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Tecnomatix Plant Simulation, a software application, owned by Siemens Digital Industry Software after a 2005 acquisition, is used for modeling, simulating, analyzing and optimizing plant logistics systems and processes. The software allows users to run simulation experiments without affecting an existing production system. It also helps with design testing in the planning stage, ensuring that issues are identified and addressed long before the actual system is installed. Plant Simulation also includes analysis tools, statistics and charts to evaluate different manufacturing scenarios, enabling users to make fast, reliable decisions.

Siemens’ latest release of the application, Plant Simulation 2201, came out in January 2022. Thus, the first two digits represent the release year and the last two digits are the release month. So, what’s new in Plant Simulation 2201? Georg Piepenbrock, product manager for Tecnomatix Plant Simulation at Siemens Digital Industry Software, answered this question at the Plant Simulation User Day 2022 in Berlin with an overview of features and functions in two major areas: product lifecycle management (PLM) collaboration and material flow simulation core objects, including a hybrid software as a service (SaaS) solution and HTC virtual reality (VR) support.


Plant Simulation 2201. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Graphical User Interface

The first enhancement will be easy for experienced users to spot. Plant Simulation 2201 comes with a new graphical user interface that uses the same color scheme and aligned icons as the other manufacturing tools in the Siemens Xcelerate portfolio. This aims to shorten the learning curve for users and facilitates switching between multiple software solutions.

Enabling PLM Collaboration

PLM workflows within Plant Simulation improve data sharing and reuse PLM contexts based on the Teamcenter Wizard. A functional enhancement in PLM collaboration is the PLM XML import of kinematic manufacturing model objects to Plant Simulation. This allows users to reuse kinematic models that already exist in other applications, such as Line Designer Factory Design and Simulation. Teamcenter interface improvements include an enhanced data file security level. Users can simply activate the security setting on the Teamcenter Server and all related files will be removed from the local computer.

Hybrid SaaS Advantages

Hybrid SaaS continues to improve PLM collaboration with Plant Simulation by providing access to the Xcelerator Share platform. This enables users to share simulation-related data, simulation models and results on the Xcelerator Share web platform. Plant Simulation user groups within a company, as well as external project stakeholders, can now take advantage of the built-in collaboration and sharing functionality, which allows them to work on specific models in parallel without interference.

Material Flow Simulation

The material flow simulation capabilities within Pant Simulation 2201 gained enhancements as well. Development teams can now use a text-based saving pattern that allows model management and versioning in regular Source Code Control Systems (SCCS), such as Git. This enhancement can help simulation engineering teams during the software development phase.

AGV Proximity Control

Two safety zones have been added to the freely driving Transporter in Plant Simulation 2201. This makes it easier to specify transporter actions. One example of this would be stopping a transporter that is behind a waiting one at a loading location. Another would be reducing the transporter speed in two-way traffic systems. This would be done by calling a SimTalk method once another transporter enters or leaves the safety zone.

Patch Matrix for Fluid Pipes

Simulation objects for batch handling and fluid processing have been included in Plant Simulation for quite some time. PatchMatrix objects have been added in Plant Simulation 2201, which helps to simplify model design for fluid manufacturing processes. The new PatchMatrix supports production program changes requiring multiple piping connections or changes between fluid tanks and filling stations.


PatchMatrix objects in Plant Simulation 2201. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

MQTT Support for AGV Fleet Control

Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is known as one of the most important communication platforms on the Internet of Things (IoT). Plant Simulation 2201 uses MQQT to link simulation models to external control systems. An example of this enhancement in action would be an automated guided vehicle (AGV) fleet manager with a connection that allows it to run and test the external control against the virtual AGV system.

Virtual Reality with Head-Mounted Displays

Head-mounted displays (HMD) have long been the choice for a simple and affordable way to view simulation models in VR. In previous releases, this meant using an additional viewing system. Plant Simulation 2201 allows users to employ the HTC Vive HMD to walk through and inspect running simulations in VR..

Disclaimer: I am the author at PLM ECOSYSTEM, focusing on developing digital-thread platforms with capabilities across CAD, CAM, CAE, PLM, ERP, and IT systems to manage the product data lifecycle and connect various industry networks. My opinions may be biased. Articles and thoughts on PLMES represent solely the author's views and not necessarily those of the company. Reviews and mentions do not imply endorsement or recommendations for purchase.

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