Teamcenter Easy Plan does what it says

Product: Teamcenter
Industry: Home appliances

Teamcenter Easy Plan at BSH Home Appliances

We love to hear how Teamcenter and Siemens Xcelerator tools help our customers succeed. This story looks at the global roll-out of Teamcenter Easy Plan at BSH Home Appliances. We were lucky enough to go straight to the heart of Germany to the BSH plant in Giengen to see the results firsthand.

I don’t know how many of you have been shopping for a new refrigerator lately, but the selection seems mind-bogglingly endless compared to what I remember from my first fridge purchase in the 1990s. It used to be that you just measured your space, tallied up your budget, and, presto, out you went to your local (Siemens) dealer to buy a classic white stand-up model with a little freezer unit on top.

Today, all this has changed. Or at least most of it. You’ll probably hit the Internet for reviews and ideas, maybe google for the best price and performance, and then the tough decisions start: which fridge do you choose?

Brands, model variations and more

First, do you want a freestanding or a built-in? Then what size exactly? What about finishings: inox, black glass, a color, or plain old white? Glossy, matte or in-between? Fridge on top and freezer on the bottom? Or vice-versa? American side-by-side doors? French doors? Mid-storage drawers? Door-in-door technology? Craft icemaker? And water dispensers of all shapes and sizes…Not only how do you select one? How do you manufacture all this choice? Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to visit BSH Home Appliances in Giengen, Germany to hear how Teamcenter Easy Plan helps.

BSH Home Appliances is one of the largest manufacturers of its kind in the world and is number one in Europe. BSH manufactures refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, induction cooktops, cordless vacuum cleaners, espresso machines and much more for well-known and respected brands like Bosch, Siemens, NEFF and Gaggenau.

With 62,000 employees and 41 plants worldwide (at time of publishing this blog), BSH manages a huge portfolio with hundreds of product variants on a global scale. Production can vary from plants that make only washing machines to plants like the one in Giengen, which makes only built-in refrigerators and freezers. Other BSH sites focus on small innovative appliances like espresso machines and cordless vacuum cleaners. In most cases, each of the 41 BSH sites manufacture product variants for more than one brand.

“Imagine a production line with over several hundred products,” says Philipp Winter, an IT business consultant in the Global Digital Services Department of BSH Digital Factory. “Our production lines have to adapt constantly, as well as line operators and the planners.”.

Manufacturing planning complexity

Depending on the plant, operators might build twenty-five Siemens built-in refrigerator models followed by 25 Bosch models with different tray designs and then still other different models for other brands – all on the same line. Other plants might have robotic lines that makes slightly different home appliance models for every type of consumer in the portfolio.

It is hard to imagine how one starts to organize such a complex production process on a global scale. But Philipp Winter, an IT business consultant in the Global Digital Services Department of BSH Digital Factory, and his colleague, Sacha Weckend, an industrial engineer responsible for the Teamcenter Easy Plan implementation at the Giengen, Germany plant were happy to explain how they count on Siemens tools for manufacturing planning.

As you see, BSH uses Teamcenter® software to runs its entire product development database. In 2015, BSH extended this to all manufacturing and planning data, integrating Teamcenter and the Tecnomatix® portfolio, which are part of the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software, hardware and services, into its digital factory ecosystem.

At most of the BSH locations, local industrial engineers and planners have access to tools including Easy Plan, which is built on top of Teamcenter, Process Simulate in the Tecnomatix portfolio and Line Designer. These tools allow BSH to organize and optimize production lines for maximum performance for globally distributed plants, complex product variation schemes, line balancing, productivity and production efficiency, human health and safety issues, robotics and even collaborative robots (cobotics).

Teamcenter Easy Plan is just very easy to use

“You reach a limit at some point where you need special software to face and challenge this complexity in manufacturing,” says Winter. “We have leveraged digital manufacturing solutions from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio for many years. This has resulted in an accurate digital twin of our factory ecosystem. Now we have added Easy Plan, which is our latest planning software, to do our line balancing and all our time management on the production lines.”

“We have specific cycle times for our assembly lines,” says Sasha Weckend. “For each workstation we try to find the perfect amount of work content. You can learn Easy Plan quite fast. It is easy for me to train new colleagues, trainees and students. The user interface is quite intuitive. If you have worked with an internet browser then you know where you have to click with Easy Plan. Easy Plan is just very easy to use. I think this is why the implementation is quite seamless.”

So, thanks to some pretty special Siemens software, an accurate digital twin of the BSH factory ecosystem, and the ease-of-use of Teamcenter Easy Plan, it looks like BSH Home Appliances is well on its way to successfully tackling modern-day process and product complexity to make the fridges (and home appliances) we will want to buy in the future.

Siemens’ expansion of its production capacity in Ciudad Juarez will significantly boost its foreign sales.

Siemens Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean have inaugurated ITESA 4, a new manufacturing facility spanning 16,000 m², focused on producing devices for energy measurement and distribution.

With a presence of 130 years in Mexico and nearly four decades in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, the company highlights that the investment of over 300 million pesos is aimed at meeting the demand of the North American market, particularly in the residential sector. Alejandro Preinfalk, President and CEO of Siemens in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, stated, “Through initiatives like the one we are presenting today, we will continue to collaborate as a strategic partner of Mexico to strengthen its position as a leader in digital, secure, and sustainable electrification.”

Over four implementation phases, scheduled to conclude by the end of next year, four product assembly lines will be installed and six will be relocated, specializing in manufacturing processes (CNC stamping, metal bending, welding, and painting) for metallic components and aluminum bars. As a result, a double-digit increase in export operations is anticipated. “We have estimated that this productive expansion will boost our exports by 16%, allowing us to meet the demand of our primary market,” emphasized Rolando Calderón, Manufacturing Director in the region.

María Angélica Granados, Secretary of Innovation and Economic Development of the State, emphasized the economic impact of the project and the over 260 associated direct job opportunities: “Siemens’ expansion will create employment, benefiting hundreds of families […] The development of labor skills in the manufacturing industry adds value; it’s about skilled labor […]”.

During the opening ceremony, Mayor Cruz Pérez highlighted the pivotal role played by the human factor in the area’s economic and industrial processes: “Juárez is an industrial powerhouse thanks to its people; it’s the talent and capacity of its population that place the city in a prominent position nationally and internationally”.

Marco Cosío, Vice President of Siemens’ Smart Infrastructure business, stated: “We are committed to redefining our boundaries and transforming our processes to lead the electrification of homes, industries, and communities”.

According to the company, this investment supplements other recent announcements, bringing the total investment to approximately 2.2 billion pesos and creating more than 1,000 direct jobs.

Streamlining planning and scheduling processes to achieve on-time delivery on average 96 to 98 percent of the time

Product: Opcenter
Industry: Aerospace & defense

Applied Composites, founded in 1982, is a global leader in the composites industry, providing composite solutions for air-frames, engines, defense and mission systems, launch vehicles and satellite structures. Overall, the company aims to strategically offer engineering services, programmatic support and vertically integrated manufacturing capabilities to customers in the aerospace and defense industries. Applied Composites has a long customer satisfaction history thanks to their focus on improving their processes to reduce time and costs.

However, as Applied Composites grew, they noticed issues regarding planning, scheduling and their overall processes. As a solution, the company consulted with Lean Scheduling International (LSI), part of ATS Global (ATS), a Siemens Digital Industries Software partner. This led to the company leveraging Opcenter™ software as a solution, which is part of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware and services.null

Keeping up with business growth challenges

Although business growth sounds like an overall win-win situation, there are challenges that come with it. Applied Composites realized that it was becoming more difficult to manage planning, scheduling and overall processes, especially when the company’s growth was affecting all areas. As the customer base grew, the amount of work grew, causing the need for more employees. With these compounding issues, the plant’s work environment also suffered, creating stress for workers to understand where products were and causing orders to go missing. Additionally, not knowing what materials they would need for certain jobs or not being able to schedule enough employees to run available machines was causing the company to fall behind.

During this period, Applied Composites was using spreadsheets and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to create a detailed production report listing all customer jobs and ship-by dates. The ERP software would set the material dates using its built-in materials requirement planning (MRP) function; however, this system had flaws. It did not consider tooling as a constraint, which is crucial for accurately scheduling downstream operations in the manufacturing process. Due to this, Michael Moses, the master scheduler at Applied Composites, would have to schedule 6 to 8 weeks out after receiving the MRP process report.

Additionally, John Pettit, the operations manager at Applied Composites, describes the challenges of the supervisor’s role in the first operational step (laminating). First, they would have to look at the daily report. Then piece together how to manage the shop floor for the day. This includes figuring out what the delivery dates were, knowing that they had to have everything in their department at least four weeks before the due date and giving other departments a week to finish. Overall, the process was not optimal and left room for error.

Applied Composites knew they needed to find a way to overcome these issues, especially when it came to scheduling and planning. “Overall, we wanted to have a clear indication of what we could be delivering on,” says Moses.

Teaming up to find a solution

To find a solution, Applied Composites solicited help from LSI. At first, the company struggled with adapting to a solution that had an alternative approach to scheduling versus their original ERP software, leading the first implementation to not be successful. However, once the company was confident in LSI’s suggestion of using Opcenter Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS), they were able to successfully implement it.

Using mini-proofs of concept, LSI worked with Applied Composites to suggest and gather data for driving their schedule. Additionally, by having a hands-on approach for configuring models and validating data requirements, the companies can test various validation scenarios.

Overall, Applied Composites chose Opcenter APS as their scheduling and planning solution because of its capability to manage complex scheduling requirements with multiple constraints active throughout the manufacturing process. This was something the company’s previous ERP software could not do.null

Overcoming planning and scheduling limitations

Before integrating Opcenter APS, Applied Composites experienced numerous limitations using their old solution. This included a lack of visibility for material availability, a reliance on the scheduler’s and shop floor supervisor’s tribal knowledge, a stressful and chaotic environment, exponential amounts of time spent on production scheduling and no solution to aid the scheduler in making decisions. However, thanks to Opcenter APS, they were able to overcome most of them.

To overcome these limitations, using Opcenter APS, Applied Composites was able to configure models to consider all constraints, from materials to tooling or molds to operator capabilities. From there, they could efficiently create a schedule according to the plant’s true capacity and not an estimate. With these configurations, the company could also improve their scheduling processes since the software could automatically make many of the scheduling decisions. Previously, the scheduler took hours to create a high-level report and then use it to create a schedule in a spreadsheet, leveraging knowledge and data from multiple sources.

As for visibility, using Opcenter APS, workers could see where the orders were in the plant, inform customers of actual lead times versus standard lead times and see if there were any potential issues downstream. Further, the ability to set accurate material demand dates and schedules was groundbreaking for the company. Now they could schedule over 30,000 operations quickly and easily, saving time and manual effort.null

Previously, department supervisors handled scheduling and processed downstream operations simultaneously, causing them to miss opportunities to maximize throughput and reduce changeover times. Additionally, Applied Composites considered assigning three schedulers to manage the plant’s activities; however, with Opcenter APS, they required one master scheduler, lowering the need for more workers for a specific task.

Overall, by using this solution, Applied Composites can generate an easy-to-follow schedule, helping them limit the decision-making happening on the shop floor and reducing stress and disorganization.null

Benefiting from Opcenter

Once Applied Composites fully integrated Opcenter APS, they pushed the software’s capabilities to the max, using nearly every out-of-the-box (OOTB) feature without customizations, reducing scheduling time from hours to minutes. Using this solution provided the company with an accurate schedule that respects tooling and machine constraints, labor and materials while maximizing set up time, prioritizing delivery dates and allowing them to flag priority customers. They can also stay on top of any issues or delays that may arise, allowing the company to immediately notify the customer and inform them of the recovery date.

“Using Opcenter APS ties it all together, giving us an opportunity to be upfront with our customers and to help identify what’s going to contribute the most success to the program,” says Moses.

Thanks to the constraint capabilities, Applied Composites can now streamline their tooling and labor processes. For tooling constraints, the company had unique challenges concerning molds, which multiple operations used. Once a mold was in use for one operation, it was used for multiple stages until the system released it later during a downstream process. This means that technicians cannot schedule that mold again until it is released. To overcome this challenge, the solution needed to commit those molds to each consecutive operation that required them, track their use and not allow another operation to schedule them until they were available.

As for labor constraints, the company used these at the department level; however, only certain operators had the specific resource skills or capabilities to use them. Using Opcenter APS, Applied Composites can now see the plant’s capacity, how many additional people they need to hire or if there is a tool constraint issue.null

“How many plants have full scheduling software that can do almost everything?” says Moses. “With Opcenter APS, we can accomplish everything from capacity planning to giving the shop floor technicians a visual board of what they need to work on in order that also allows them to see their monthly on-time delivery stats.”

Another major benefit of this solution was achieving on-time delivery on average 96 to 98 percent of the time. “By leveraging Opcenter APS, we can react to changes quicker,” says Moses. Since the company could react quicker, technicians could solve issues as soon as they received notification.

“Using Opcenter, we haven’t dipped below 96 percent for on-time delivery except maybe one or two times during the COVID supply shortage,” says Moses.

By implementing a data-driven solution like Opcenter APS, Applied Composites needs to keep its data accurate. This not only ensures that the solution continues to work but also helps the company standardize its processes and prioritize correcting data inaccuracies, keeping the company streamlined.

Overall, by implementing Opcenter APS, Applied Composites has a solution that is flexible enough to grow with its business and has almost doubled the number of scheduled operations.nullnull

Hyundai Motor Group uses AI to reduce the parameter optimization process from 1 week to 15 minutes

Product: Simcenter
Industry: Automotive

AI-powered shift left

In the vehicle development process, it is advantageous for companies to shift left in the V-cycle as much as possible. By avoiding late-stage design changes, engineering teams can achieve significant time and cost savings and help drive products to market faster.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an increasingly popular tool to enable engineering teams to shift left. For example, engineers can train neural networks to search through enormous amounts of simulation models and data and help identify the ideal vehicle or component configuration.

Powered by AI, the effort to shift left is more urgent than ever as the world transitions to a more sustainable future with electrification. Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are in the process of transitioning from producing internal combustion engines (ICEs) to battery-powered vehicles. Each of these vehicles has years of development data and simulation models that now need to be adapted for electrification.

Neural networks for vehicle target setting

Simcenter Engineering Services and Hyundai Motor Group partnered to use AI to reduce the parameter optimization process for the Genesis GV 80.

At the start of their electrification journey, Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) recognized the need to implement AI to enable a seamless shift left in the electric vehicle development process. In 2023, they partnered with Simcenter Engineering and Consulting services to build the neural networks that will enable them to define architecture-driven requirements at the concept stage of vehicle development.

Early in the design process (at the left of the V-cycle), engineering teams typically have an estimate of what they would like to see from their next generation of vehicle, including mass, size, suspension technology, etc. These early ideas need to be explored and analyzed in the most efficient way possible to define the ideal design and configuration. Target setting for attributes such as optimal mass, kinematics, drivability, ride and handling gives engineering teams subjective key performance indicators (KPIs) to meet. The earlier these targets can be met, the more time and cost savings a company can reap.

Ilsoo Jeong, comfort engineer, is part of the driving comfort virtual development team at Hyundai Motor Group. His team was tasked with target setting for chassis development of the Genesis GV 80, which will be released in a future generation as an electric vehicle (EV).

“Our goal was to achieve the best possible comfort and handling performance, so we had to consider hundreds of chassis parameters, such as mass distribution, suspension kinematics, the mounting system,” says Jeong.  “We also needed to consider how these designs and configurations would need to be changed considering the ICE will be replaced with a battery.

“Additionally, we wanted the ability to perform sensitivity analyses to quickly understand how changes to the design of one component may impact the performance of others. We realized that taking advantage of AI could help us accomplish this quickly and efficiently. We partnered with Simcenter Engineering and Consulting Services to build these neural networks because they had the most expertise in Simcenter Amesim, our preferred tool, and because of their vast expertise in the vehicle development process.”

EV architecture optimization

In a separate project, the Simcenter Engineering Services team had collaborated with HMG engineers to develop an architecture in Simcenter Amesim software that could be used to evaluate a variety of vehicle maneuvers and provide automatic postprocessing.

This architecture allowed criteria to be weighed separately – including 52 individual KPIs for each requirement – to achieve an overall score, and it could handle over 350 parameters as input.

In this project, Simcenter Engineering Services expanded on this work to apply it to the chassis. Using the targets provided by HMG, Simcenter engineers generated over 200,000 simulation models in Simcenter Amesim and validated them against real vehicles. They saved the simulation results in a high-performance computing (HPC) to make them run faster in the future.

“Simcenter Amesim was the driving force behind our decision to select Siemens for this project,” explains Jeong. “Only Simcenter Amesim had the capabilities to perform the number of simulations we needed, as well as the flexibility for attributes such as NVH frequency. Simcenter Amesim was also advantageous because it enabled us to work with our own templates rather than a prepackaged one. When it came to flexibility and simulation time, Simcenter Amesim was the best choice.”

Using Simcenter Reduced Order Modeling software, Simcenter Engineering Services created and trained a neural network to deliver simulation results that enables direct optimization of models later in the process. This neural network integrates with HEEDS software to assist HMG engineers in identifying the ideal vehicle configuration.

Using AI to reduce the parameter optimization process from weeks to minutes

“If our targets or parameters change, we will no longer need to start the entire process from scratch,” says Jeong. “We can now find the optimal parameter set very quickly by searching through the neural network built by Simcenter Engineering Services. The ability to easily retrieve these simulation results means we can give very quick feedback to each subsystem team on the ideal configuration. Later in development, we will also be able to efficiently compare the vehicle’s driving performance to our targets by using the benchmarking data retrieved by the neural network.”

AI-enabled time savings

The collaboration with Simcenter Engineering Services and use of Simcenter software has led to significant engineering process benefits for Jeong’s team.

“Before this project, one requirement evaluation took two minutes to run in simulation,” says Jeong. “Using the neural network developed by Simcenter Engineering Services, this was reduced to one-tenth of a second. Similarly, our subsystem parameter optimization process used to take a week. With the help of Simcenter Engineering Services, this has been reduced to 15 minutes.”

Together, Jeong and the Simcenter Engineering Services team are working to reap even more efficiency benefits from this neural network. They will soon integrate with Teamcenter software to fully link to and provide traceability for parameters and requirements. This will enable a program manager with no knowledge of simulation to directly input their requirements and use parameters from a previous project to run simulations directly on the web. They can then predict system performance or optimize parameter sets for subsystems, bringing the power of system simulation to nonexperts.

“Siemens’ Simcenter portfolio and Simcenter Engineering Services will continue to be a special development partner for HMG,” says Jeong. “Our companies have a strong relationship and I look forward to collaborating on future projects.”

Robopac moves toward 50% production capacity increase with Siemens Opcenter

Product: Opcenter
Industry: Machinery solutions

Global manufacturer of packaging machine solutions launches the Robopac Smart Factory

Since 1982, Robopac has been manufacturing end-of-line solutions, including semi-automatic wrapping machines with smart technology, industrial shrink wrappers, shrink wrapping machines, case packers, and tailor-made packaging solutions. The company has grown into a global leader in the packaging sector, with seven manufacturing facilities (five in Italy, one in the US, and one in Brazil) along with nine subsidiaries across the world. Robopac has the capacity to manufacture 50,000 machines each year. It emphasizes high-performance packaging solutions with extreme attention to the circular economy.

Robopac has experienced growing demand both in the volume of machines it manufactures and in the variety of products it offers.  “Our customers are requesting customized products more and more,” explains Alessandro Manduchi, Robopac operations manager. “Robopac offers a very high number of configurations for each of our packaging machines, and this is one of our key differentiators.”

To keep up with demand for customized products without compromising manufacturing cycle time or quality, Robopac is making its production process more flexible and capable. The company recently initiated the “Robopac Smart Factory” project, which includes (1) a reorganization of the production system and industrial layout and (2) digitalization of core processes and operations.

For its digitalization efforts, Robopac selected Siemens Opcenter manufacturing operations management (MOM) platform. The Robopac technology team determined that Opcenter is ideally suited to support the company’s expected volume growth while ensuring greater process efficiency, flexibility and quality, as well as service reliability for Robopac customers. “Siemens offered a complete end-to-end solution for our scheduling, manufacturing, reporting and quality control processes in the production area,” Manduchi summarizes.

Opcenter has been integrated with Robopac’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and warehouse management system (WMS). The MOM platform has also helped Robopac fully implement automated guided vehicles (AGVs) along the production line. Opcenter is supporting the Robopac Smart Factory in several ways:

  • Optimizing advanced scheduling of production orders
  • Reducing manual and paper activities on the shop floor
  • Orchestrating and monitoring the entire production flow, including AGV movement
  • Guaranteeing real-time monitoring and full traceability through line dashboards
  • Creating a digital thread that links production and quality management

Robopac has worked for years on lean production techniques and continuous process improvement. “Even in this context of good performances,” Manduchi reports, “the Smart Factory project has shown that technology, driven by human skills and abilities, can contribute to further upgrades leading towards excellence. We were absolutely impressed by the flexibility and ease of use of the Opcenter solution that quickly enabled us to achieve the targets of our Robopac Smart Factory initiative.”

Leveraging product variability to streamline wind turbine development

Product: Teamcenter
Industry: Wind

The Teamcenter Product Configurator is an important part of our global PLM strategy. By leveraging a single source of truth for multi-disciplinary product configuration data across the entire product lifecycle, ENERCON is positioned to remain at the forefront of technological advancements in the wind energy industry.

Sebastian Heinzel , Product Owner, Senior Consultant PLM
ENERCON

Adapting to the dynamic changes in the wind industry

The wind industry is characterized by its unique challenges including dynamic market conditions, technological advancements and increasing customer demands for customization. ENERCON has been in the wind industry for over 35 years developing, producing, installing and maintaining wind turbines. To further streamline its operations and enhance variability management, ENERCON partnered with Siemens Digital Industries Software to adopt Teamcenter® software and specifically Teamcenter Product Configurator. Teamcenter is part of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware, and services.

ENERCON was looking to streamline manufacturing operations and enhance wind turbine development. The company faced numerous challenges in a highly complex and ever-changing industry, including needing customization, shortening lead times, ensuring up-to-date product configurations, and integrating computer-aided design (CAD) systems. By implementing Siemens’ solutions, the company achieves significant improvements in process efficiency, collaboration, and time-to-market, while also aligning its bill-of-materials (BOM) management and expanding its capabilities for future growth.

A new approach for managing product complexity

ENERCON faced several business challenges over the years including managing a highly complex product line, meeting customer demands for customization, reducing lead times from order to quotation, ensuring stakeholders work with valid and up-to-date product configurations and addressing limitations with their current SAP systems that don’t allow them to validate the digital twin.

ENERCON realized it needed to modernize its approach to product variability management. In 2018, it embarked on a search for a solution that would integrate a common product configuration definition across its design BOM (DBOM), engineering BOM (EBOM) and manufacturing BOM (MBOM), serving as a reliable source of truth for its entire value chain. Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator allowed ENERCON to bring together variability data from their BOMs and consider the holistic value chain perspective. This effort coincides with ENERCON’s latest project, which is developing the E-175 EP5 wind turbine. This turbine has one of the largest rotor diameters for onshore turbines right now. ENERCON plans to continue applying this variability management approach in the development of the new evolution of their turbine, the E-175 EP5 E2.

Leveraging Teamcenter Product Configurator provided ENERCON with valid and buildable product configurations. ENERCON leveraged these capabilities to configure its products early in the development process, eliminating the need for downstream configuration changes in its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. With access to valuable data within Teamcenter, ENERCON’s engineers can easily validate the feasibility of different configurations, ensuring that all combinations were valid and buildable.

Configuration management will be integral to improving the company’s engineering change management processes. ENERCON plans to convert their operating model from a made-to-stock and engineer-to-order approach to a CTO+E approach. This model incorporates more repeatability and reuse into the business model while still supporting client customization. This will allow ENERCON to better control fast-track changes such as health and safety execution (HSE) topics, supplier discontinuity, part obsolescence and missing part topics. By implementing a CTO+E approach, changes would be able to be applied to any product variant at any time between revision packages. Using this engineering change management process with a common variability backbone, ENERCON will have the ability to adapt their BOMs and manufacturing processes quickly without jeopardizing the supply chain management processes in their plants.

“Using Teamcenter Product Configurator will help us implement a CTO+E approach, advancing ENERCON’s transformation to a project-driven company,” says Martin Gorges, head of PLM governance for ENERCON.

Using Teamcenter to improve collaboration and communication

ENERCON used Teamcenter Product Configurator as a digital configurator, enabling improved communication and collaboration among stakeholders across the development lifecycle. By working off a common source of variability information, everyone involved had access to the latest and most accurate data, eliminating confusion and discrepancies. This streamlined collaboration, enhanced efficiency, and reduced the risk of errors caused by out- dated or incorrect configuration data.

Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator yielded significant results for ENERCON, enabling them to streamline internal processes. ENERCON successfully used a common configurator across disciplines, eliminating silos and improving process efficiency.

ENERCON is using Teamcenter Product Configurator to provide a digital configurator that serves as a common source of variability information. This facilitates seamless communication and collaboration among stakeholders.

“By understanding the product parameters that need to be accommodated, ENERCON will be able to respond to customer orders more quickly, shortening lead times and enhancing customer satisfaction,” says Sebastian Heinzel, senior consultant PLM for ENERCON.

Using the predefined rules and constraints within Teamcenter Product Configurator allowed ENERCON to deploy new features and implement changes in a more efficient and timely manner. Although ENERCON is still working to develop the E-175 EP5 wind turbine, the company has already experienced a significant reduction in development time. Additionally, consolidating variability management has simplified the value chain and ensured consistency in the product data.

Continuing to improve the manufacturing process

Looking ahead, ENERCON plans to further leverage Siemens solutions for MBOM, SBOM and digital manufacturing. By expanding its use of Siemens solutions, ENERCON is aiming to enhance its manufacturing processes, improve serviceability, and stay at the forefront of technological advancements in the wind energy industry. “We are training very hard to get to know everything about Teamcenter Product Configurator so we can utilize all of its capabilities,” says Sebastian Heinzel, senior consultant PLM for ENERCON.

ENERCON is in the concept phase of a PLM program that will bring both Engineering BOM and Manufacturing BOM configuration management into Teamcenter. This will enable them to deploy highly sophisticated discrete manufacturing processes best known within the automotive and aerospace industries. With the help of Teamcenter, ENERCON’s goal is to perform pre-planning up to 36 months in advance of manufacturing and work with schedul- ing agreements showing early demands to the suppliers. This will allow them to make changes to product variants holistically across all platforms, plants, systems and processes, including pre-planning. An integrated PLM configuration management solution also helps ensure stable high-volume production without line stops while avoiding the use of obsolete materials or high numbers of part stocks.

Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator will be transformative for ENERCON’s wind turbine development processes and manufacturing operations. They have consolidated a diversified portfolio into a single platform, which allows them to handle more complex variability. Using Teamcenter Product Configurator has helped ENERCON get one step closer to going from a design-centric approach to a part-centric approach.

These results have positioned ENERCON for continued success in a rapidly evolving industry while continuing to take on new projects. ENERCON is looking forward to continuing to leverage Teamcenter to develop the E-175 EP5 E2 wind turbine that will be available in 2026 as well as other future next generation products.

Using Teamcenter Product Configurator will help us implement a CTO+E approach, advancing ENERCON’s transformation to a project-driven company.

Martin Gorges , Head of PLM Governance
ENERCON

Increasing sales by 100 percent

Product: Opcenter
Industry: Screw conveyors

Producing high-quality auger blades

Based in Edewecht, Northern Germany, C. E. Schneckenflügel GmbH has been a guarantor for producing high-quality auger blades for screw conveyors for 40 years. Today, their customers’ demands go beyond purely solid mechanical production. These demands focus on optimal production processes and workflows, as well as automation and digitization to obtain the exact screw flights rapidly and at a low cost. The company opted for Opcenter™ advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software for detailed production planning. This is part of the Siemens Xcelerator business Platform of software, hardware and services. The implementation was carried out by Siemens’ solution partner, A+B Solutions GmbH, which specializes in digital solutions in the manufacturing sector.

Rolf Eiting, managing director at C.E. Schneckenflügel, believes that digitization is the only way to establish the company’s competitiveness for its future. “When we were founded 40 years ago, we were shaped by the mechanical and manual production processes used to manufacture our sectional flights,” states Eiting. “Today, we make sure the processes are state-of-the-art to offer the best performance at the best price.”

Increasing sales by 100 percent

This attitude now permeates all areas. Eiting recognized that investing in production equipment is only one side of the coin. Investing in digitization significantly increases productivity and sales. “Five years ago, we started to consistently invest in digitalization. This strategic decision led us to increase sales by 100 percent without needing to significantly increase our team.” Eiting continues, “back then, we generated 2.3 million euros with 14 employees and now we generate 4.5 million euros with 17 employees. We also reduced the average delivery time by 50 percent. Additionally, the error rate has drastically reduced while material yield has increased.”

Implementing a central production control system

C. E. Schneckenflügel received the “Große VR-Mittelstandspreis Weser-Ems” 2020 for exemplary optimization and digitalization. The company also made it on the list of the top 100 fastest growing German companies of 2020 according to a survey from the German magazine, Focus, in cooperation with Statista. In the meantime, the production control system has made a significant contribution to the company’s success. “Until a few years ago, we did not have any electronic production control. The production manager and the sales manager spent 20 minutes per day discussing which orders were pending and what had to go out,” Eiting continues. “Then, we started to rebuild our ERP system – infra:NET. This offered a module with production control, which I initially implemented to get accurate information about production use.

Unfortunately, the team’s acceptance was low due to the user interface. When I discovered Opcenter APS from A+B Solutions, I was immediately electrified. We were impressed by the graphical user interface. What kept us from placing an order immediately was the question of the connection to our existing ERP system.”

Gaining a new ERP partnership

The enterprise resource planning (ERP) software manufacturer, iN|ES GmbH in Calw, Germany was looking for a replacement for the previous module for production control. This was created by a small system house whose owner retired and discontinued development. Therefore, iN|ES partnered with A+B Solutions. Since Opcenter APS is offered and distributed worldwide in the software industries sector, it represented a considerable safety factor for iN|ES in terms of consistency and future security. Nothing stood in the way of this cooperation since both are similar sizes and structures, which benefits the combination of ERP and production control.

Successfully incorporating Opcenter APS

The first beneficiary of the cooperation is Eiting. As the initiator, he now benefits from the pilot role. “After the cooperation was established, we introduced Opcenter APS directly and immediately had great experiences. After five days of training and familiarization from A+B Solutions, we were already able to work with the system,” continues Eiting. “Our production manager also uses the software for intensive production planning.” The next step is to link the system to Reiner SCT’s existing personnel time recording system. Master data of machines and personnel are required for comprehensive capacity planning. With the coupling to the personnel time recording system, the data exchange is then automate

Saving material with automation

The automation is the most important aspect for Eiting. It runs like a thread through the entire company. “If there is an opportunity to automate a work step, we take it. Currently, there is no manual input except for order data. No one at our company is involved in permanent data maintenance,” explains Eiting. “Even shipping and handover to the freight forwarder is done automatically. All necessary information flows from the systems, such as ERP, into the production control system. The production control system supplies the plasma cutting system with order data and shows when the order can be produced and on which press. It takes over the automatic generation of the production plans and the work schedules, as well as the transfer to the sheet cutting system where the optimal nesting is carried out independently. The production control system indicates when the cutting can take place at the latest. If the nesting plan is not optimal, it is canceled and the system waits to see if another order with the same sheet thickness comes in. This saves material because there is less waste. The entire work process is fully automatic and we always have an up-to-date status. In the second work step, the cut rings are pressed into screw flights. Based on the data from the production control system, the orders are distributed to the presses.”

Producing short lead times

The time span between order and delivery is relatively short at C. E. Schneckenflügel. The screw flights are cut from sheet metal as rings, then pressed into shape. The customer selects the desired sheet type and thickness as well as their parameters for the screw flights from a stock capacity of 400 tons. The entire production process is exclusively order-related – production only starts when an order is received. As soon as an inquiry is received, the interested party receives a quotation in 24 hours. Once the order has been received, a binding delivery commitment is issued in five to 10 days, regardless of standard or special design. If it must be faster, the express option takes effect. This fast turnaround requires precise detailed production planning.

Maintaining delivery date promises

C. E. Schneckenflügel has about 2,500 active customers. Their order frequencies and volume significantly vary and can range from very small orders of 100 euros to several tens of thousands of euros. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to place orders and deliver them as quickly as possible with the best quality. If we promise a delivery date, it must be met. We achieve this goal with Opcenter APS and the detailed production planning from A+B Solutions. Opcenter APS is the basis for the high productivity we have achieved today. It is the central software in our production,” claims Eiting.

Using Opcenter Scheduling for detailed planning

A+B Solutions helped adapt Opcenter APS to C. E. Schneckenflügel’s manufacturing processes. To achieve a high degree of automation of the processes with short lead times, the focus is on Opcenter Scheduling. By using this module, production processes can be planned well in advance and controlled in the short term. The licensing distinguishes between planners and viewers. The planners include Eiting and Andre Bergenthal, production manager at C. E. Schneckenflügel. Information on production capacity and order status can only be viewed in the sales department. Approximately 100 orders per week are processed this way. Each order is divided into five to six operations, resulting in up to 600 operations that are managed weekly by Opcenter Scheduling.

Resolving process concerns with A+B Solutions

Eiting is happy with A+B Solutions’ performance in terms of consulting, configuration and customization. “By partnering with A+B solutions, we were able to deeply resolve our concerns. We are very satisfied with the implementation. Our production manager, the team and the specialists at A+B Solutions quickly found their way together,” Eiting continues. “From our point of view, it is crucial to show a willingness to change to clearly express one’s wishes and keep the project of intelligent production control in mind.” The reward is a clear increase in productivity that is more efficient than classic investments in people and machines.

Expanding pioneering position

Currently, implementing a quotation generator is in the pipeline, which draws all information on daily updated sheet metal prices, production time and delivery date directly from the systems. The quotation is generated in minutes, online. Opcenter APS plays a key role in this process, as the system accurately determines the current production capacity and the expected. The use of Opcenter Scheduling for detailed production planning makes C. E. Schneckenflügel a digital pioneer in the industry. “Our team became highly enthusiastic about digital detailed production planning once implementing this system. Everyone recognizes the advantages Opcenter APS brings us and the opportunities it opens for us,” claims Eiting. “This modern orientation makes us more attractive as an employer and establishes our competitiveness. Today, despite a higher workload, we have a much better overview of production and smooth processes. As a result, we are much more relaxed from working with greater efficiency. A+B Solutions really gave us digital wings with Siemens Opcenter APS.”

If we promise a delivery date, it must be met. We achieve this goal with Opcenter APS and the detailed production planning from A+B Solutions.

Rolf Eiting, Managing Director
C.E. Schneckenflügel GmbH

Achieving over 30% time savings in solar photovoltaic manufacturing with Siemens Plant Simulation software

Product: Tecnomatix
Industry: Solar Energy

Photovoltaic manufacturing in the solar industry is facing increasingly diverse demands, requiring companies to balance economic efficiency with a sustainable vision for our planet. To meet these high standards, integrated and sophisticated technologies are essential throughout the entire value chain, from polysilicon production and ingot cutting to cell manufacturing and module assembly. Siemens Digital Industries Software Tecnomatix Plant Simulation software is a powerful tool that enables companies like M10 Solar Equipment GmbH to optimize their operations, resulting in remarkable time savings of over 30%.

Introducing M10 Solar Equipment GmbH

M10 Solar Equipment GmbH, a leading manufacturer of automatic systems for photovoltaic module production, is dedicated to advancing the global energy transition. Focusing on ECA (Electrically Conductive Adhesive) connection technology in conjunction with schematic technology, M10 developed the Surface machine to enable the industrial-scale implementation of this innovative module manufacturing approach. The company’s mission is to supply the European and global markets with cutting-edge machine technology that drives the renewable energy revolution.

The importance of simulation in development

Simulation plays a pivotal role in the development process at M10. Utilizing Plant Simulation software for photovoltaic manufacturing, the company was able to accurately model its goals of producing 12,010 strips per hour. This simulation-based approach allowed them to optimize production lines, streamline processes, reduce employee travel distances, minimize machine downtimes, shorten setup times and optimize energy consumption. Through the collaboration with Siemens, M10 achieved their objectives and realized significant time savings of over 30% throughout the entire project duration.

Driving innovation and collaboration

The collaboration between Siemens and M10 for photovoltaic manufacturing brought significant advantages and enabled the creation of new industry standards in automation. This partnership empowered all stakeholders involved to perfectly align their expertise and leverage innovative technologies, providing a competitive advantage in the blossoming European production landscape, particularly in Germany. By working together as equals with shared goals, both companies were able to provide strong mutual support and achieve remarkable results. These efforts supported the growth of the solar industry, especially in solar glass production, contributing to the revitalization of European value chains and bolstering the renewable energy transition.

Conclusion

Siemens Tecnomatix Plant Simulation software has played a crucial role in enabling M10 Solar Equipment GmbH to achieve remarkable time savings of over 30% in their solar photovoltaic manufacturing processes. By leveraging this powerful simulation software, M10 Solar Equipment GmbH optimized their production line, resulting in reduced operational inefficiencies and enhanced productivity. This success story showcases the immense potential of collaboration between innovative companies and the impact it can have on the solar industry, the energy transition and the overall growth of sustainable manufacturing practices.

Reducing manual planning time for plastic material manufacturing

Product: Opcenter
Industry: Plastic

Not knowing or seeing the future and day-to-day planning was a nightmare. Then, I was introduced to Opcenter Scheduling, the best program for scheduling production.

Mitja Pavlic, Head of Planning Department
Plastoform Šmarjeta

Manufacturing thermoformable plastic material

Plastoform is one of Europe’s leading thermoformable plastic material manufacturers for the automotive, agriculture and marine industries. Headquartered in Šmarješke Toplice, Slovenia, Plastoform manufactures products and parts used in industrial machinery, recreational and special vehicles, busses, medical equipment, gaming units and more. Plastoform employs the thermoforming process, which is a method for molding plastic sheets into three-dimensional shapes using heat. Its production line also consists of computer numerical control (CNC) trimming, polyurethane (PU) foam technology, textile finishing and 3D scanning.

The company stands out from its competitors with its high adaptability to customer design needs, in-house tooling manufacturing capabilities, proactive and reactive continuous improvement, process control and flexibility. Currently, its technologies consist of 20 thermoforming machines and 19 5-axis CNC trimming machines.

Optimizing production scheduling

Plastoform found that its machine setup was wasting time during production. Its CNC machines typically take 20 minutes to set up, whereas its more complicated machines take about an hour. Additionally, it needed a way to manage orders in its production process and its existing tools were not efficient.

With the goal to increase planning efficiency, Plastoform was seeking a modern information system that it could integrate with its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to support production scheduling. It wanted to increase planning efficiency by creating schedules for longer periods of time as well as optimizing its machines and tooling.

“Most people think that planning is a stressful job. It is if you do not have the tools to do it,” explains Mitja Pavlic, head of planning department at Plastoform.

Using Opcenter Scheduling to increase planning efficiency

Being able to look far into the production future enables the team to discover bottlenecks and areas of improvement. Therefore, Plastoform selected Opcenter™ Scheduling software, which is a part of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware and services.

Plastoform worked with Siemens’ solution partner, INEA d.o.o., which specializes in solving complex operations and supply chain problems in manufacturing. INEA installed Opcenter Scheduling and offered valuable insights on production planning and detailed scheduling efficiencies while also providing an operations roadmap.

Unlike Plastoform’s previous scheduling system, Opcenter Scheduling considers existing manufacturing constraints such as materials, tools, operators and capacity for production schedule generation. Opcenter Scheduling’s out-of-the-box (OOTB) versions provide an interactive interface to understand the current workload on the shop floor and the impact of day-to-day changes on customer delivery.

“Not knowing or seeing the future and day-to-day planning was a nightmare. Then, I was introduced to Opcenter Scheduling, the best program for scheduling production,” explains Pavlic.

Incorporating Opcenter Scheduling helped Plastoform navigate operational obstacles and improve production planning and detailed scheduling. It enabled the team to test out multiple production options, ultimately reducing bottlenecks. “Efficient planning is a key challenge in guaranteeing quality service and products for our customers. After introducing Opcenter Scheduling, I can say that I finally see into the future,” states Pavlic.

Expanding the planning horizon

When Plastoform felt more in control of their production scheduling and had increased its planning horizon, it tested the concept of reducing stock levels and pushing just-in-time (JIT) deliveries by having materials delivered directly to the production area as needed. In a few projects, it reduced stock levels by over 90 percent during a 14-day production schedule and had stable JIT deliveries.

With longer production schedules, Plastoform could provide accurate delivery dates and enable its suppliers to deliver right on time when the materials were required. Using Opcenter Scheduling enabled the team to automatically schedule 20,000 working hours compared to previously manually scheduling only 8,000 working hours with many difficulties. Plastoform also reduced the number of weekly setups by increasing planning efficiency and optimizing tooling. This increased production time by eight percent.

Another benefit of a longer planning horizon is that it enables the team to provide more accurate delivery dates, resulting in higher customer satisfaction with on-time deliveries.

’’Plastoform is an excellent example of what can be done with the right tool and the right team. As a result of using Opcenter Scheduling, it improved its ERP data, scheduling process and the quality of the entire supply chain,” explains Helena Trdan Campa, Opcenter Scheduling project manager at INEA.

After seeing the positive results of the first Opcenter Scheduling implementation, Plastoform is thinking about expanding its system with additional Opcenter Scheduling configuration to further improve its state-of-the-art scheduling process.

Plastoform is an excellent example of what can be done with the right tool and the right team. As a result of using Opcenter Scheduling, it improved its ERP data, scheduling process and the quality of the entire supply chain.

Helena Trdan Campa, Opcenter Scheduling Project Manager
INEA d.o.o
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