Meet the Soft­ware That Helps Power Rolls-royce En­gines

The most so­phis­ti­cated air­craft in the world take flight with the help of Siemens ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing so­lu­tions

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - In­dex -

On 1,000 acres 30 miles south of Rich­mond, Va., power sys­tems com­pany Rolls-royce has con­structed its most ad­vanced North Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity—a 270,000-square-foot hub of pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing where the jet en­gine com­po­nents that power the civil aerospace in­dus­try are cre­ated.

Here in the Cross­pointe Ro­ta­tives Fac­tory, heavy ma­chin­ing tools are au­to­mated by soft­ware that helps to dig­i­tal­ize ev­ery por­tion of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process. And when your busi­ness is cre­at­ing the fan discs that keep Boe­ing 787s and Air­bus A350 XWBS run­ning HIÀFL­HQWO\ \RX QHHG WR KDYH TX­DOLW\ DQG UHOLD­E­LOLW\ LQ WKH VRI­WZ­DUH that op­er­ates the ma­chin­ing pro­cesses.

An in­te­gral part of the Rolls-royce so­lu­tion has been to em­ploy Siemens Prod­uct Life­cy­cle Man­age­ment (PLM) soft­ware, which al­lows ev­ery layer of pro­duc­tion—from ideation and de­sign to man­u­fac­ture and ser­vice—to be con­nected via soft­ware. By weav­ing this end-to-end dig­i­tal thread, Rolls-royce is equipped to be a fully op­ti­mized dig­i­tal com­pany that can nim­bly ini­ti­ate new in­no­va­tions.

As an en­ter­prise strat­egy, ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing al­lows the whole RU­JDQL]DWLRQ IURP WRS ÁRRU WR VKRS ÁRRU WR ZRUN DV D VLQJOH WHDP DOO while iden­ti­fy­ing best prac­tices and em­pow­er­ing the busi­ness to make in­for­ma­tion-driven de­ci­sions. Ex­tended to the sec­tor as a whole, this dig­i­tal net­work­ing of team mem­bers, ob­jects and ma­chines rep­re­sents no less than the fu­ture of the U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try.

“We be­lieve this is the fourth in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion, which is syn­ony­mous with dig­i­tal­iza­tion,” says Raj Ba­tra, Pres­i­dent, Siemens U.S. Dig­i­tal Fac­tory. “Ev­ery­thing you have seen in the con­sumer space is start­ing to hap­pen in the in­dus­trial world. Fac­to­ries are get­ting smarter, giv­ing the peo­ple who work in them the chance to add new skills not seen in tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing. They are bring­ing XQ­SUHFHGHQWH­G VSHHG HIÀFL­HQF\ DQG ÁH[LELOLW\ WR RSHUD­WL­RQV μ

Soft­ware has be­come the new stan­dard, with the tra­di­tional VKRS ÁRRU HY­ROYLQJ LQWR D SODFH ZKHUH SHRSOH GUDZ LQWHOOLJHQ­FH from highly so­phis­ti­cated ma­chines. All told, 29 of the world’s top 30 au­to­mo­tive OEMS, as well as the top 20 air­craft en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers, use so­lu­tions from Siemens PLM soft­ware, which has helped to usher in an era of un­prece­dented cus­tomiza­tion.

´7KLV WH­FKQRORJ\ LV KHOSLQJ ÀUPV ER­RVW RXWSXW ZLWK HYHU LQ­FUHD­VLQJ VSHHG DQG JLYLQJ FRPS­DQLHV PRUH ÁH[LELOLW\ WR SURYLGH the va­ri­ety of goods that their cus­tomers want,” says Ba­tra, and the num­bers bear this out. At Rolls-royce, PLM soft­ware is on­line at a ma­jor­ity of its man­u­fac­tur­ing sites, and has al­ready yielded a 5 per­cent im­prove­ment in man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses.

As fac­to­ries grow to re­sem­ble tech com­pa­nies, the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor is well aware of the op­por­tu­ni­ties that lie ahead. From April 25–29, in­ter­na­tional lead­ers in­clud­ing Barack Obama (in the ÀUVW HYHU YLVLW IURP D VL­WWLQJ 8 6 SUHVL­GHQW FRQY­HU­JHG LQ *HUPDQ\ at Han­nover Messe, the world’s largest in­dus­trial trade show, to dis­cuss the im­pact this new in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion will have on the global stage, from job cre­ation to in­creased trade.

State­side, the story of ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing is one of a resur­gent U.S. in­dus­trial sec­tor that can pro­duce high-qual­ity goods at a com­pet­i­tive price, while also be­ing faster to mar­ket. From Charleston, S.C., where Boe­ing au­to­mates the as­sem­bly of ma­jor 787 seg­ments, to Bal­ti­more, Md., where Mar­lin Steel Wire uses a weld­ing ro­bot that is run by highly trained work­ers, Siemens sits at the in­ter­sec­tion where the phys­i­cal and vir­tual worlds merge.

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