Siemens Releases Tecnomatix 11

Siemens PLM Software has announced the release of the latest version of its widely used digital manufacturing solution for manufacturing engineering, Tecnomatix 11. The latest release offers a more advanced digital manufacturing solution that promises to deliver smart, fast, and lean manufacturing, including Manufacturing Process Management (MPM).

New in Tecnomatix 11
Tecnomatix 11 provides customers the ability to take control with a single source of manufacturing knowledge that covers everything from engineering design to smarter decisions for manufacturing with collaborative product and process development. Enterprise bill-of-process (eBOP) streamlines mixed-model production planning of platform-based product architectures, while line balancing optimizes that mixed-model production and shows manufacturing planners the impact of introducing new products to existing line workloads. Enhancements to the eBOP and line balancing capabilities further automate mixed-model, mixed-plant eBOP creation and allow for balancing a manufacturing line with multiple product variants.

For automotive manufacturers, full body-in-white (BiW) workflows are now supported by the manufacturing data model through new event-based data objects and multi-CAD (computer aided design) import of weld information. BiW processing works with Manufacturing Process Planner and Process Simulate on Teamcenter, Siemens’ flagship product lifecycle management (PLM) product. Moreover, text and visualization enhancements to 3D PDF documents and their deeper integration with standard textual web-based work instruction solutions provide clear communication to shop floor operators. Last but not least, enhancements to Variation Analysis provide better trade-off decisions and higher fidelity results by adding a “two sigma” range and inactivating tolerances in the simulation for a more conservative analysis.

Following are other select detailed enhancements in Tecnomatix 11 that should help manufacturers plan more flexible and efficient processes for increasingly complex products:

  • Ten percent faster robotic simulation and offline programming

  • Two-way integration between PLM and the Simatic MES (manufacturing execution system) that automates the creation of the manufacturing work plan in Siemens’ Simatic MES product and allows for data and issue capture from the MES system back into Teamcenter PLM

While the aforementioned capabilities sound truly impressive, I don't know how many companies can achieve this entire digital manufacturing vision. Tecnomatix is the digital manufacturing market share leader, and Siemens (and the product’s previous owners) have always been ahead of the curve (see more details here). Traditionally, while the vendor would win big deals, closing rates have been sporadic. Since the vendor and customers need a lot of talent, Siemens often had either feast or famine in its services business. Often it is not the software but the quality of data or the lack of skilled simulation IT exports that are the issue.

Making Tecnomatix More Feasible
I think there are the following two factors in play when it comes to a wider adoption of Tecnomatix: 1) What Siemens is doing about complexity reduction in its digital manufacturing solution itself, and 2) The increasing product/process complexity requiring a culture change on the importance/emphasis of manufacturing engineering and the tools available.

The trouble with wrapping everything into a single launch event, as Siemens did with Tecnomatix, is that it creates a belief (with resulting concerns) that Tecnomatix is a massive single application, perhaps more like Siemens’ NX CAD or Teamcenter PLM suites. However what Siemens wants the market to realize is that Tecnomatix is a set of integrated but independent applications that can be run in conjunction to the PLM backbone or even stand alone. These solutions have been developed with various engineering disciplines to address specific needs of the different types of corporate structures around those disciplines. For example, some companies have robotics engineers that are tied to controls engineers who, while sharing the same objective of programming equipment, have different but integrated tools at their disposal.

There are some areas that might provide significant collaborative value to the company when integrating into the PLM backbone, such as eBOP for things like BIW on the backbone. Ultimately the talent does not have to be "super-users" since the applications are spread across the company and share data/processes through the PLM backbone. Perhaps about 15 years ago or so there was a shortage of skills, but these applications are mainstream now and companies have plenty of expertise. In addition, there are plenty of engineering firms that can support various industries.

Last but not least, many of the applications and the enhancements that Siemens makes are a direct result of customers’ input, which stems from the large base the vendor has and the resulting acceptance of its solutions. Folks who work at Siemens and who were former manufacturing engineers have seen digital manufacturing grow over the years. For example, during their time in manufacturing engineering at GM there were great strides made in overhauling the business to take advantage of the benefits of these applications to remove change and cost from downstream operations.
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