Siemens uses the NavVis Digital Factory Solution for factory planning & operations
Siemens Electronics Works Amberg is a lighthouse factory that routinely pushes the boundaries of innovation in manufacturing; working with NavVis, they succeeded in implementing a fully immersive digital twin of the production halls and offices.
The NavVis M6 Mobile Mapping System captured all 10,000 sqm of the Siemens Electronics Works Amberg in a single day, with no interruption to production.
Assembly line planners managing machine relocation between sister factories are able to speed up planning, better utilize factory space, and significantly reduce travel costs.
The 3D building of the facory facilitates supplier conversations during implementation, enabling assembly planners to show rather than explain the necessary requirements.
With support from NavVis IndoorViewer, EWA conducts over 400 tours each year with prospective customers to showcase their pioneering digital factory operations.
Points of Interest are used to highlight and collate related information on important elements within the factory, for example key machines and assembly lines.
Introducing the Siemens Electronics Works Amberg Factory
The Siemens Electronics Works Amberg (EWA), located in Germany, was founded in 1989 and manufactures a range of SIMATIC products, which are programmable logic controllers and human machine interfaces. The Amberg site is widely recognized as a world leading digital factory, pioneering digitalization initiatives to drive efficiencies and shorten time to market.
The teams at EWA have a single-minded focus on driving continuous improvements, and it has reaped significant results. Without increasing the scale of the production area – 10,000 square meters – and with almost no change to staffing levels, the factory has increased its production volume 13-fold since 1990.
Such efficiency gains have also increased production flexibility, enabling the factory to manufacture over 1,000 product variants per day and one product per second. Siemens has since rolled out the digital factory best practices pioneered at EWA to two sister locations.
EWA continues to push the boundaries of digital factory innovation by completing a project with NavVis to implement a fully immersive digital twin of the indoor space within the factory.
As with all manufacturing facilities, there are multiple stakeholders and parties interested in seeing and gaining an in-depth understanding of the as-is state of the EWA factory.
Planners need accurate data and context for assembly line relocation projects, both for initial planning, as well as implementation when tendering the necessary suppliers. Keeping track and accurately documenting the multiple incremental shop floor changes implemented to respond to new market demands or drive greater efficiency can be an incredibly challenging task. Of course, this is only amplified in a factory as fast-evolving as EWA.
Siemens also frequently invite potential customers to visit the EWA site, running over 400 factory tours a year. Tours are conducted on a balcony above the shop floor for safety reasons, as well as to avoid disrupting production schedules. However, with a birdseye view from the balcony, it can be difficult to provide the full picture, for example taking a closer look at specific machines.
Siemens approached NavVis to investigate how our digital factory solution could enable them to build a digital twin of their factory space. Their first idea was to quickly generate a point cloud of their production space, planning to import this rich point cloud data to create a CAD model of their factory. The unique NavVis M6 Mobile Mapping System enabled them to scan 10,000 sqm in one day minimizing interruption to production.
But when the team first reviewed their immersive factory digital twin in NavVis IndoorViewer, the extensive value of the NavVis Digital Factory Solution truly became apparent. Combining accurate point cloud data with 360° panoramic images, NavVis IndoorViewer provides an immersive 3D walkthrough, that enables the user to interact with a space exactly as they would do in person. All required stakeholders can instantly review the factory as-is state, at the click of a button, from any browser or device.
“We have to continuously relocate machines and equipment to other factories. Now my stakeholders don't have to come to Amberg to take measurements, they simply navigate the immersive 3D model of our factory.”
Thomas MeierHead of Technology Excellence, Siemens
Siemens are now using their factory digital twin of the EWA for a number of different use cases, as well as planning for future potential applications and integrations.
Assembly Line Planning & Relocation: Assembly line planners managing machine relocation between sister factories were able to speed up planning, better utilize factory space and significantly reduce travel costs. On average, four assembly lines measuring 60-70 meters are relocated each year. Previously, a move from EWA to another production facility meant that colleagues would be flown over to Amberg to collect all the information needed to effectively implement the line within their own plant. If more detail was required post the first visit, multiple follow up trips would also then potentially be scheduled.
With NavVis IndoorViewer, EWA planners are able to share a link to the exact location of the affected line in their factory digital twin, so their colleagues from another locations around the globe could review the current set up and take measurements as and when they needed, virtually.
The factory digital twin also facilitates supplier conversations during implementation, enabling assembly planners to show rather than explain the necessary requirements.
Virtual Factory Tours: As mentioned, Siemens conducts over 400 tours each year with prospective customers to showcase their pioneering digital factory operations at the EWA. With NavVis IndoorViewer, Siemens is now able to supplement the view from the visitors’ balcony with greater detail around specific machines and lines, using the digital twin to zoom in on specific areas of interest. The team present the pertinent details of their factory operations via touch-enabled terminals situated on the balcony, running NavVis IndoorViewer. In future, it is expected that 15-20% of the on-site factory tours could be replaced entirely by virtual tours.
IoT Integration: Finally, the Siemens team have connected live feeds of production performance and quality data with Points of Interest (POI) in NavVis IndoorViewer. POIs can be used to highlight and collate related information on important elements within the factory, for example key machines and assembly lines. Siemens integrated their IoT data here with the ambition to use their NavVis digital twin as a holistic visual interface for their digital factory, helping users to intuitively navigate the large number of IoT data streams.
Next Steps: To keep their factory digital twins up to date, Siemens plans to scan their factory in Amberg with the NavVis M6 Indoor Mobile Mapping System multiple times a year. And, after a successful implementation at EWA, the NavVis digital factory solution is now being rolled out as a repeatable model to sister factories.