Siemens and IBM create digital thread to manage assets

  • April 24, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Siemens and IBM are expanding their long-term partnership by collaborating to develop combined software integrating their offerings for asset management as well as systems engineering and service lifecycle management.

Increasing competitive pressures, tight labour markets and growing environmental compliance objectives require organisations to adopt a more holistic management approach that spans the product and asset lifecycle.

The companies aim to develop combined software to help organisations optimise product lifecycles, and make it easier to improve traceability across processes, prototype and test concepts much earlier in development, and adopt more sustainable product designs. The goal is to help organisations speed innovation and time to market, which can lead to improved quality and lowered costs.

The combined SysML v1 standards-based suite of integrated engineering software is expected to support traceability and sustainable product development using a digital thread that links mechanical, electronics, electrical engineering, and software design and implementation. It is intended to span the product lifecycle, from early design and manufacturing to operations, maintenance, update and end-of-life management.

Initially, the companies are working to connect IBM Rhapsody for systems engineering with the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of software and services including Teamcenter software for product lifecycle management (PLM) and Capital software for electrical and electronic (EE) systems development and software implementation.

The companies have also connected the IBM Maximo application suite for asset management with Teamcenter software to support an integrated digital thread between service engineering, asset management and services execution.

These integrations will focus on the effective reuse of processes and materials to allow traceability for sustainable product development. This can help companies make informed decisions earlier in the design and engineering process to help drive improvements in cost, performance and sustainability. For example, companies can more quickly identify under-performing components or design elements that consume excessive amounts of power, or require maintenance or early replacement, and product innovation can be driven through an integrated digital thread that connects the physical and software assets back into product development.

“A significant portion of product innovation and differentiation contains electrical, electronics and software components,” said Kareem Yusuf, senior vice president at IBM. “Yet, manufacturing companies are struggling to bring new products to market on time, as the current tools, processes and information to manage these components are siloed and disconnected. To address this gap, IBM and Siemens are collaborating on a digital thread environment to integrate sustainability practices throughout the lifecycle of a product, from design, production, operation, maintenance and beyond. This connectivity will help enable quicker time to innovation and compliance preparedness, and overall improved product quality.”

Siemens and IBM are also collaborating to create a SysML v2 based offering with a migration path to help customers transition to the latest systems engineering. SysML supports the specification, analysis, design, verification and validation of a broad range of systems and systems-of-systems. Service lifecycle management can assist in increasing business value by connecting service engineering to service maintenance to facilitate collaborative processes between OEMs and operators.

“Together, Siemens and IBM will deliver simulation-driven systems and software engineering designed to cover the full operational lifecycle,” said Tony Hemmelgarn, CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software. “This can empower our customers to innovate by helping to reduce product development costs, drive continuous improvement and create operational efficiencies across the extended enterprise throughout the product’s operation lifecycle. We are developing this to help companies truly shift left by improving extensibility and reuse of systems models and associated data with standards in an open ecosystem and to enable our customers to develop better products.”

Kamil Mrva, chief information officer at car maker Škoda, an early adopter of the service lifecycle and asset management offering, added: “We are working very closely together with Siemens and IBM to help us to reach our sustainability goals, reduce total cost of ownership of products for our customers and support our business transformation with an increased focus on services.”

Siemens will be supported through IBM’s Partner Plus programme and will offer this as part of its Xcelerator ecosystem.

Baxter Planning, a provider of service parts management technology, has announced a five-year agreement with IBM to deploy its predictive service supply chain offering to drive additional optimisation throughout IBM’s global service supply chain.