Siemens, Dow, and MxD Partner to Expand Digital Transformation in the Process Industry

August 24, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

Siemens and collaborators develop a new process industry testbed to facilitate the transition from traditional to smart manufacturing.

What is a testbed, and how does it apply to industrial automation? A testbed is best described as a tool that conducts scientific theories, computational tools, and new technologies. Siemens and collaborators have recently developed a new process industry testbed to facilitate the transition from traditional to smart manufacturing.

Digital transformation has become a popular concept in the last year and has continued to make its way into various manufacturing sectors. Companies like Emerson, Rockwell, and ABB have all adopted this concept into their latest smart technologies. In recent news, industry leaders such as Siemens are paving the way for digital transformation in the process industries. 

Last month, Siemens announced its entry into a partnership with sustainable materials science company, Dow, to provide a process industry testbed for manufacturers to experience next-generation automation technologies required to support their digital transformation journeys. 


Testbed Insights

The testbed will incorporate Siemens’ process control technology, bringing together software, IoT (internet of things), and hardware to demonstrate what they could achieve by digitizing the process industries. 

The new testbed will be located at the digital manufacturing institute and the National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing, MxD. MxD has a 22,000-square-foot factory floor that is home to some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world.


Siemens demonstrating its automated testbed equipment. Image used courtesy of Siemens


In a recent news release, the Global Digitalization Director at Dow, Billy Bardin, said, “Providing this hands-on experience will be critical for digital transformation in the process industries, showing how the digital twin and the connected mobile worker can enable greater productivity, reliability, and safety.”


Neo-process Control Technology

Siemens’ SIMATIC PCS neo-process control technology, is a distributed control system (DCS). It has been designed to help provide operators with secure and hassle-free remote access to their DCS. Siemens’ technology also allows maintenance teams to access actionable diagnostic and maintenance information from any device, whether from tablets, laptops, or multi-monitor stations. 


Siemens neo-process control technology. Image used courtesy of Siemens


Working together over the web on different processes and workflows can allow engineers to streamline and integrate smart factory operations. Siemens hopes this can optimize communication and speed up data exchange needed for receiving insights, conducting maintenance, and making informed decisions about their machines. Overall, this may lead to increased facility productivity.

Siemens’ technology allows tasks centered around hardware planning, control logic, or operator displays to be engineered in any workflow with the flexibility to suit staff availability and location. 


Smart Field Instrumentation and the Xcelerator Portfolio

Siemens’ smart field instrumentation is integrated into the SIMATIC PCS neo-process control technology. Siemens’ smart instruments can help operators and engineers acquire operational data concerning the health of existing and newly installed facility systems. Customers can gain an overview of processes to make sure operations remain safe and run smoothly.

Another key component behind the new testbed is Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio of software and services. This enables the testbed to design, simulate, conduct process operations, plan, and analyze IoT data. The Xcelerator portfolio includes the Mendix low-code application development platform. This brings together real-time sensor and asset data to generate insights that can be used to transform engineering and control operations. 


Siemens automated testbed technology. Image used courtesy of Siemens


Siemens, Dow, MxD and Siemens’ integrator partner, DMC, bring digital transformation to the process industries with the new testbed. DMC is a project-based engineering consulting company that specializes in software development and control systems. Together, Siemens and their collaborators will be facilitating the transition of traditional manufacturing facilities into the digitally-driven smart factories of the future.