The Future of ManufacturingThe Future of Manufacturing

Success Stories

Digitalization in manufacturing: the Maserati Ghibli

A highlight for car and technology enthusiasts as well as for automation experts: The new Maserati Ghibli. The production of the Italian sports car is a perfect example of digitalization in automobile manufacturing, helping processes become more efficient, faster and more reliable.

The Maserati Ghibli represents the perfect fusion of Italy’s traditional passion for sports cars and sophisticated design with state-of-the-art planning, development, and manufacturing methods. No wonder this business sedan demonstrates market appeal: In 2014, Maserati not only celebrated the 100th anniversary of its brand but also, thanks to the Ghibli, the strongest year of sales in the company’s entire history.

The success of the Maserati Ghibli is a perfect example of the benefits that automobile manufacturers are already enjoying as a result of the digitalization of processes. The components were developed in NX, the production processes were efficiently simulated in detail using the Tecnomatix product portfolio, and Siemens TIA is used for the flexible automation of the production line. The complex production processes are planned, optimized, and monitored with SIMATIC IT MES software.

The new Maserati Ghibli was shown as one of the four »digitalization showcases« at the Siemens Digitalization Forum during the Hannover Messe 2015.


Car door assembly: Siemens helps to further automate and speed up processes and increase quality

In view of the intense competitive pressure and the increasing requirements of customers, automobile manufacturers are compelled to continuously increase their productivity without compromising on quality - or, indeed, even with improvement in quality. Door assembly is a typical area requiring optimization. Today, the doors are installed manually which means that the gap measurements are subject to certain fluctuations. It also poses a major challenge for the manufacturers to design ergonomic workplaces for their employees in door assembly.

At the 2014 Hannover Messe, Siemens demonstrated how doors can be installed fully automatically in the car body assembly process. Thanks to a conveyor technology solution developed by Siemens, door installation for as many as four different vehicle models is possible on a single production line. The system on display was controlled by the new fail-safe, high-end CPU Simatic S7-1518F, and featured Profinet-based networking. Sinamics frequency converters do not need a braking resistor and feed braking energy back into the grid. Finally, all components had been configured and programmed with the TIA Portal.

Siemens also presented an exciting future scenario. Manufacturing of the future was visualized in a model showing how the individual manufacturing elements would be able to communicate with each other and make autonomous decisions. In this way, a virtual model of a self-organizing production plant was brought to life before the eyes of the visitors to the Hannover Messe, offering them an impressive glimpse of the future of manufacturing.

OptoTech Optikmaschinen: Revealing details from space

OptoTech Optikmaschinen GmbH has brought the world’s biggest and most advanced precision optics machine to market. The UPG 2000 CNC is used to produce high-precision telescope mirrors with diameters of up to two meters for space exploration. The machine works with a precision of 30 nanometers: 0.00003 millimeters.

This giant is packed full of industry software, control and automation technology from Siemens. The OptoTech engineers used NX, the integrated CAD/CAE/CAM portfolio from Siemens PLM Software for digital design and verification, to first develop the machine on a computer screen. This “virtual machine” was then analyzed, simulated, and optimized by the employees at Siemens Mechatronic Support.

Control is handled by a SINUMERIK 840Dsl, the latest generation of the CNC control system. Its user interface was adapted specifically for the needs of OptoTech. A SINAMICS S120 drive is responsible for the exact movements of the eight-axis ultra-precision grinding and polishing machine. The control system and drive are interconnected with a Drive-CliQ bus.

The commissioning of the machine was aided by several Siemens service engineers, and a number of technical consultants supported the project as well. The result of such excellent collaboration was a surface precision of 3µm over a diameter of about 1.5 meters. This precision is the prerequisite for using the machine in the astronomy industry.

In Siemens, OptoTech found a partner capable of combining innovative software with powerful hardware for its unparalleled optical machine. Thanks to the virtual planning and optimization of the high-precision machine, OptoTech can work closely with scientists and policy makers to quickly meet the needs of the world market – right in Germany.

Petrobras: Digitally controlled oil refinery for the 21st century meets new standards

Petrobras, an important global player in the oil and gas business, has developed a revolutionary deepwater drilling technology that allows oil platforms off the coast of Brazil to drill at a depth of more than 1,000 meters. Due to this groundbreaking development, the company is now making additional investments to expand its downstream capacities. With the state-of-the-art Abreu e Lima refinery near the port of Suape, Petrobras has created a digitally controlled oil refinery for the 21st century – one that meets new standards of quality, safety, environmental protection, and occupational safety.

In Siemens, Petrobras found a reliable partner that could meet the challenge of ensuring the close integration of all engineering processes. The most important requirement of the solution was to establish uniform standards based on an object-oriented database, providing a solution that would integrate all systems of the engineering partners – all while meeting the regulations and guidelines for the oil and gas industry.

After evaluating the available options, Petrobras chose Comos, the Siemens software solution for the integrated lifecycle management of industrial plants. Comos was used from the very beginning of the project, when Petrobras initiated the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase for the new refinery. Comos was also used in subsequent project phases to share data and specifications with more than a dozen different companies. Comos additionally helped to provide training and consulting services. Because the plant is a twin operation, Comos significantly speeded up the design of the second plant. Petrobras only needed about 20% of the labor it originally expected.

The plant and project team are currently preparing for the transition to the operational and maintenance phase. In this area, Petrobras values Comos’ capabilities of visualization and 3-D simulation.

The Abreu e Lima refinery is a flagship project not only for Petrobras but also for Siemens, as it is among the largest and most complex greenfield projects executed with Comos.