“If you digitalise an inefficient process, you will create an inefficient digitalised process with lots of waste built in.”
In 2019, Siemens needed to design and manufacture a new product, the G120X, a drive unit that provides efficient regulation of the power fed to an electric motor. These motors can drive a variety of devices, such as pumps or fans, used in the wastewater or heating, ventilation and air conditioning sectors.
If traditional manufacturing methods were used, experience had shown the entire production process would take up to five years. However, the factory site available in Congleton was constrained by location and size, and had an implementation time available of only 12 months.
The use of digital tools allowed concurrent design and manufacture to take place, significantly reducing production timelines. The combination of optimising product designs for automation, using digital twins of complex automations and simulating these systems prior to any physical commissioning has allowed the production line to be installed within twelve months. Together, the design tools simulated the physical, thermal and vibrational parameters of the production and modelled how the entire automation system worked together.
Digitalisation of the factory has more than doubled its production capacity. By using Siemens Congleton as an example, the future UK manufacturing workforce can combine knowledge of digital tools with efficient resource consumption principles to increase manufacturing productivity.