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There has always been a need to become a digital enterprise in the manufacturing sector as we need to take a step towards Industry 4.0 and secure the competitiveness with scalable solutions. Same is the case in that of Siemens and rather, this is the correct time to start – by becoming a digital enterprise that would help Siemens to stay ahead of the competition.
However, manufacturing companies, like Siemens, are facing huge challenges as digitalization changes all areas of life and also existing business models. This increases pressure on the industry – but opens up new business opportunities at the same time. Industrial enterprises need to reduce time to market significantly, massively improve flexibility, and increase quality while reducing energy and resource consumption. Another general requirement is security. Digitalization also leads to increasing vulnerability of production plants to cyberattacks – and this increases the need for appropriate security measures.
In case of Siemens, the five major factor that contributes towards investing in Industrial automation are:
A holistic approach towards Systems Automation The holistic approach to optimize the entire value chain. The Digital Enterprise Suite enables Siemens to streamline and digitalize their entire business process, seamlessly integrating suppliers into the mix. It can start from any point of their value chain, right from product design to service delivery, and can extend digitalization gradually, depending on current needs. It also allows analysing production assets and products while performing and feedback the insights into the entire value chain for continuous optimization.
Digital Enterprise Suite – the unique portfolio for digital transformation
The Digital Enterprise Suite offers an integrated portfolio of software-based systems and automation technologies for discrete industries to seamlessly integrate and digitalize the entire value chain, including suppliers. The result of this whole process is a perfect digital copy of the value chain – the Digital Twin. Simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment allows for reduced time to market, increased flexibility, quality and efficiency. With the Digital Enterprise Suite, Siemens integrates Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) –all based on Siemens collaboration platform. Some of the other important factors driving automation in Siemens, thereby making it a key player across all its Business Units be it Building Technologies (BT), Energy Management (EM), Mobility (MO), Process Drives (PD) or Digital Grid & Transmission, are:
1. Reduce Costs of Automation Systems: Many of the technologies that are part of an automated assembly, including robots, have come down in cost in recent years. These savings make the initial investment easier to swallow for small- to mid-sized businesses. Depending on the final cost of the assembly, manufacturers see a return on their automation investment in two years or less.
2. Improved Productivity, Speed, and Efficiency: Robots will master anything you program them to do. After setup, they work 24 hours a day, performing any number of repetitive tasks with little human oversight. More is completed in less time, making manufacturers more productive and efficient. The possibility of human error is removed, improving the quality of the end product.
3. Explosion of New Tech: New automation technologies, like simplified user interfaces, easy robotic programming, improved gripper technology and better vision-guided systems, make automation a no-brainer for many different manufacturing operations.
A whole new type of automation solution, collaborative robots, has become prevalent in the last four years. Other companies as well as suppliers and customers of Siemens such as Rethink Robotics, ABB, General Electric, and Universal Robots, have released new “cobots” that can safely work alongside humans in just about any manner imaginable. At a fraction of the cost of an industrial robot, they are quickly becoming a very attractive option for manufacturers.
4. Reshoring: Reshoring and foreign investments have accelerated in recent years. As labor costs rise overseas and global markets stall, many are seeing the U.S. as the most stable country for manufacturing investment or, in reshoring cases, re-investment. Industrial automation is critical to these investments. The Robotics Industries Association estimates that there are over 230,000 robots at work in American factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in robot use. A recent study by Deloitte shows that America will retake the number one position by 2020 as the most competitive manufacturing nation. Reduced costs of automation assemblies, improvements in productivity, speed, efficiency and quality, the explosion of new technologies, and reshoring are driving growth in automation technology usage, solidifying American manufacturing competitiveness as a result.
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