Whether reviewing operations overall or focussing on energy costs – Plant Simulation finds ways to optimise production processes

As a Smart Expert partner working Siemens Digital Industries, it’s always great to share customer success stories to from across the different manufacturing industry sectors. Recent Siemens projects from the automotive industry give insights into the the versatility of Plant Simulation software, the tool provides a strategic overview of a complete operation in a digital form so entire production processes can be reviewed, or specific elements, such as energy consumption, can be investigated. The range of scope when finding new ways to drive operational efficiencies can be seen in the latest case studies below from an automotive supplier, Cosma Assembly Technology, and original equipment manufacturer BMW.

Innovation in the automotive supply chain

As an industry with a complex supply chain there are plenty of opportunities for revisiting production processes as and when new products and their parts are needed, along with continual improvements of core production processes. The combination of car makers often manufacturing their core parts and components for engines in-house and collaborating with different specialists across the supply chain benefits from a strategic overview of all production on the shop floor.

‘As new production lines are designed in parallel with the development process of the product to be produced there, planning in the virtual world using Plant Simulation has effectively doubled the innovation rate in the automotive industry. While it took an average of five to six years to get a new generation of engines to market in the 1980s, it takes only about three years now.’
Excerpt from BMW case study from Siemens.

Plant Simulation software from Siemens Digital Industries gives opportunities to test different scenarios to find the most efficient layout options. A key benefit of simulation shown below is how simulation can be used to drive efficiencies in a production originally managed using static data in spreadsheets, rather than dynamic data generated in a simulation.

Automotive supplier moves from spreadsheets to simulation to create trusted plans in minutes and reduce operational costs

Cosma Assembly Technology (CAT), part of Magna-International, is a leading international automotive supplier providing a range of body, chassis and engineering services to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. Previously laid out process in 2D, then performed resource/ work-content requirements calculations in excel spreadsheets. With increasingly tighter product launch timelines from automotive manufacturers, there was a need to identify the optimal use of resources, to deliver target throughput. Whilst working with spreadsheets to create production plans meets requirements, this takes more time to complete and there are the data that assumptions are built on are fixed.

‘With Plant Simulation, we can simulate an entire year of production for a large scale manufacturing system in just minutes’

William Liang, Simulation Engineer, Cosma International

After creating a digital twin of production in Plant Simulation, the team were able to generate dynamic production data to test scenarios and clearly identify optimised plans for different scenarios, reducing capital and labour costs with confidence. You can read the full case study here.

Premium car manufacturer optimises line design to deliver more engine variants, maintain throughput and reduce energy costs

Looking at production in a more focused area, BMW Motoren GmbH, the biggest engine plant in the BMW group, focused their work with Plant Simulation on a key production line. The aims were to increase the different types of engine produced by the line and cut energy costs whilst maintaining output levels. In using the digital twin of the line to evaluate the possibilities presented in Plant Simulation simulation software, the team were able to reduce the organisations eco-footprint by 550 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, whilst increasing product diversity and maintaining their outputs. You can read the full case study here.

Using simulation to find new ways for your operation to cut costs

Simulation brings unlimited possibilities for testing and driving continual improvements in manufacturing production processes. With such a powerful tool, there is an investment required in learning to use the software; this is where the team of specialist engineers at Simsol can help with training, installation and project support for manufacturers. Simsol can offer the software and training for in house teams, or can work with your organisation to create and test a bespoke simulation for your production. As smart expert partner of Siemens Digital Industries with over 20 years experience specialising in Plant Simulation, we can work flexibly to help your organisation hit your production targets.

To chat about your optimising your manufacturing production processes, get in touch