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INTERVIEW - John O’Connor, Siemens Digital Industries Software

News International-French

4 Jan 2021

JEC Composites Magazine approached John O’Connor, Director, Product and Market Strategy for Aerospace, Siemens Digital Industries Software, to inquire about the group's strategy and vision following its name change.

John O’Connor, Director, Product and Market Strategy for Aerospace, Siemens Digital Industries Software
Siemens Digital Industries Software (Siemens DI Software) have invested in creating a consistent data model for composites across all its software. The company’s Digital Innovation Solutions support the highly complex end-to-end design, analysis, and manufacturing processes that come with engineered composites in today’s industry.

JEC Composites Magazine: Last September, your company’s name changed from Siemens PLM Software to Siemens Digital Industries Software. What does this change reflect?
John O’Connor:
This name change reflects how we have grown from the industry leader in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to the company with the broadest portfolio of industrial software and services in the world. The Digital Industries (DI) moniker captures how our customers around the world are using the Digital Industries portfolio as the foundation for their digitalization strategies. This is particularly true for digitalization of the value chain for composites.

JEC Composites Magazine: More companies are interested in composite materials, what do you offer for these companies?
John O’Connor:
We offer an enterprise level view of composite product development based upon Industry 4.0 principles. Our approach creates high fidelity digital twins of the composite part and process, connecting them with digital threads. It starts with composite material simulation and design, proceeding through manufacturing planning and execution. We offer specific capabilities tailored to composite product development that address the unique material behaviours and manufacturability concerns of composites. This enables our customers to employ design optimization methods that take into account manufacturing constraints. For example, using Simcenter 3D our customers explore the failure modes of composite structures in unique ways that yield highly optimized designs, fully exploiting the potential of composite materials. Also, using Fibersim our customers rapidly define manufacturable designs in a highly concurrent process between design, manufacturing, and simulation engineers. And, only from Siemens, our Teamcenter and Opcenter solutions make product lifecycle management, manufacturing planning, and manufacturing execution “composites aware."

This means they manage, plan, and execute production of a composite part at the laminate level taking into account plies, cores, and other sub-laminate entities. This treats composites as a mainstream material technology, which it has become in the past decade. Throughout this whole process our Mindsphere data analytics capabilities connect the virtual and physical providing insight and the potential for deep learning.

Simcenter enables a full simulation of composite material behaviors, leveraging the material models from MultiMechanics

Simcenter enables a full simulation of composite material behaviors, leveraging the material models from MultiMechanics

JEC Composites Magazine: Siemens acquired MultiMechanics, how does this acquisition benefit composite users?
John O’Connor: Composites are a completely engineered product. This begins with design of the composite material itself. The addition of MultiMechanics into the Simcenter portfolio within Siemens DI Software enables customers to create a digital twin of the material. This closely integrates material science with part design, performance engineering, and manufacturing through a unique Multiscale?? technology. It helps our customers efficiently predict material properties and behaviour at the microstructural level all with an? unprecedented level of speed and accuracy. This capability, only from Siemens, reduces the number of expensive coupon tests required and speeds time to market.

JEC Composites Magazine: How is Siemens DI Software planning on supporting industries using composite materials in their automation?
John O’Connor:
As a world leader in manufacturing automation this is a big topic for Siemens. Simatic factory automation and Sinumerik motion control solutions are pervasive on the production floor. But for composites it is especially salient as we are a key solution provider in the area of automation specific to composite production. Most of the world’s automated fibre placement machines (AFP) run using Siemens Sinumerik motion control. And the software that programs these machines commonly utilizes the Siemens Virtual Numerical Control Kernel (VNCK) to simulate the machine’s performance. This means that the kinematics of the virtual machine simulation are driven by the same control software that drives the actual AFP machine.

Fibersim and NX create the highest fidelity digital twin of the composite part ensuring superior performance simulation and robust manufacturing consumption

Fibersim and NX create the highest fidelity digital twin of the composite part ensuring superior performance simulation and robust manufacturing consumption

A program generated in this way will have several significant cost and quality advantages compared to other approaches. By virtue of Siemens technology operating in the machine, there is easy access to machine data for analytics around production rate and downtime in context of the overall factory operation. Even for hand layup scenarios, Siemens offers industry leading capabilities. Through our extended network of partners, we team with laser projection, metrology, and other vendors to access data through our Manufacturing Interoperability solution. This allows real time monitoring of laser guided layup, foreign object and debris faults, fibre orientation validation, laminate inspection operations, and a variety of other key performance indicators typical in composite production. This data is analysed and contextualized by our Mindsphere product to offer a superior level of insight into and control over the composite manufacturing process.

All of this discussion so far has been around the unique, pre-cure workflows for composites. Post-cure manufacturing automation looks very similar to what you would expect for a generic part, i.e., trimming, drilling, painting, assembly, etc. In the postcure portion of the composite production process the Siemens automation portfolio provides all the same great advantages as you would expect for metallic parts.

Taken all together the Siemens Digital Industries Software approach for composite product development stands apart in terms of its breadth, depth, and value to customers.