'We Have to Plan, Define, Develop, Manufacture and Maintain in India and do all This for the Global Customers'
Senior director marketing, Siemens PLM Software India, Gautam Dutta

Gautam Dutta What is the extent of Siemens PLM Software in the area of defence?
There are three ways we at Siemens PLM solutions are contributing. Firstly, we are working with the defence labs where primary design and development work happens, where specific systems and subsystems for example - Airframe, fuel systems, environmental control systems and landing gear, the super structure of ship, HVAC and many similar critical pieces are developed. Secondly, we are working with the organisations which manufacture these critical systems and subsystems. These manufacturers may be public sector or government units, for example, we work with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Thirdly, we are also working with private enterprises and suppliers.

When you say you are working with them, you mean you are providing the software platforms?
Let’s not call it a software platform, it does not convey the value adequately. The solutions and services are catering to the entire product development requirement for our country’s defence programmes. What does an engineering product development infrastructure for defence essentially needs? You have certain specifications laid down by the customers which in this case, could be the Indian Air Force (IAF) or Indian Navy, for example. These specifications need to be converted to engineering designs. Various design alternatives need to be evaluated for their functionality, reliability and ease of maintenance and the selected design options need to be simulated and validated. The individual subsystems and the constituted systems alike need to be tested and simulated. The simulation results and test results need to be correlated individually as well as assemblies. Once the design is released to manufacturing, decisions need to be taken for what has to be made in-house and what has to be bought off-the-shelf. Manufacturing processes need to be defined, simulated and validated so that manufacturing can happen ‘first-time-right’.

The design and dependent manufacturing processes need to be validated also to ensure that the specified quality is maintained. The entire process constitutes many phases – especially in case of Technology Transfer from SKD (semi knocked-down) to CKD (completely knocked-down), which need to be cross referenced. Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Solution along with NX Design, Manufacturing & CAE Simulation Solution and Tecnomatix Digital manufacturing Solution, and LMS Simulation & Test Solutions provide the unique integrated platform to execute the entire value chain.

A very important aspect of defence equipment is that they have very large life cycles. Average equipment meant for defence purpose will be used for 15-20 years and sometimes even 30 years. That means the equipment has to be designed for efficient maintenance and there has to be a maintenance methodology throughout its lifecycle.

You talked about different modules on the PLM: design, development and manufacturing. Can they be in different countries or physical spaces? Have you tried this in any of the defence programmes in India?
Indian defence ecology till now has been limited to within the country but that is changing fast. We have done this many times in the commercial products from where we have learnt a lot. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) for example, uses Siemens PLM platform for all models of their cars. There are multiple suppliers, and the suppliers are spread all over the globe. They design certain parts and sub-assemblies, order some and manufacture some. While the design, development and manufacturing is happening at various places in the globe, the engineering information is integrated through the Siemens PLM platform.

As an engineering product there is not much difference between an automobile and an aircraft. Yes, the specifics of quality are different, the specifics of life cycle management are different, but as a principle it is the same.

A relevant example to mention here will be of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (Lockheed Martin), which won the contract to produce the F-35. Lockheed Martin’s strategy is to create a common design with affordable variants that meet the individual requirements of the different services. Lockheed Martin is partnering with the US and international aerospace leaders, including Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems in the UK. These three primary partners are supported by up to 600 suppliers. In all, the parties involved in the production of the F-35 reside in more than 30 countries, spanning 17 time zones. The programme is expected to produce as many as 3,000 plus aircraft, which will have lifespans of up to 30 years.

Lockheed Martin has adopted Teamcenter software as the foundation for a global collaboration network supporting the F-35 programme. Teamcenter supports the special requirements of aerospace and defence companies by providing proven, industry-specific PLM capabilities.

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