Siemens PLM Software Focuses on Integration

Company uses Siemens PLM Connections conference to explain how it’s stitching together solutions from recent acquisitions into an effective digital thread.

This year’s Siemens PLM Connection, which ran from June 4-7 in Phoenix, focused on how companies could effectively harness innovation, and bring their design workflows into the digital thread. “You can’t just throw technology at a problem,” said Siemens PLM Software CEO Tony Hemmelgarn in his opening keynote. “It’s all about integration.”

With all of the acquisitions Siemens PLM Software has made — approximately $10 billion in investments since 2007 — it’s clear the company is focusing on integrating their capabilities into its programs and building an offering that gives users an extensive toolset for all types of applications. The most prominent of these business deals was last year’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Mentor. One year after the news, Siemens has integrated capabilities for electronics design across its portfolio — especially in Solid Edge, but also within NX and Simcenter.

“In industries [such as auto and aerospace], there’s an explosion of electrical content, and you have to design in the context of 3D systems,” explained Martin O’Brien, vice president and general manager, Integrated Electrical Systems Division, in an executive Q&A at the conference. “Our integration takes tools to a whole new level — we’re fostering genuine cross-discipline collaboration in real time. We’ve always been able to collaborate, but now it’s better.”

Among the main components Solid Edge gained from Mentor are wiring design and verification, harness design and documentation, built-in libraries and tools for circuit design. For printed circuit board (PCB) applications, users now have access to schematic capture and layout sketching, routing and semi-automated connections. Mentor’s skills also bring enhanced electronic CAD import abilities, and expanded analysis types. This further bridges the gap between mechanical CAD and ECAD, especially with the launch of the cloud-based Solid Edge Portal.

In addition to showcasing features integrated from Mentor, Siemens also announced a partnership with HP to support full-color 3D printing from its software.

“Adding the full-color capabilities of HP’s expanded Multi Jet Fusion platform to Siemens’ market-leading design and manufacturing solutions creates an immense new set of possibilities for products and applications,” said Stephen Nigro, president of 3D Printing, HP Inc. “It is exciting to deliver the power of our technologies to customers large and small, fundamentally changing the 3D printing end-to-end process, from design to prototyping and ultimately manufacturing.”

To make good on the promises of innovation and collaboration, Siemens has announced updates for its software at the show.

NX Gets a Licensing Update

Among the largest announcements from this year’s show was that starting in January 2019, NX will now be on a continuous release model, instead of providing yearly updates and bug fixes. The goal, the company notes, is to keep users up to date, and hopefully ease the cost of upgrades — especially with the majority of its user base still running on versions of NX that are at least five years old.

“Even if we fix a problem, an average customer is taking three to four years to see it,” said Bob Haubrock, senior vice president, product engineering software. “We’re the first major CAD system to do this, it requires more than a million automatic test cases,” he continued, referring to the continuous release schedule.

There is no set plan for the frequency of these upgrades. Haubrock says they could be as frequent as every day, if Siemens finds it necessary. However, IT departments will be able to deploy them on their own timelines. It is based on the Windows update model.

Additional features to NX augment additive manufacturing workflows, in release 12.02, with capabilities for manual support creation, nesting controls, part and support patterning, and a direct connection to EOS machines from the software.

Teamcenter Looks for Ease of Use

The big focus for Teamcenter updates at this year’s event centered around user experience and cloud options across the board. “We’ve got a lot of feedback from customers on Active Workspace and where we’re going, [so] we’re focusing every screen and every workflow around efficiency, around look and feel, and around making things more intuitive,” explained Joe Bohman, executive vice president of lifecycle collaboration software.

Along with user experience, performance metrics also get a boost in this release. A main reason behind this, Bohman says, is because the release of Active Workspace 4 is now built on reusable building blocks of code, making it easier for users to directly integrate PLM data from connected applications, and requiring a lot less code to simply run the program.

With this increased performance, the company hopes to make it easier for organizations to work with technical and business applications within the Active Workspace environment, which will provide a framework for 3D leadership.

Beyond ease-of-use and application performance, Teamcenter 12 includes upgrades for scalability, such as cloud options from AWS and Microsoft Azure. For further collaboration, Bohman adds, Siemens has long-term plans to add compatibility for applications like Slack and Amazon Alexa

Bringing Simulation Up Front

Within today’s digital enterprise, using simulation for verification before a part is manufactured is an essential part of the design process. However, with the digitalization of design, engineers are seeing more of a push for bringing simulation upfront and getting optimal assemblies where all components are easily viable. “Most products are not a single component, but entire assemblies, so we are expanding this idea of generative engineering into systems and simulation,” says Jan Leuridan, senior vice president of Simulation and Test at Siemens PLM.

Siemens’ acquisitions of LMS.Testlab, Mentor and TASS are giving Simcenter a boost for not only more complex simulations, but also comprehensive simulations that combine both virtual and real-world data. Leuridan notes that a lot of customers are often venturing into uncharted domains with simulations, having the integration of both test and virtual data brings huge advantages, and can set a foundation for functional digital twins, which bring enormous benefit to the digital thread based workflow.

To accommodate the changing nature of simulation, Leuridan says that Simcenter and the freshly released Testlab are designed to provide full end-to-end durability testing, combining data collection and analytics into one single environment. It covers every step of a typical test, from channel setup and measurements, to validation, consolidation, analysis, and reporting, he said. There is also a new load and fatigue analysis solution.

Going forward, Leuridan noted that Simcenter is looking to expand functions for electromagnetics via tools from Mentor, CD-adapco STAR-CCM+ and Infolytica acquisitions.

This year’s Siemens PLM Connection brought no shortage of updates and software advancements for its approximately 3,000 attendees. With Siemens’ efforts to advance applications such as 3D printing, aerospace and autonomous cars through its platforms, it’s made seamless integration from acquisitions a top priority. The idea is to provide users with the ability to freely to innovate without getting bogged down by trying to get new capabilities up and running.

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About the Author

Jess Lulka's avatar
Jess Lulka

Jess Lulka is a former associate editor for Digital Engineering. Contact her via [email protected].

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