How resource-intensive is it to develop a new generation of heavy trucks? Probably more than anyone outside the industry can imagine. Truck manufacturer Scania’s CEO, Henrik Henriksson, offers some compelling figures.
When this Volkswagen Group subsidiary launched its new range of trucks in late August, it was the culmination of a ten-year development process, total investment of around $2.5 Billion and more than 10 million kilometers of test driving.
“The new generation of trucks has become increasingly complex,” he said pointing at the volume of systems, embedded software applications, sensors, engine, cabin and material options that has grown from a trickle to a torrent.
“We are not just launching a new truck range,” he explained, “But also a unique, ingenious toolbox of sustainable solutions in the form of products and services that Scania is the first in the industry to deliver.”
That said, Scania still faces a couple of challenges, and an aging PLM system is one of them. The company uses a proprietary solution, OAS, in combination with Dassault’s CATIA V5. This system works satisfactorily, but modernization is high on the agenda.
In fact, Scania has already started new Proof of Concept processes; processes that raise the prospect of an upcoming battle between Dassault Systèmes and Siemens PLM.
“The new range of products and services redefines the term ‘premium’ within the truck industry," said Scania’s CEO, Henrik Henriksson, when discussing the Volkswagen-owned subsidiary’s new range of trucks.
Generally speaking, the new Scania generation follows the idea of Product-as-a-Service in many respects.
What you get is a “shell” that can be filled with whatever capabilities, engine power or functionalities you want. With a great PLM solution, Scania’s famous modular production system and advanced connected services, “Only your imagination limits what is possible,” as the company’s head of connected services, Mattias Lundholm, puts it.
Henriksson added, "The most noticeable features in our new model generation are the new cabs. But the real innovation is that we are now introducing new technologies, services and insights that will help our customers gain an overview of both their costs and their revenues.”
Henriksson’s point is that connectivity makes Scania’s new trucks smarter, and the company plans to go all-in on this technology.
Mattias Lundholm even claims that the path to connectivity services will, “Mark the great dividing line in the industry between premium manufacturers and all the rest.”
In this context, an illustratrative example is the remote management of the vehicle's auxiliary heater and a number of improvements to the communication between the driver and hauler.
“The actual appearance and interface has been given a thorough overhaul. For example, things like messages, addresses and route directions can now be transferred straight to the vehicle's infotainment system from the traffic management team back at the hauler's office.”
Connected services are an important part of Scania’s new truck models. The company currently has more than 200,000 connected vehicles on the roads, and with the new capabilities, maintenance services can be based on actual usage data rather than on the traditional milage or calndar method. In the picture, Scania technician Abdelmajid Charak performs maintenance on a heavy truck.
As always, when it comes to trucks the maintenance service is an important part of the profitability puzzle. Scania’s new line is no exception.
This means that Scania will have maintenance service in all markets in Europe when the new generation of trucks is introduced. The maintenance service will be based on the idea that all the trucks are connected and it is their actual usage data, rather than the traditional mileage or calendar method, which determines how they are to be serviced, according to the specific maintenance contract between Scania and the individual customer.
Scania is also opening up a number of new options with regard to the truck's ability to communicate with the rest of the world, based on the built-in Scania Communicator. Fleet managers and drivers alike can access the new interface and services, which are not tied to existing technological solutions.
More of an Evolution than a Revolution
It was 20 years ago that Scania launched their previous truck generation.
This model program was a revolution carried by Scania’s effective modular design system and former CEO and president Leif Östling’s ideas around module-based lean production according to Toyota-inspired thinking.
The cornerstone of Scania’s production system is a lean philosophy initiated by former CEO and president, Leif Östling.
The cornerstones of their revolution, besides the modular system, focused on continous improvements and eliminating waste in the production chain.
While the new range of trucks has many enhancements and new functionalities, it is more of an evolutionary solution than its predecessor. From many perspectives, it can be described as a manifestation of the last year’s progress, packaged in a big official new model release.
Typically, CEO Henrik Henriksson talks about “a toolbox of solutions.” This is true, and Scania can still use the same PLM platform which is the core of the company’s product development and production model.
And why not? It’s a great model that served the purposes of delivering highly tailor-made vehicles in the 16-plus ton class. What Scania does so well is to make all the options connectable and configurable; a modular production system where one piece can be connected to another in an array of almost endless configuration options.
With their new range of trucks, Scania claims that they can supply more performance stages, connectivity and a comprehensive palette of productivity-enhancing services, as well as sustainable transportation solutions that are precisely customised for each type of customer in the highly competitive transportation industry.
You will find my views on Scania’s PLM position further down in the article. First, however, are a few of words on the the other enhancements in Scania’s new truck generation.
All of Scania´s Euro 6 engines received new engine management systems and the installations have been completely overhauled. In the new range, these engines reduce fuel consumption between three to five percent.
Powertrain Innovations Cut Fuel Costs by 3-5 Percent
A smart truck doesn’t only provide connected “intelligent” services, but also offers lower energy consumption. Accordingly, one of the main enhancements to the new truck generation revolves around reduced fuel consumption.
Björn Westman, Scania’s head of engine development, explained:
"With the latest updates, we can guarantee a further reduction in consumption in the region of three to five percent for all the diesel powertrains in our new truck range."
Westman added, “On top of that, there are other consumption reductions such as aerodynamic improvements, the option of choosing an axle with a faster gear ratio of 2.35 in situations with the right driving conditions and precisely customised configurations for each driving assignment."
While a three to five percent reduction in fuel consumption may sound petty, this can be more important than it first appears. For a typical long-haul truck that covers 150,000 km a year, this means a reduction of just over 2,000 litres of diesel, and considerably lower fuel costs.
Additionally on the engine side:
- Scania´s Euro 6 engines have received new engine management systems and the installations have been completely overhauled.
- Lay shaft brake cuts gearshift times in Scania Opticruise by 45 percent.
- The adaptive cruise control system can now be used to make driving in slow-moving queues easier.
Lightweight construction and fuel consumption reduction both play a major role in commercial vehicles. Porsche Engineering has a lot of knowledge in this field, which was put to good use in the development of Scania’s new cabs.
Design: The Connection Between Porsche Sportscars and Heavy Trucks
What does a Porsche sportscar have in common with a commercial vehicle like a Scania truck?
Not much at a first glance. But if you drill a little bit deeper, it turns out that there are some interesting common areas that can bring surprisingly effective solutions for a truck in the areas of lightweight construction and reduced fuel consumption.
“It’s true that we are dealing with two products with completely different requirements. A Porsche sports car is prized by customers for its perfection and the excitement that it engenders, its power, its performance on the road and its quality. A truck, by contrast, is a working machine that primarily distinguishes itself through reliability, durability, uptime and practicality. While a passenger car meets customer expectations with an average service life of 5,000 hours of operation and a total mileage of around 150,000 km, a truck must be designed to achieve ten times this in both categories,” said Harald Ludanek, in an interview in Porsche Engineering Magazine. Until May of this year, Ludanek was EVP and head of R&D at Scania.
He added that, “The design principles, physical principles, and many requirements of the body structures are the same. In working together with the engineers at Porsche Engineering, we can profit in particular from their experience in design and manufacturing processes.”
That said, lightweight construction and fuel consumption reduction obviously play a major role for commercial vehicles. The high-strength materials and hot-stamped structural components used in trucks have been increasingly important to save weight and reduce fuel consumption.
“The design principles, physical principles and many requirements of the body structures are the same in a sportcar as compared to a commecial vehicle,” claims Harald Ludanek. Until May of this year, Ludanek was EVP and head of R&D at Scania. Today, he holds a new position as head of development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
These are critical success factors, and German Porsche Engineering have been working together with Scania to develop the new range truck since 2010.
The focus extended beyond typical Scania styling and functionality to include a continual effort to optimize the design of development and production processes, which is a hallmark of the engineering-oriented Scania organization.
“Only when our developments smoothly plug into the Scania development process, can be efficiently produced and create added value for Scania have we done our job successfully,” said Malte Radmann, CEO of Porsche Engineering.
Another important success factor for Scania was finding a partner with expertise in multiple areas, such as body-in-white structures, new methods in simulation and production planning, as well as a strong connection to prototype workshops.
Normally in the commercial vehicle industry the development process is much slower than the equivalent in the passenger car industry. The cooperation with Porsche Engineering gave Scania’s development team a short cut to a cabin that was lighter, more aerodynamic and had styling that stood out and significantly contributed to the fuel consumption gains.
Tailor-made trucks are Scania’s speciality. On average the company produces 1.2 trucks, out of 60,000 annually, with the same configuration.
50,000 Truck Variants Place High Demands on the PLM System
It is hard to find any truck manufacturer in the world with the same high margins per truck as Scania.
They are not number one in terms of quantity–Daimler is the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy trucks, followed by Volvo Group and Volkswagen Group, containing both MAN and Scania–have an average annual production of around 60,000 trucks.
However, the interesting part of this story is that during 2015, on average 1.2 trucks had the same configuration. The variations in how a truck can be configured are almost unlimited, and clearly more than 50,000 variants place huge demands on the IT support systems.
So it’s no surprise that the PLM system plays a leading role in this process.
Designed in Dassault’s CAD solution CATIA V5, the system features a proprietary database and configurator called OAS, with Dassault’s ENOVIA playing a minor part as a CAD vault.
In principal, all design is done in CATIA, including the engines. There are some rare exceptions concerning motors for military purposes that are modified in Autodesk Inventor.
What about BOM management? The eBOM’s (engineering Bill of Materials) are produced in OAS, even if some subassemblies are produced in Enovia. The BOM structures are then moved to a system called MONA for production preparation and building structures. This can be compared with what we would describe as mBOM’s (manufacturing BOM’s).
MONA does have some limitations in its ability to manage variants, an area at which Scania is taking a closer look and still hopes to solve.
The MES (Manufacturing Executions Systems) has a minor role at Scania in regards to OAS’ and MONA’s capabilities. However, for the parts where they use MES, the tool is a modified version of Dassault’s Aprisio that deals with information from OAS and MONA.
Scania designs their trucks in Dassault Systèmes CATIA V5, including the engines.
Furthermore, Scania’s sales model is a unique interwoven solution combining product development, modular manufacturing processes and sales into a holistic system.
Nothing major in this regard has changed due to the new model program, and it’s easy to see why.
Scania's new range has been developed based on the company's existing, effective and reasonably well-functioning product development and production system. It has been honed and has received expanded capabilities, but this has all taken place within the framework of what I would describe as an evolutionary development model.
To rummage about in a well-functioning environment in this manner is not recommended for large development and manufacturing organizations like Scania. Harmonization is key, and when you innovate, the implementation of that innovation only happens when all aspects and the impact on the production system hasvebeen carefully controlled and validated, and the engineers have made certain that it all blends together.
An example of the CATIA V6 interface. In order to work effectively with CATIA V6, you also need to invest in ENOVIA V6, which is the product data backbone of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
An Aging PLM System – A Window for Siemens PLM?
Still, Scania’s PLM system is getting older, and they have been looking for new solutions. Three years ago, Scania performed an evaluation of Siemens PLM, PTC and Dassault. Siemens and PTC came out on top, while Dassault’s V5 environment lagged far behind. This says something about the potential for improvement.
A key question is whether they will upgrade to Dassault’s V6 and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, or choose another vendor’s solution.
The present situation with V5, even some V4 seats, is not a solution for the future. As well, on the manufacturing side of the business they also use Dassault’s Delmia product.
My sources in Scania tell me that V6 and 3DEXPERIENCE will be an expensive solution, since in reality it isn’t just a matter of an upgrade, but will be a completely new system. This is separate from the fact that they still lack the necessary evidence of 3DEXPERIENCE’s industrial maturity.
Two years ago, in addition to the meticulous evaluation a year before (as mentioned above), PTC did a Proof of Concept based on Windchill. The outcome was acceptable in terms of general support for the Scania system requirements (such as integration to OAS), however, PTC’s solution could not fulfill some of the Scania’s key requirements.
The most important of these requirements was about “variant-driven relative positioning.”
To put it simply: at the basic level, a truck consists of a number of core elements - chassis beams, engine, axles and cabin. Suppose you want to create a variant with the ability to run long distances; then you need a larger tank. A larger tank means that everything behind the tank must be moved relative to the new tank. As PTC was not willing to invest in the development of support for those requirements, the Proof of Concept was closed down. This was approximately 2 years ago.
According to my sources in the company, Scania is about to enter a startup phase for new Proofs of Concept, this time based on Dassault’s V6 and the 3DEXPERIENCE (3DX) platform, and Siemens PLM’s NX/Teamcenter suites. Clearly OAS will continue to play a leading role in this, but what happens on top of that basic system remains to be seen.
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform materializes the vision of Dassault’s CEO and president, Bernard Charles. Among other things, he has called 3DX a “beyond-PLM solution.”
No doubt Charles’ ideas have been the supporting element of Dassault’s PLM progress over more than a decade. However, the problem in this context has been the gap between what has been deliverable and what Dassault’s marketing rhetoric says the system can do. But PLM solutions take time, and a beyond-PLM solution may take even longer.
What still remains to be substantiated by Dassault and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is whether it is mature enough to deal with the extremely complex product realization processes in the automotive industry. Jaguar Land Rover is the company’s poster-child project in this, but it is still not ready.
What Speaks for Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE, and What Doesn’t?
When it comes time for an upgrade, I would say that the advantage falls to the systems already dominating the CAD environment.
Swapping systems is expensive. Companies must consider not only the higher costs for the new system and the system’s implementation, but also everything that follows: education, training, and developing new processes, methodologies and best practices.
However, the costs could be worthwhile if the productivity and technological gains are big enough.
The CAD environment argument speaks well for Dassault’s CATIA, since V5 is already used in the company. On the other hand, the difference between the CATIA V5 and V6 involves much more than what normally charactarizes an upgrade.
3DEXPERIENCE and CATIA V6 have a completely and fundamentally different architecture than V5, including a new interface and new templates. This means, among other things, that legacy data can not be migrated automatically.
Furthermore, a traditional PDM system is based on a relational database. In contrast, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is based on a product data driven system. The result is that the traditional model structures can’t be used.
This is how things are at Scania today.
Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, however, requires that Scania implement ENOVIA V6 as PDM and product data backbone. Another concern is that 3DEXPERIENCE still lacks the industry-proven maturity that would appeal to the highly technical and practical engineers at Scania, who not are likely to be satisfied with mere elegant PowerPoint slides.
All in all, this means that a system change to the V6 environment is equal to a swap for a completely new system. Looking at things from this perspective may be enough to even out the odds between Dassault’s 3DX and Siemens PLM’s NX/Teamcenter (Tecnomatix) combination.
I would also like to mention that for Scania, Siemens PLM has some very interesting development projects in the pipeline. Based around relative positioning solutions, these are initiatives that Siemens is currently alone in addressing.
Finally, in this context Siemens may have an advantage that is hard for Dassault to match, and which is of the utmost importance to the engineering-oriented Scania: Siemens has a functional Industry 4.0 solution.
For this German-owned subsidiary (VW Group), Industry 4.0 is a reality, and my guess is that it will affect the choices Scania is about to make.
CIMdata: “Companies Like Scania Need to Expand Their PLM Scope”
Scania also needs to keep an eye on how to evolve its PLM solutions for the future. Growing product complexity will demand more and more in terms of software and connected solutions, and the development of manufacturing systems in the direction of self-learning and autonomous systems such as the Industry 4.0 concept.
What are the challenges for this industry? I directed the question to someone who knows: CIMdata’s VP of research, Stan Przybylinski.
“Trucks face many of the same issues as automotive and transportation in general,” he said. “Optimizing revenue from these large configure-to-order products requires very strong configuration management practices. At the same time, more of these components rely on software and electronics to deliver user value. Companies like Scania need to expand their PLM scope to ensure they can support their smart, connected products. This trend can also offer Scania an opportunity to offer products as a service, going beyond just service and spares. Many companies are looking to systems engineering practices, processes and tools to enhance their product development processes to support the systems behavior of their products, such as autonomous operation and predictive analytics.”
Scania’s new truck range – one step towards the vision of VW’s Harald Ludanek.
Harald Ludanek’s Vision of the Future for Trucks
Harald Ludanek, who as of May holds a new position as head of development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, points to these factors as well. “In the future, we will be forced to accept shorter service lifetimes for electrical and electronic developments, as the trends and methods in this area are changing in ever faster cycles.”
Ludanek also mentioned the growing role of driver assistance systems. “They will soon be introduced in the commercial vehicle sector as well—here again, we can benefit from others’ experience. A lot of the advanced technologies will first reach the customer through the car sector. That also goes for advanced materials.”
Truck development focuses on fuel consumption and operating costs. Many development concepts can be economically implemented in this area thanks to very long service lives and high mileage. Individual measures frequently have to prove their usefulness in an integral interaction with regard to reliability, serviceability and operational safety.
In future, the connected trucks will become an integral part of logistic systems. The picture shows Scania’s connected services planning tool.
“Twenty years from now,” Ludanek concluded, “Trucks will have technical improvements for low fuel consumption, for example, low drag coefficients, optimized aerodynamics and easy access. In terms of functionality, the truck will be more closely connected to the logistics process. Driver assistance systems will ensure easier handling and operation. Service and maintenance will be monitored and detected by the operating system itself. The truck driver will have an office and a comfortable living space in one place.”
My guess is that we’re closer than 20 years to Ludanek’s vision. In some respects, we’re already there.
At least Scania is, claims CEO Henrik Henriksson. He states that, “the new range of products and services redefines the term ‘premium’ within the truck industry."
While this may be the case, Scania has to start thinking about a matching PLM solution for the future.