Siemens and Dow are collaborating to showcase the future of automation with a process industry test bed at MxD, a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing institute and innovation centre near downtown Chicago. This new test bed offers a hands-on demonstration of how innovative software and IoT come together with hardware to accelerate digitalisation for the process industries. Companies can now see firsthand how to design, monitor and maintain their products more effectively, efficiently and, even remotely, using data and digital tools.
Today, most of the process industry operates on methods and workflows that have remained relatively untouched for the last 30 years. This new test bed offers a glimpse of how Siemens is helping customers prepare for the future of process automation. From web-based process control on the plant floor with a tablet, to global collaboration in real time and integrated modular automation, digitalising the process industries will continue to blur the lines between the digital and real worlds. For the connected mobile worker, augmented reality glasses and tablets can offer digitalised documentation for quicker and easier access to safety manuals and maintenance forms that can boost productivity, R&D and compliance.
“Providing this hands-on experience will be critical for digital transformation in the process industries, showing how the digital twin and the connected mobile worker can enable greater productivity, reliability and safety,” stated Billy Bardin, Global Digitalization Director at Dow.
Employing a comprehensive selection automation technology, Siemens is helping bring the test bed to life. SIMATIC PCS neo process control technology, Siemens’ innovative distributed control system (DCS), provides operators simple and secure access, making remote operation easier than ever before. Maintenance teams benefit from device-independent access, with actionable diagnostic and maintenance information accessible from their tablets, laptops, or multi-monitor stations. For engineering, efficient web-based collaboration opens new possibilities by working in parallel. Whether it is hardware planning, control logic, or operator displays, all tasks can be engineered in any workflow with flexibility that not only adapts to the availability of staff, but to the location as well. Integrated into SIMATIC PCS neo, Siemens’ smart field instrumentation oversees the operation of the process and provides advanced health, operation, as well as diagnostic data to ensure reliable and safe operation.
The Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of software and services provides the digital fabric that enables the test bed design, simulation, commissioning and process operations, planning, quality, as well as analysis of IoT data. Its Mendix™ low-code application development platform drives business transformation by leveraging real-time sensor and asset data to provide actionable information. Xcelerator enables workers to gain digital skills as they further innovate the test bed.
“This process-based digital twin demonstrator integrates Siemens’ hardware and software to show what the future of the process industries will look like,” said Raj Batra, President of Digital Industries for Siemens USA. “This joint effort with Dow and MxD shows how digitalisation can maximise flexibility, productivity, and efficiency in the process industries.”
Dow, Siemens, MxD and Siemens’ integrator partner, DMC, collectively bring transformative workforce benefits to the process industries at a time when companies are accelerating their digitalizstion plans, and remote accessibility is becoming more of a staple with the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Digitalising the process industries, today, can help create a safer work environment for plant workers and better products for their customers.
MxD’s 22,000-square-foot factory floor already features some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world. “This new process test bed is an exciting addition, allowing innovative manufacturers to actually experience technology that’s essential for their digital transformation,” said Chandra Brown, CEO of MxD, the nation’s digital manufacturing institute and the National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing.
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