Earlier this year, Siemens’ president and CEO Tony Hemmelgarn announced its intention to transition the Siemens Digital Industries Software business to SaaS (software as a service). Now the company has announced it is expanding the Xcelerator portfolio with the introduction of Xcelerator as a Service (XaaS).
Brenda Discher, SVP for strategy and marketing at Siemens Digital Industries Software, said, “Xcelerator as a Service will make the Xcelerator portfolio more accessible, enabling manufacturing organizations and their extended value-chains to have a single source of truth and the ability to tap into high-performance computing, at any time, from anywhere and on any device. Cloud-based services will remove the need for HPC [high performance computing] hardware or in-house IT expertise and allow anyone to carry out compute-intensive tasks via a web browser – whether that’s advanced multi-physics simulation available to all or AI-driven generative engineering.”
Writing in a blog, she added, “We’re not simply adding a new user interface on top of existing tools, basic file sharing capabilities or moving limited desktop CAD functionality into the cloud. Instead, we’ve been focused on leveraging the cloud to deliver our industry-leading technology in new ways and to reduce the challenges of access, flexibility and scalability facing our customers today.”
XaaS is intended to offer need-based access to tools, features and compute resources organizations require, as they want them – via flexible and personalized solutions that offer instant productivity. By offering the capabilities as a service, Siemens said manufacturing companies can quickly and easily add capacity when needed, as a result of the scalability offered by XaaS, enabling organizations to quickly adapt to market conditions. This will allow both ad-hoc and established groups of stakeholders to together build and test products and processes with a comprehensive digital twin – before investing in materials or equipment.
Discher provides some examples of how the new XaaS capability can be deployed, highlighting how it will make new things possible for many types of companies.
For example, a multinational automotive OEM could use XaaS to increase collaboration across its globally distributed supply chain, through secure collaboration between internal and multi-tiered supplier led teams around the world. It can connect experts across engineering, simulation, manufacturing and production, with Mendix low-code capabilities to allow tailoring of the solution to meet specific needs.
When there’s a need to onboard a new supplier, data can be shared in a controlled and secure manner simply by typing in their e-mail address and letting the app handle the rest. Or if there is a need to wrap a simulation workflow for your suspension sub-system into a reusable, distributable and controllable application, the service provides the low-code tools for the FEA expert to do it without needing a programmer. In addition, collaboration with suppliers worldwide in virtual reality, with data from other CAD systems is possible as well.
In another scenario, consider an automotive startup that needs to make the jump from concept to deliverable market introduction. Siemens said Xcelerator as a service will enable this team to use a high-end product development toolset across mechanical design, electronics, software development and more but without requiring the IT infrastructure to support it, yet with access to the same toolset used by leading manufacturing organizations to build comprehensive digital twins, at a fraction of the cost, from anywhere, any time and on whatever device needed.
Or, if working alongside a supplier in Shenzhen and there’s a need to tweak a CAD file, and recut molds to get those first parts off the tool, it’s possible to load up the browser, log into XaaS, and collaborate with peers and make the edits in a managed environment. If prototype units are in the field and there’s a need to work out what to do with the stream of data from built-in sensors, the comprehensive digital twin toolset lets users grab the data and drive a simulation with real-world results, quickly. It could also help add in a come artificial intelligence to help push the next generation further and explore hundreds of purely virtual tests based on real world data in the cloud. Discher said, “We call that generative engineering, and it could change how we design products.”
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