Siemens moved to Brainport because of its high tech ecosystem

Siemens Digital Industries Software is the fastest growing division within the German conglomerate. The Benelux office is based in the Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) since December 2019. The software unit originated in 2007 as a result of acquisition of UGSa computer software company specializing in 3D & 2D Product Lifecycle Management software. Its offering has evolved in products that no longer have to be designed, developed and monitored physically. They can all be managed in a digital setting.

Siemens Digital Industries Software has about 25,000 employees, of which about 280 in Brabant. The unit has three locations in the Dutch province. In Breda (physical testing products), Helmond (mainly automotive testing software) and almost 200 people in Eindhoven, focused on pre-sales, sales and professional services.

Siemens Digital Industries Software had a good reason to settle in Brainport, which has everything the company needs, such as field labs, manufacturing companies and educational institutions. It has all kinds of cooperation with schools and the universities in and around Eindhoven, including Technical University Eindhoven (TUe) and Fontys University of Applied Sciences.

Siemens Digital Industries Software aims to make students acquainted with the different kinds of solutions the company develops. In addition, it supports various student teams from Noord-Brabant, such as Solar Team Eindhoven and InMotion. And many of its customers, including ASML, DAF, Philips, and VDL, are based in or close to Eindhoven.

“The high tech ecosystem in Eindhoven is unique. Look at all that is happening there. You won’t see that anywhere else in the country. That’s the reason we moved here, to the epicenter of this ecosystem,” Patrick Fokke, Siemens Digital Industries Software Managing Director Benelux, explains. “Despite the fact that we are a global player, one sees that Eindhoven has the right climate to develop our business.”

Siemens Digital Industries Software benefits from BIC but also contributes to its development. The company and its Intosite software have been selected by de Brabant Development Agency (BOM) and BIC to make a digital copy of the facilities and the field labs on the campus in order to digitally visit them. BOM cooperates with BIC on the innovation program ‘Factory of the Future’. As part of this program about 125 companies, based on the campus, and educational institutes in the region, such as TUe and Fontys, joined forces in order to accelerate innovation.

Software useful in many industries

Siemens has developed all kinds of software, of which Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) is its core. This technology has been created to manage the product evolution from the conceptual phase to the actual use in the field. Siemens Digital Industries Software develops software solutions that are industry agnostic. Siemens’ software is utilized in many vertical markets including, but not limited to, electronics & semiconductor, machine building, automotive and food & beverage.

A car, for example, is difficult to build because of the combination of many mechanical, electrical and software components and also some simpler elements such as its frame and body parts. In order to digitalize its life cycle, the software creates a digital setting which indicates how all those components will work together without having to build a prototype. Also the testing is digital, so using crash test dummies or a wind tunnel are no longer necessary. Even a production facility to manufacture the car will be set up digitally, including robots and assembly line.

A digital setting is also very useful in process industries. It helps food manufacturers to test their recipes digitally. They can measure nutriscores and adjust the nutritional value per product during the production development process. Using expensive physical labs can be limited significantly.

“This way of working generates enormous cost savings for our customers across many industries,” Patrick Fokke explains, “More importantly, in a digital setting, various elements of the process can be done simultaneously. That has a huge positive impact on the time to market.”

Market leader in all segments

Through some takeovers, a number of software platforms have been added to PLM, including Mentor Graphics, that specializes in electronics design software, Simcenter in Leuven for the process and product simulation and products and for testing software, and in 2018 Mendix from Rotterdam. The latter one is a low code app development platform, employing about 600 people.

Low code is a new way of programming, putting more emphasis on visual interfaces than on traditional coding. Because many companies experience a constant pressure on their IT resources, this way of working is expected to make great strides, says Fokke. Mendix enables development of business applications by the business itself. With a bit of training, so-called citizen developers, people without IT education but with business experience, can develop applications that were in the past made by the IT department. Mendix delivers such a platform, which is secure and is administered by IT. The latter still deals with major IT issues within a company.

After a product has been designed, tested and manufactured, digitally or not, it needs to be monitored. Apart from on premise software such as low code and electronics design, Siemens Digital Industries Software also has its own cloud platform, MindSphere. One of its customers, a manufacturer of large printers, recently implemented Mindsphere, mainly to monitor their products in the field which generate data. Based on that data one can also sell extra services. “Globally, thousands of printers are now connected. With MindSphere, our customer can see what the status of each of those printers is. And based on the data, they can optimize the product and also predict which of the devices will need maintenance.”