which uses ultrasonic technology to clean artificial joints, the company relies on the Siemens Simatic S7-1500 controller, alongside the relevant I/O, control panels and complete engineering in the TIA portal. The benefits: reduced engineering effort, rapid error localization and remedy, and prevention of standstill periods.


    Endoprostheses such as artificial hip or knee joints enable patients suffering with joint conditions to enjoy a normal and pain-free life after implantation. As the implants have to remain indefinitely in the body, they require laborious cleaning prior to sterilization. The company Gerätetechnik Brieselang GmbH (GTB) based in Nauen builds state-of-the-art ultrasound cleaning systems for this purpose, which comply with the stringent standards of medical technology. The company has specialized in the production of these and similar cleaning plants used to clean products for automotive, optics, semi-conductor and medical technology applications. For the final cleaning of prostheses, GTB has constructed a plant comprising two sections for technical pre-cleaning and validatable precision cleaning. The plant is controlled by a Simatic S7 from Siemens and engineered using the TIA Portal.


    50 programs ensure perfect cleaning

    As they pass through the 15 processing stations – nine of which work with ultrasonic technology – the endoprosthetic implants are cleaned with a cycle time of between two and seven minutes depending on the specification. Measuring only 30 square meters, and comprising an integrated water treatment system, automatic cleaning agent dispensing function, conductivity monitoring and individual pneumatic oscillators to shake the frames, the plant is automated by the Simatic S7-1500. It controls up to 50 cleaning programs and 120 parameters per frame. The status of an on-going cleaning process is indicated on high-resolution TP900 and TP1500 Simatic Comfort Panels in which the maintenance plan is stored, and which also enable simple remote access to the plant, as all the devices are networked over Profinet. The operator terminals can be remotely controlled over WinCC Sm@artServer. In addition, the panels are used for employee identification by means of a barcode scanner and for accessing whichever cleaning program is required. The program sequence is documented in detail using the RFID chips mounted on the individual frames, which allow assignment to the relevant cleaning status and the currently running program.


    Trouble-free, high performance cleaning

    There are three distributed control cabinets mounted on the back of the plant which accommodate the Simatic ET 200SP modular I/O. If a problem arises, the I/O system alerts the service technician using the necessary diagnostic functions. The ET 200SP also logs control-relevant sensor data and activates the necessary actuators. Incoming and outgoing data is captured by the Profinet interface module at millisecond intervals. The compact design of the I/O offers a major benefit, as it allows the sensors to be laid directly using 3-wire technology, even with 8-channel input modules. This saves using additional external terminal blocks and so cuts not only costs but potential sources of error by reducing the number of connection points.


    When it comes to engineering, GTB relies on the TIA Portal, which allows many of the program modules from the Simatic S7-315 it used previously to be migrated to the new CPU. Summing up the project sequence, the responsible software developer Klaus Hoffman said: “We were able to reduce the time required for programming the entire plant by 30 percent as against comparable projects with S7-300 thanks to the support functions in the TIA Portal.”



    The ultrasonic cleaning plant for endoprosthetic implants comprises a technical pre-cleaning process and validatable fine cleaning. A total of 15 process stations guarantee the high cleaning quality required for medical technology applications.

    The nerve center of the cleaning plant, a Simatic S7-1515 CPU. The migration support and functional scope afforded by the TIA Portal enabled a 30 percent cut in the time required for programming.

    The distributed control cabinets with Simatic ET 200SP I/O stations are accommodated at the back of the plant. Direct 3-wire connection of the sensors at the 8-channel input modules makes for fewer connection points and minimizes potential sources of error.

    The plant can be remotely operated for servicing purposes over the WinCC Sm@rtServer, enabling the rapid localization of error sources and minimized machine standstill times.

  • Ursula Lang 06/02/2017

    Precise positioning - Digital printing machine developed with Siemens expertise



    Fribourg/Switzerland. Polytype SA is a company specializing in the manufacture of industrial printing presses for plastic substrates. Based in Fribourg in Switzerland, the company has developed and constructed the Digiround, a new digital printing machine for printing plastic drinking cups. Polytype SA relies on expertise and technology from Siemens to simulate the different machine models and for controlling and driving the machine axes. This winning combination has enabled a brilliant, ultra-precise printing result.


    At all kinds of corporate events, companies are keen to use the opportunity for promotion by placing their logo or slogan on the plastic drinking cups handed out to visitors. The cups can be effectively imprinted using digital printing machines from Polytype SA, part of the Wifag-Polytype Holding. The company based in Fribourg in Switzerland has specialized in the development and production of industrial printing presses for plastic substrates, and recently launched a new machine model: the digital printing machine Digiround. Depending on the number of colors, circumference and height of the substrate, this new machine is capable of printing up to 250 cups per minute, and of changing the print design during running production. It can be reset for a new cup format in just 30 minutes. Polytype SA opted to use expertise and components from Siemens both during the development phase – particularly in the field of simulation – and for the machine’s drive and control systems.


    Dynamic simulation using finite elements

    Following 3D machine modeling, Polytype SA decided not to produce the customary prototypes, but instead requested assistance from Siemens Mechatronic Support to create a simulation of the production dynamic. Siemens was able to use this as the basis for determining parameters such as impacting loads, torque levels, acceleration rates and forces, as well as deformation processes taking place on the machine structures. These deformation processes had to be dynamically stimulated in order to permit calculation of the inkjet positioning accuracy in the micrometer range. Only following successful simulation was a prototype constructed. This fulfilled Polytype’s specifications right from the outset, avoiding the need for laborious and cost-intensive reworking processes.


    Trouble-free interaction

    In the Digiround, the horizontal rotary indexing table is rotated step by step to 18 different positions by a directly integrated 1FW6 built-in torque motor with a special 580-millimeter diameter bearing and a high-resolution inductive measurement system for positioning. This also incorporates a flame pre-treatment process for the cups to improve surface tension, optional application of a primer coat and the inkjet printing stations. Polytype has integrated two printing stations, one for the upper and one for the lower half of the cup, as the maximum dimension of a printing head stretches only over half the cup length. The rotary spindle is so precisely positioned that it is impossible to see the transition point with the naked eye. After printing, the cup is dried in a UV oven fitted with protective servo flaps, and discharged from the machine following quality inspection. Alongside the 1FW6 built-in torque motor, the machine has a further 18 separately controlled 1FK7 servo motors which are used to rotate the cup carrier spindles under the printing heads and the LED or UV lamps. All the machine axes are actuated by the modular Sinamics S120 converter system, which adopts the coordination of movements from the Simotion D‑445-2 Motion Control System. Braking energy generated by start-stop operation of the rotary axes is fed back to the grid by Active Line Modules (ALM), while Active Interface Modules (AIM) filter out most line harmonics. Communication between Motion Control, the converter system and the 450 I/Os takes place over Profinet.


    Clear decision

    The reason for Polytype’s decision to work with Siemens on the development and construction of the Digiround is summarized succinctly by Eric Charlot, Head of Automation at Polytype: “Polytype has always worked with Siemens products. A few years ago, we compared all the systems from different manufacturers and Simotion stood out as the best solution for us.” Alongside efficient simulation-based development of the prototypes, Siemens was the only supplier which addressed the requirement for extreme axis dynamics combined with micrometer-accurate positioning of the rotary indexing table and spindle.



    All the machine axes in the Digiround digital printing machine are controlled by the modular Sinamics S120 converter system.

    The rotary indexing table’s 18 positions are gradually approached by the directly mounted torque motor.


  • Ursula Lang 03/02/2017

    Hedging investment decisions - Battery manufacturer relies on Siemens PLM Software to implement its growth strategy



    Linz an der Donau, Austria. Banner GmbH is among Europe’s biggest manufacturers of starter batteries for the automotive industry, and a leader in its field. Due to growing demand, the company decided to extend its production facilities. To provide a solid foundation for its expansion measures and the associated investment decisions, Banner decided to work with Plant Simulation from the Siemens PLM Software Tecnomatix portfolio to build a digital twin of the production facilities. This allowed the company to run through possible expansion scenarios in the virtual world.


    Established in 1937 and headquartered in Linz an der Donau, Banner GmbH (Banner) is Europe’s leading manufacturer of lead/acid-based rechargeable power packs, and produces around 4.1 million starter batteries for the global automotive market every year. Banner was one of the first companies to produce dry-charged batteries in the sixties, and launched its production of zero-maintenance batteries in 1980. Banner owes its recent growth primarily to lively demand for its enhanced flooded batteries (EFB) for vehicles with automatic start-stop technology. To continue to meet this demand and ensure premium product quality, Banner relies on software solutions from Siemens PLM Software.


    Simulation for solid planning and growth

    To meet growing demand, Banner has continuously expanded its production facilities. As a consistently high standard of product quality is paramount to Banner, practically all components required for manufacture of the finished batteries are produced in-house – despite the widely heterogeneous nature of production processes required. “This confronts us with significant challenges, particularly concerning intra-logistics issues, such as scheduling for the maturing chambers,” explains Franz Dorninger, Technical Director at Banner. These maturing chambers are used to allow the paste-filled lead oxide grids to rest for between two and five days to optimize their current absorption and storage capacity. One solution to improve the internal material flow was found in the form of Plant Simulation from the Siemens PLM Software Tecnomatix portfolio: In mid-2015, Banner manufacturing engineers used a trial license of Plant Simulation to study the effects of reducing the number of assembly lines. “Modeling the fictitious exercise scenario was remarkably simple,” says Clemens Weiß, Project Manager at Banner. “The simulation results convinced our management of the benefits of simulation-based decision-making.” Just a few weeks later, Clemens Weiß started working on the simulation of a real-life scenario. “Experienced workers had pointed out that further growth would not be possible with the existing maturing chambers,” recalls Weiß. Because adding more of these high-volume installations would have exacerbated an already serious shortage of space, Weiß decided to use Plant Simulation to create a functional model of the relevant plant section, which allowed the logical and time-related behavior of the equipment to be represented using existing modules. Alongside configurable models of the 25 different maturing chambers, this functional model also includes the three upstream pasting lines. A decision tree enables different batching strategies to be selected. “I used pre-fabricated modules for the plant simulation, which included all basic functionality of the production facility included in the digital twin,” says Weiß. “Using the tool’s advanced simulation programming language SimTalk, I found it easy to add specific functionality and to program the variations allowed by the decision tree.” The simulation confirmed the necessity for adding another two maturing chambers.


    Ideally placed for the future

    “Following the success of this initial project, we decided to hedge all future investment decisions by first studying their effects using the digital twin in the virtual world of Plant Simulation,” sums up Christian Ott, Head of Information and Organization at Banner. Banner aims to use Plant Simulation to create a digital twin of all its production facilities and the material flow, which will enable it to simulate alternative scenarios without disrupting production prior to investing in new plant and equipment or carrying out any changes.



    By making almost all the required parts for its battery production in-house, Banner is able to safeguard the quality of its products.

    By simulating potential plant expansion and running different scenarios using a digital twin, Banner is able to precisely weigh up the pro and contra arguments for investment and expansion without disrupting production.

    To optimize current absorption and storage capacity, the paste-filled lead oxide grids need to rest for two to five days in maturing chambers, posing a logistic challenge for overall planning.