Research and development for the future

Siemens makes its mark with innovations that count – innovations that are not merely new but actually redefine market standards as new products, solutions, or services. Learn how R&D is done at Siemens.
Our core issues

Core technologies

Siemens strives for technological leadership in fields of technology and innovation that are of overriding importance to the company. These core technologies are crucial to the long-term success of Siemens and its customers. Experts from the global research department of Corporate Technology (CT) and the various businesses work together here, consolidating the company’s R&D activities.

Additive Manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, can fundamentally change the development and production of components. AM enables internal geometries that are lighter and require fewer materials, or that are more complex for improved component functioning.

 

Siemens aims to lead as both an end user and supplier of industrialized AM. As an end user, the company has made breakthroughs in maximizing gas turbine efficiency using AM. As a supplier, Siemens offers a comprehensive portfolio for a seamless digital chain, from Product Lifecycle Management software for 3D printing, to leading-edge simulation tools, to engineering and printing services.

Robotics is now disruptively changing the world of manufacturing. The proportion of tasks assumed by robots is estimated to increase from 10 percent today to 25 percent in 2025. As the market leader in industrial automation, Siemens already offers robotic solutions in handling and autonomous guided vehicles.

 

Siemens' worldwide R&D in robotics will be lead from China, the world's leading manufacturing country. Siemens is also working with universities and manufacturers from Europe and the United States to boost autonomous technologies in industrial applications and shape the autonomous systems revolution.

Blockchain is a technology for distributed databases and a digital protocol for transactions between business partners – with no intermediaries such as banks or payment systems. A blockchain records transactions in a linear chronological order that is open and traceable at all times.

 

A current research focus at Siemens is peer-to-peer financial and legal transactions on decentralized databases across corporate boundaries. The technology is used to trade electricity in complex markets or to provide services digitally. Other applications include distributed audit trails, distributed ledgers and smart contracts.

Rapid innovation is happening right now in the urban environment and only by combining the trends of Autonomy, Connectivity, Electric and Sharing Services (ACES), will benefits be derived in the future of urban mobility. To successfully address this fast-changing world of future urban mobility, the core technology Connected (e)Mobility is the Siemens answer.

The Internet of Things (IoT) seamlessly interconnecting physical world and digital world is a key element for the digitalization and leads to fundamental changes in all areas of economy and society. It enables new business opportunities and enormous optimization potentials for the processes of our customers.

 

The core technology Connectivity and Edge Devices provides the technical basis specifically for the Industrial Internet of Things, shaping the evolution towards autonomous, interacting “Smart Things”.

In the digital age cyber security is a prerequisite for organizations to safeguard critical infrastructure assure business continuity. Cyber security is a top priority at Siemens. The ability to supply products, systems and services with state-of-the-art security becomes a strong competitive advantage. Technology plays an important role in this, and for this reason cyber security is a core element of Siemens’ technology and innovation strategy.

Cyber security is not a new topic for Siemens. The first IT Security team at Siemens was set up in 1986 – more than 30 years ago – at the central research department Corporate Technology.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is based computer systems that use algorithms to perform tasks for which humans apply their natural intelligence.

 

Siemens has been active in data analytics and AI for more than 30 years, advancing technologies and tapping an enormous business potential. Siemens utilizes these techniques internally across divisions – to supply new medical technologies or to provide services for operators of power plants. Siemens also integrates its customers' manufacturing processes into digital platforms that enable them to boost efficiency by means of networked systems and self-learning machines.

The energy landscape is changing from centralized, large-scale power generation to a network of often independently owned and operated power producers. The change to decentralization is characterized by the deregulation of markets, decrease in renewable energy prices and departure from carbon-based fuels.

 

Siemens delivers custom solutions to both new and established players to address energy efficiency, grid fee reduction, autonomy, resilience and CO₂ reduction. Advanced "Energy as a Service” business models are also on offer to help reduce customer complexity and risk.

Energy storages enable the smoothing of electricity grid utilization and foster the integration of volatile energy input (renewables) and fast changing demands. Integrated in devices or systems they increase the energy related self-sufficiency.

 

Energy Storage technologies enable the coupling of different energy grids e.g. gas, electricity, heat (sector coupling) and enable the transport of energy over long distances. Currently Siemens focuses on four storage technology areas: electro-chemical conversion of water into oxygen and hydrogen (PEM electrolysis); electrochemical conversion of CO2 into CO (a valuable chemical for various applications); green fuels to electrically produce fossil free fuels and feedstocks; and batteries to increase the functionality of our Siemens products and systems or open up new application fields.

Automation technology has been a huge boost to manufacturing and infrastructure. However, automation works only with facilities whose behavior and environment are known and change little.

 

As the leader in automation, Siemens links the latest technology – including AI, the industrial Internet of Things and digital twins – with the company's deep automation know-how. To "automate the automation," Siemens is focusing on functions that facilitate intelligent behavior of a plant; the use of open, pre-fabricated modularized units with integrated and autonomous automation; and cloud-based operating systems.

In the future of industrial manufacturing, products will be created in a networked process that encompasses every step in the value creation, from material selection to design to production.

 

R&D and IP rights in materials and its technologies play a key role in advancing and safeguarding Siemens' competitive advantage and business leadership. The company develops metal alloys, protective coatings, reinforced plastics and insulating resins for turbines, motors and generators, as well as software and equipment for material-specific design, including 3D printing.

Power electronics convert and control electric power. Renewable sources of electric power, DC infrastructure, energy storage, robotics and e-mobility make up the mass markets for power electronics. The global market is expected to reach €36 billion in 2022.

 

As the Internet of Things grows, power electronics become more important to Siemens, because they are the prime data source and the place for control execution. Siemens’ efforts focus on functional integration, flexible modular and scalable architectures, and intelligent software-defined converter systems.

The digital twin concept sits at the center of digitalization, linking all models and data related to products, production and operations, and providing them to designers, engineers, operators and service technicians across vertical domains. Using digital twins allows systems to monitor their own condition and simulate future behavior in real time, buildings to be planned more efficiently and product design cycles to be shortened.

 

Siemens provides its customers with tools to create and use twins for their own products. The company also creates twins of its own offerings for customers to optimize their use. Goal is to fully close the loop from design to production and the performance of products and systems so that information of the operation helps to optimize the initial design process.

For over 20 years, Siemens has been a leading driver of industrial software. In the meantime, users have come to expect company’s software to deliver more immediate and tangible added value. To fulfill these expectations, pressure on software development speed is high, and the software itself becomes increasingly complex.

 

Engineers at Siemens are therefore working on reference solutions to meet the challenges of creating innovative digitalization software. These solutions are being made available across the company to use synergies effectively and to avoid duplication of work.

We are at the forefront of our core technologies. To stay on top and develop new technologies, we live the open exchange within Siemens and with partners, bring the right people together and let them concentrate on topics.
Dr. Roland Busch, Deputy CEO, CTO and Managing Board Member at Siemens

Reinventing how we invent

The research labs in which the innovations of the past century were developed behind closed doors are not where the innovations of the 21st century will emerge.

 

Innovation cannot be planned.

 

That’s why the critical role of innovation management is to create the right conditions and environment for ideas to emerge and blossom into innovations.

 

Some hallmarks of the Siemens culture of innovation:

  • Desire for experimentation
  • Ownership culture that is nurtured and practiced
  • Agility in dealing with complex conditions and rapid change
  • Space for ideas to develop
  • Interdisciplinary approach
  • Co-creation: joint development with customers and partners

Siemens and its partners align themselves along shared goals and values. Together they work to make complexity manageable and create value for the future of industry and society.

Investments

  • R&D expenditures climbed to €5.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, up from €5.6 billion in fiscal year 2018.
  • Siemens has about 45,000 people working on R&D in 44 countries, including about 14,100 in Germany.
  • R&D at Siemens focuses on developing innovative and sustainable solutions for customers and business units alike while simultaneously boosting competitiveness.

Siemens: the European Patent Champion

  • Siemens filed more patents than any other company in Europe in 2018, climbing to first place in the applicant ranking of the European Patent Office.
  • The 2,493 patent applications of Siemens push last year’s winner Huawei into second place, followed by Samsung and LG.
  • More than 25 percent of the patents relate to “Industrie 4.0” and digital technologies. Siemens also increased its activities in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
The ranking demonstrates the consistency with which Siemens delivers outstanding innovation, especially in digital technologies.
Beat Weibel, head of the Siemens Patent Department

All in all, Siemens holds more than 68,000 granted patents. Siemens employees filed some 3,750 patents and 6,850 invention disclosures worldwide in fiscal year 2019. Based on 220 working days, that’s about 31 inventions per day.

Corporate Technology

Corporate Technology (CT) is the central in-house research unit at Siemens. CT works alongside the business units to drive forward the basic technologies that are important for the company as a whole.

These include the core technologies of Siemens.

 

  • CT is headed by the Chief Technology Officer.
  • The global network of experts comprises some 2,550 employees, including 1,700 researchers and 350 patent experts.
  • CT acts as a strategic partner to support the executive units with R&D services, protect the company’s intellectual property, and promote cybersecurity throughout Siemens.
  • The main locations are in Germany, Austria, the US, China, Russia, and India.
  • CT develops and represents the company’s position on research policy issues and supports its standardization activities in all business units and regions.