Integrating Simulation with PLM and Industry 4.0
Jeffrey Rowe posted on January 11, 2019 |

Engineering simulation has been around for a long time as a standalone technology that has been increasingly integrated into the design phase of the product development lifecycle. Although currently in the early stages, simulation and analysis are beginning to be integrated into PLM and Industry 4.0 initiatives across industries, with companies such as Maya HTT at the forefront of this movement.

In a recent video interview with, Marc Lafontaine, MAYA Simulation vice president, he explained how his company is integrating simulation with virtually all phases of the product development lifecycle.

Simulation, integration, democratization: MAYA’s Marc Lafontaine on PLM and Industry 4.0

Maya HTT has a long history in the aerospace industry that began over 35 years ago with heat transfer and thermal solver technologies. It has grown into several other industries that include medical devices, architecture and ship building. Early on, the company partnered with what is now known as Siemens PLM Software. Its portfolio was extensively embedded in the Siemens software platform.

“Having worked with Siemens for approximately 35 years in a symbiotic relationship for developing technology, we have become one of Siemens largest technology partners focused on R&D and implementation in simulation,” Lafontaine said.

Simulation has been around a long time while Industry 4.0 is relatively new and in many ways very conceptual at this point. Will simulation be an essential brick in the Industry 4.0 wall?

“Definitely. The digital twin that has simulation at its core is essential for Industry 4.0 to be fully realized,” Lafontaine said. “You need to be able to simulate things in order to have the right physics to develop faster and to be able to build everything that will be the milestones for capturing real time data for optimization.”

He noted that there is a need for simulation results to go to management and the front office, not just the engineering department.

“We can provide multi-modal tools that can include analyzing cost, materials, shipping and logistics. All aspects are being impacted,” Lafontaine said.

Ultimately, the question is whether people expect one piece of software to run an entire business from the loading dock back to financial planning for a product? According to him, the answer is no.

“There will always be initiatives that will come from different areas, but all of the software from these different areas will talk with each other. That indeed will happen,” Lafontaine said.

In the future, he expects that when a new factory is built or retrofitted, before organizing assembly lines, process flow, etc., engineers will be strapping goggles on and using VR to walk through these facilities.

“This will certainly be one of the ways of viewing it. VR is one of the key ways it could be done, but there will also be many other ways,” Lafontaine said. “What’s going to be important is not only the end product but also simulating the process and factory and thinking about how the product will be used. All of this needs to be brought together in order to have an efficient digital twin that will be enabled.”

Design and analysis integration and democratization are two things that sets Maya HTT apart. Integrating different technologies from multiple vendors and bringing everything together is key, as well as enabling people who are not professional simulation analysts.

According to Lafontaine, advanced PLM and Industry 4.0 will demand simulation integration to drive it forward to reduce the cycle time between design conceptualization and performance validation. Only a fully digitized business model with optimized production processes, including simulation, can keep pace with today’s demanding globalized marketplace.

Leveraging Maya HTT’s digital transformation expertise will allow for the creation of new and improved revenue models and quick response to demand changes and ensure faster implementation of new business models.

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