Become a data driven organization (case study) 


In our modern digital age, we have moved from paper to the electronical logging of data. Sensor data is directly captured, time stamped and stored online. In many cases, access to this data, and transforming it into useful information, is a rather cumbersome process. Interpreting the build history of each product produced is not a trivial matter.

Every day the Simera Group engineers are confronted with a plethora of questions when producing optical payloads: what was the temperature when that part was glued? What was the humidity? Who exactly did what, when did they do it and why?

These are all questions that are asked on a daily basis when integrating high-precision systems, especially optical systems for satellites. In the past this was addressed by manually logging readings, processes and timelines, and usually on paper. As you can imagine, this was a process prone to human error and open to manipulation.

But now imagine each product you manufacture has a digital twin living in a parallel “cyber universe”. This digital twin is a representation of your product, available to you when and wherever you need it, created with strict manufacturing and design parameters that tells you exactly how it must be produced. It stores data on everything from how it was assembled and integrated, to how it was transported, launched and operated.

Well, this digital twin is a reality and a key concept of the new industrial revolution, namely Industry 4.0. It will bring us smart automated workflows with back-to-birth traceability, authenticity, tracking, optimization, auditing and compliance. Additionally, it will provide us with artificial intelligence that will interpret the data and only report on matters relevant to the individual reading it in an easily comprehendible and human manner.

In collaboration with our sister company Simera Sense, we at Simera Innovate are taking our production methodology into the realms of Industry 4.0:

  • Automated measurement of all environmental data during the integration processes.
  • Smart knowledge of what parts are being integrated, along with who are integrating it.
  • All being filtered and reported on by automated processes. Then linked into the IP knowledge base that is stored and controlled by SIEMENS’ Teamcenter PLM software.
  • Incrementally building a digital twin for each product produced in a smart factory environment.

This digital twin enables a remote sensing payload to tell us its story, from conceptualisation to the point it leaves the production area. It can tell us how it survived the various environmental tests and to what degree it was calibrated and treated during the process.

This means that the build histories are totally complete and constantly live. This in turns also means that both the client and development team are continually aware of the current development status. Engineers no longer have to spend their valuable time preparing for reviews and oral presentation. They can instantly get all the data they need directly from the PLM database.

The most simple and straightforward benefit our Industry 4.0 focus provides is an audible history for the client and a detailed data pack at hand for the engineers.

Simera Innovate sees a future of a “lights-out factory” for remote sensing payloads, an environment with minimal human intervention. Our approach is to be incremental and interactive, but not any less revolutionary for it.

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