Tear Down the Barriers Between Product Development and Manufacturing

Connected to PLM, Siemens sharpens its Opcenter tools for digital manufacturing.

A notable strength of Siemens Digital Industries Software is that its technologies can connect product development and manufacturing. They offer a series of solutions that aim to improve openness and tear down the barriers between these traditionally siloed domains. This meshes with a reality where many companies have PLM and automation systems from various software brands—which makes the industrial landscape quite disparate.

In order to be able to use data optimally, companies require connectivity that is extensive yet not too complex. Of course, it is easiest to tear down the barriers within homogeneous environments, but grounding your solutions in a disparate reality has great merit.

Siemens Digital Industries Software’s new updated version of the Opcenter APS software can be used for long-term strategic planning covering months and years, medium-term tactical planning with a planning horizon of a few weeks, and for detailed sequencing and scheduling. (Image: Siemens.)

Siemens Digital Industries Software’s new updated version of the Opcenter APS software can be used for long-term strategic planning covering months and years, medium-term tactical planning with a planning horizon of a few weeks, and for detailed sequencing and scheduling. (Image: Siemens.)

In Siemens’ software environment, this ideology is primarily manifested in the company’s PLM portfolio Xcelerator and the Opcenter family, The idea is to create smooth workflows through the entire product realization process, manufacturing included. More specifically for manufacturing, Opcenter APS (Advanced Planning and Scheduling) is a key tool for synchronization and optimization of the manufacturing processes. In addition to this, the Opcenter Execution Discrete and Process tool is a dedicated manufacturing execution systems (MES).

Furthermore, Opcenter APS can be installed “out-of-the-box” and adapted and configured as needed. It can be used standalone to manage planning and scheduling, but is also designed for integration with other software domains such as ERP, MES, data collection, forecasting, demand planning and OEE applications. The latter stands for “Overall Equipment Effectiveness” and is about monitoring key figures to improve efficiency of manufacturing processes regarding machines, cells, lines or factories.

Opcenter APS software can be used standalone to manage planning and scheduling, but is also designed for integration with other software such as ERP, MES, data collection, forecasting, demand planning and OEE applications. (Image: Siemens.)

Opcenter APS software can be used standalone to manage planning and scheduling, but is also designed for integration with other software such as ERP, MES, data collection, forecasting, demand planning and OEE applications. (Image: Siemens.)

Today, I will look at the recent update and sharpening of the Opcenter APS capabilities. This platform can be used for:

  • Long-term strategic planning covering months and years,
  • Medium-term tactical planning with a horizon of a few weeks,
  • Detailed sequencing and scheduling.

Among the improvements are a new modern user interface and integrations on the Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM).

Greater Visibility and Control

In the press material, it is noted that Opcenter APS generally provides greater visibility and control, which in turn can increase resource utilization and on-time delivery, while reducing inventory levels and waste — all of which is extremely desirable in terms of capacity planning and scheduling.

There are several advantages to the solution including, among others:

  • Extending secondary constraint modeling supporting off-shift period suspension.
  • Leveraging a new user interface similar to others on the Siemens Opcenter portfolio.
  • Using a single licensing system across the Siemens Opcenter portfolio.

Improved Secondary Limitation Off-Shift Coverage

Opcenter scheduling supports both primary and secondary resource types. One can usually use primary resources to model large equipment; alternatively, one can use secondary resources to model tools or work.

Opcenter APS is all about intuitive and easy-to-use production scheduling. You set your constraints using a simple but comprehensive model that allows you to quickly set up all surface mount technology (SMT) and manual stations in your factory as a basis for conducting simulation. One can easily control optimization parameters, such as due date, production time and changes, and then compare different scenarios to choose the plan line that best suits the needs. (Image: Siemens.)

Opcenter APS is all about intuitive and easy-to-use production scheduling. You set your constraints using a simple but comprehensive model that allows you to quickly set up all surface mount technology (SMT) and manual stations in your factory as a basis for conducting simulation. One can easily control optimization parameters, such as due date, production time and changes, and then compare different scenarios to choose the plan line that best suits the needs. (Image: Siemens.)

Due to manpower limitations following changes in shift patterns, a benefit in Opcenter Scheduling is that you can handle situations where manpower is not available. This has been achieved in the updated solution by introducing secondary constraints. One can define such off-shift periods in a constraint calendar to allow a job to span periods. When an operation uses multiple scheduled secondary constraints, and if one of these constraints contains an off-shift period interval, then all constraints “inherit” this off-shift period.

New Modern User Interface and Teamcenter Integration

The new modern user interface in Opcenter APS is on par with the latest Siemens Digital Industries Software guidelines to provide a consistent user experience across the portfolio.

This includes a new menu and navigation system with updated, easier to identify icons. The tools supports existing customer upgrades to the new standard icons. Additionally, this user interface is fully customizable via a menu definition file, giving each solution a unique menu system to meet individual needs.

Furthermore, Siemens Xcelerator Share (now called Teamcenter Share) is a part of Siemens’ broader Xcelerator business portfolio. Opcenter APS has also been updated to integrate directly with Teamcenter Share to enable file collaboration across the entire Opcenter portfolio.

Viewer for Scheduling Statistics

Opcenter APS Anywhere is a browser-based complementary product to Opcenter Scheduling. This solution allows users to publish and view released schedules via a web browser, anytime and anywhere. With this viewer one can look at statistics of published schedules for all facilities.

MOM And Integration Compatibility

Opcenter APS supports a range of integrations across the MOM portfolio. This is vital, since MOM plays a critical role in improving the efficiency and productivity of manufacturing operations. By providing real-time insights into the production process, MOM enables companies to make informed decisions, reduce downtime, minimize waste and streamline workflows.

For those who want to read more about the use of Opcenter in production, read our case study of Absolut Vodka and their facility in Åhus, Sweden, which optimizes production using Opcenter solutions: The Digital Conductor Behind World-Class Manufacturing of Absolut Vodka.‚Äč