Technology changes promise 'to reinvigorate manufacturing'

Siemens USA CEO offers a personal perspective on the manufacturing industry at Hannover Messe speech.


Eric Spiegel, president and CEO of Siemens USA. Image: Courtesy: SiemensEditor's Note: At the dinner following the annual Siemens press conference at Hannover Messe, Siemens USA president and CEO Eric Spiegel shared his thoughts on American manufacturing its future from a very personal perspective. What follows are excerpts from that presentation:

This is the first time that the United States has been the partner country for Hannover Messe, and it's the first time a U.S. president has visited. There are a lot of U.S. companies here. And this gives us a great opportunity to showcase what we're doing around the world for our U.S. customers.

Today I live near our U.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C. But I was born in the state of Ohio in a town called Youngstown, and when I growing up, people called Youngstown something else. They called it 'Steel Town.' This is because, for a good part of the 20th Century, Youngstown was the second-largest steel-producing city in America. In fact, both of my grandfathers came over from Germany to work in those steel mills. The work back then was dirty, dark and dangerous. But it allowed my grandfathers to earn a good living and join the middle class. One day I thought I'd work in the steel industry too. But before I was old enough, those steel mills closed. A lot of U.S. manufacturing jobs moved to other countries - and that hit towns like Youngstown really hard. So I think my grandfathers would be really proud to see me working for a large Germany company that's helping to reinvigorate manufacturing in places like Youngstown and across the U.S.

Today, the United States is our largest market. Last year we had well over $20 billion in revenue, including export revenue of $5.5 billion and we invested more than a billion dollars in research and development in the U.S. We have over 80 manufacturing and industrial sites, and more than 50,000 employees in the U.S.

So Siemens is very bullish about the future of manufacturing and the overall business environment in the U.S. And we're also particularly bullish about the application of a new type of manufacturing in the U.S.—or Industrie 4.0, which Hannover Messe is focused on this week.

The U.S. is now approaching its 10th anniversary of when the iPhone was introduced. During this time we've seen smartphones thoroughly transform our consumer and retail worlds. But manufacturing software has been become much more sophisticated too.

Looking now 10 years into the future, we're going to see industry make the leap to smart factories. Industry 4.0 will be powered by advanced robotics. It will be powered by machines connected by cloud software. But what really makes Industry 4.0 unique is the ability to use software programs to visualize and design products.

The most effective way to design products—even factories and shop floors—is no longer by investing in all the material and building expensive models. It's on a computer screen. And the U.S. has a rich environment for this new type of manufacturing to flourish.

Whereas a country like Germany leads in machine tools and robotics, right now the U.S. stands out as a leader in software innovation. More than 75% of software revenues are generated by U.S. companies, and many of the largest companies in the world. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, are basically software companies. This is where the value is migrating.

But there is one big obstacle that U.S. manufacturing has to overcome. Although some U.S. companies are moving rapidly towards Industrie 4.0—and I'll mention some—most firms are still running on aging technology. Today, the average age of U.S. assets and equipment in operation are more than 35 years old (and) $65 billion worth of automation systems are reaching the end of their useful life. And only 5% of U.S. companies have implemented a big data analytics strategy.

So the U.S. industrial base is ready for a big overhaul.

The result for customers is a fully flexible production line that can change the configuration of products routed through the industrial process without interruption.

And we are already helping some companies lead the way into this Fourth Industrial Revolution.

With Ford, we partnered with the automaker to develop software that helps engineers simulate the entire assembly process for vehicles at different plants. This has contributed to Ford's emergence as a leader in designing flexible production.

Henry Ford once famously offered its Model T "in any color you want, so long as it's black." Today, with the help of our software, Ford's F-150 pickup truck—America's best-selling vehicle—is built to customers' specifications in millions of possible configurations-what we like to call mass customization.

So I'll end there except to say that we have a very aggressive agenda to help our U.S. customers—large and small—to gain the competitive advantages attached to digitalization."

ONLINE extra

See additional stories from Hannover Messe 2016 linked below.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me