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Digital transformation enabling smart manufacturing innovation
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Digital transformation in manufacturing is one of the key topics for the upgrading and transformation of Taiwan industries. It also shows new types of business models are emerging and leveraging the disruptive technologies. While industry 4.0 being welcomed overwhelmingly by the governments around the globe such as "Made In China 2025" and "Internet Plus", the enterprises learn to quickly response to the market using the powerful features of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and advanced IT technology for analyzing the data gathered by smart sensors.

Faced with the obstacles to Taiwan's continued industrial development, the supply chains and ecosystems are providing the quick adjustment for introducing end products, making a quick grab for market share or return on investment because there is an urgent need for many companies.

However, building the culture of digitalization in various organizations are not easy tasks. The current digitalization investments from enterprise may not reflect the real revenue growth yet. Companies worry more about how things going for the Industry 4.0 development. In this interview, we invite Mr. Leo Liang, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China, Siemens PLM Software, to talk about his observation and viewpoints of smart manufacturing.

The disruptive innovations can profoundly affect the functioning of existing industries by changing company's value chains. And the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is one of the major driving forces to enable innovation breaking the information barriers between supply chains and ecosystems. Leo highlights, lower cost manufacturing is no longer the only thing. The recent focus shifts in thinking- of understanding consumers' needs. Through the innovative PLM software systems, it transforms the needs to a realistic product and enables the power for change. Uber, AirBnB and several business innovations like mobile payment services have uncovered many good examples for great benefits in different business sectors.

Siemens PLM Software provides complete product portfolios to demonstrate real values of digital transformation through Digital Twin. Digital Twin is not only a tool set of computer simulation models that provide the means to design, validate and optimize products in the virtual world. Today, Leo talks continuously, Digital Twin expands to manufacturing process or production facility. These technologies use data from sensors that are installed on physical objects to represent their real time status, working condition or position to help fabricating the new production lines to provide the flexibility for achieving the goal of smart manufacturing.

MindSphere industrial clouds fulfill the needs of enterprise

Advances in IT technologies of Siemens PLM Software have made it possible to broaden the scope of the Digital Twin to include many more capabilities, information, inputs and outputs from new product initiatives to flexible factory design. For strengthening enterprises new product development to the market much faster than ever, Siemens build MindSphere, an open IoT operating system (PaaS) and cloud infrastructure for industry. The large volumes of data generated during the production process in the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) level by IoT sensors or legacy systems need to be saved, and analyzed in real time and turned big data into smart data. And the open architecture will allow for a whole new dimension of services leveraging cloud solutions to capture process parameters, machine conditions and presented the statistical results using smartphone. This contributes to improved asset management and energy efficiency through data analysis and simulation.

Meanwhile, combining with end products and delivering to end users, it will help to track real response of consumers. The collected information will link to MindSphere cloud platforms to make product design, manufacturing process improvement and exploring better use cases as a Closed Loop Manufacturing system for further increasing productivity, flexibility and shorter times to market.

MindSphere enables manufacturing companies to streamline and digitalize their entire business process through the cloud technology, seamlessly integrating with the systems to develop important decision. Gathering real time manufacturing parameters to monitor the details of each process can begin at any point in the factory, from product design to service, and can extend digitalization gradually, depending on current needs of companies. MindSphere allows analyzing production assets and products as they perform and providing the insights into the entire value chain for continuous optimization. This will help customers of Siemens PLM Software to develop consistent data models and streamline the manufacturing process, product development and shorten the time to market.

Taking the machinery maintenance as an effective ROI example, downtime is a serious threat to any manufacturing business. Through MindSphere cloud services, maintenance managers take preventive measures before crises occur in order to maintain machine tool and spare parts availability, Leo adds. It will turn passive maintenance to preventive maintenance strategy and gain results showing in financial reports.

Acquiring Mentor Graphics to extend product offerings for servicing more industries

To further accelerate the innovation for Siemens' customers and help them find the paths to digital transformation to drive production efficiencies and optimize the operation of their products in the markets, Siemens has made a significant move into the software space with acquisitions including UGS, LMS, Camstar, Polarion, and CD-adapco in the past few years. With recent acquisition of Mentor Graphics, Siemens will continue its proven paths of new technology into the industry's product lifecycle management software suite. Mentor Graphics is a leading EDA solution provider with well established electronics IC, systems design, simulation and printed circuit board manufacturing solutions. The combination provides mechanical, thermal, electronic and embedded software tools to the companies that develop products and strengthen the core competence.

Comparing with other industries within the sectors including financial, insurance and retail services, manufacturing industry has more challenges while going digital transformation. Most of original traditional solutions for factories are not fully digital offerings. Even today, collecting control information of some legacy systems or machinery is still difficult to get. The industry shifts are creating new business models and moving from delivering a product to delivering smart, connected products as a service to customers. This trends of connected products and connected customers help fuel innovation. And Siemens PLM Software provides complete solutions and tool sets to work with customers to push toward digitalization of all aspects of manufacturing.

Leo also highly suggests enterprises continuously to develop new products with new ideas leveraging the cloud technology for fast responding user's versatile tastes and preferences. The momentum needs to maintain both in manufacturing process and product design.

With Siemens PLM Software solutions, manufacturing companies have better insight into every process's performance. All the software tool sets and product portfolio of Siemens offerings are proven and integrated practices in Siemens factories. This will benefit Siemens's customers bridging the gap to digital transformation and save the time for developing time-to-market products.

Leo Liang, Siemens PLM Software Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China, outlines the digitalization challenges for enterprises

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