On Tuesday at Hannover Messe, Siemens Digital Industries Software and IBM announced they would deepen their software partnership with the development of an integrated suite of tools to address system engineering across several disciplines. The partnership also will include lifecycle management and asset management in an opportunity to create a single digital thread throughout the manufacturing infrastructure.
“Manufacturing companies are struggling to bring new products to market on time, as the current tools, processes and information to manage these components are siloed and disconnected,” said Dr. Kareem Yusuf, senior vice president, Product Management and Growth, IBM Software, in the press release announcing the collaboration. “To address this gap, IBM and Siemens are collaborating on a digital thread environment to integrate sustainability practices throughout the lifecycle of a product, from design, production, operation, maintenance and beyond.”
In an interview with Machine Design at Hannover Messe, Tony Hemmelgarn, CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software, said the collaboration brings some powerful assets from both sides together in a single package.
“We’ve always been really strong at model-based engineering. Our view is that [IBM’s Engineering System Design] Rhapsody always has been a strong name. The question was, how do we take it forward?” Hemmelgarn said. “What IBM sees in us is what we do with digital twins. This is taking our partnership to the next level. Now we have development teams working together."
The IBM collaboration is a further step in the evolution of Siemens from a hardware company to a software company, and from selling devices to selling service. Hemmelgarn said that evolution continues as newer technologies such as digital twins gain greater acceptance.
“One of the great things about this industry is that you’re never done,” Hemmelgarn said. “The adoption really accelerated through COVID. People realized that if I don’t have a digital enterprise, I can’t move fast enough. With our customers who had a good digital enterprise, they were able to move faster. Those who didn’t, struggled.”
Gaining a deeper application of concepts such as the digital twin means understanding completely what that terms entails. “The next challenge is that if you’ve got a digital twin that’s not comprehensive, is it really a digital twin?” Hemmelgarn said. “If all I can do is mechanical, do I have a digital twin? If I can’t represent models, do I have a digital twin?”
In its joint announcement, Siemens and IBM said its SysML v1 suite of integrated engineering software “is expected to support traceability and sustainable product development using a digital thread that links mechanical, electronics, electrical engineering and software design and implementation. It is intended to span the product lifecycle, from early design and manufacturing to operations, maintenance, update and end of life management.”
The software collaboration will link Rhapsody and the Siemens Xcelerator software service platform as well as connecting IBM’s Maximo asset management software with Siemens’ Teamcenter software.
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