Integrated design software lowers costs, adds flexibility

Product lifecycle management software (PLM) and service lifecycle management software enabled by integration with cloud services and applications, helps a variety of industries with digital twins, digitalization, automation design and plant design. See five attributes of a digital twin.

By Mark T. Hoske August 9, 2020


Learning Objectives

  • PLM software helps integrate design, manufacturing, and services, eliminating waste and increasing innovation.
  • Digital twins simulate and model PLM including concept, development, verification, manufacturing, sales, and support.
  • Examples of PLM integration highlight benefits.

Software can help with the collaboration of applications, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and analytics, operations, manufacturing, simulation, electronics and mechanical aspects of design, according to Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Product lifecycle management (PLM) software also improves the design process by inferring part relationships on the fly, improves design innovation during rapid-response development, speeds digital twin development and maintenance, uses artificial intelligence (AI) for generative material design to optimize component performance, helps with digital transformation electronic and digital designs.

PLM design software collaboration

Collaborative PLM design software has been helping in a diversity of industries, including with COVID-19 vaccination development, said Tony Hemmelgarn, president and CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software. Time to produce an experimental vaccine decreased from months or years to 42 days through use of a digital design architecture, he noted during the June Siemens Digital Industries Software’s virtual 2020 Media & Analyst Conference. (See other digitalization/PLM examples, below.)

Time savings result from development of a comprehensive and actionable digital twin that speed design iterations; personalized adaptable and modern tools, and a flexible open collaborative ecosystem. Design software is helping to lower risk in restarting manufacturing with new laws and rules for a safe work environment.

Stuart McCutcheon, global VP of global sales and customer success, Siemens Digital Industries Software, said digital twins create faster time to market, drive innovation, provide an adaptive response to demand as signals change, extract value from mountains of data and unite engineering disciplines from across the lifecycle driving to a common business goal. Digital twins also create the ability to be proactive to events while optimizing quality and productivity, and delivering new business models.

Five attributes of a digital twin

What is a digital twin? Beyond a virtual representation of a physical object that evolves with the lifecycle of physical objects, McCutcheon said, a digital twin also is:

  1. A precise virtual representation of a physical product or process.
  2. Used across its lifecycle to simulate, predict and optimize product and production systems.
  3. Made of multiple representation of models for different aspects of physical behavior.
  4. An evolving object with a lifecycle that needs to be managed from concept, development, verification, manufacturing, sales and support.
  5. Closed-loop digital twin provides for bi-directional connectivity between the physical asset and the virtual representation.

Five manufacturing digitalization application notes

Integration of software tools such as PLM and cloud-based design and support collaborative applications can eliminate inefficiencies and accelerate innovation in product lifecycles, including digitalization, digital twins, automation design, plant design and services.

1. Electric-powered airplanes: Bye Aerospace Inc. is creating electrically powered airplanes and used design software from Siemens to create a magnitude of savings by going from the eFlyer 2 design to eFlyer 4, with greater collaboration, low parts count, optimization of range, weight, fibers, and avionics on the way to FAA certification.

2. Commercial supersonic aircraft: In the last 50 years of commercial aviation, speed has only increased 10%. A supersonic commercial aircraft builder is using cloud-based 3D printing software to help with additive manufacturing. Aerion Supersonic is working on efficient commercial supersonic aircraft where the sonic boom never gets to the ground. While the concept of refracting the boom into the atmosphere has been known for 50 years, the appropriate integration of technologies and design hasn’t yet produced a design resulting in FAA-approved supersonic overland travel. The software also is removing costs with factory and labor simulations, which is said to be years faster than its closest competitor. Project backing for the Aerion Supersonic AS2 aircraft came from Boeing, and engines came from GE Aviation for a “boomless cruise” nearly Mach 1.2, which could save 1 hour, 25 minutes, in a U.S. transcontinental flight, flying from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours, 17 minutes.

3. Wind power energy services: Renom Energy Services LLP, part of the Sanjay Ghodaway Group, is using an integrated digital twin platform to see a 20% improvement in mean time to response for wind-power services, and a 4% gap in data acquisition for fault analysis down from 61%. Other savings includes a reduction of operating expenses for fuel by 12%, and a 0.2% increase in asset availability.

4. Rapid-start car company: VinFast launched the first Vietnamese passenger car brand in 21 months after the ground-breaking ceremony, cutting launch time in half compared to similar projects.

5. Filling and packaging machinery manufacturer: Bausch + Stroebel uses digitalization across the machine lifecycle with integrated technologies to shorten engineering time 30% and increase flexibility.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

KEYWORDS: Product lifecycle management, PLM software


What benefits are you missing not effectively integrating PLM and digital twins?

ONLINE extra 

Teamcenter X from Siemens Digital Industrials Software as described in the New Products for Engineers database, enables faster creation of a digital twin.

NX CAM (computer aided manufacturing) software from Siemens Digital Industries Software as described in the New Products for Engineers database, accelerates the process of product part design.

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.