Integrated solutions for the entire plant lifecycle

For glass manufacturers and suppliers, digitalization opens up a wide range of possibilities.

In the glass industrydigitalization is the most effective strategy for overcoming future challenges. It supports an unprecedented quality of decision-­making – fast, well-founded, and fact-based – and provides a solid foundation for systematically optimizing plants at any time throughout the entire lifecycle. It benefits manufacturers and suppliers equally. Here’s an overview of the most important elements.

Integrated engineering

Comos is the central data platform used in the process industries, and allows all the plant manu­facturers involved in a plant project to work on a common data model. With a single mouse click, all automation-related data can be transferred directly from Comos to the Simatic PCS 7 process control system, saving valuable time that would normally be spent configuring the automation structures.


Large sections of the plant model for the Simit simulation software can also be generated from Comos. In this way, all automation and control functions can be tested and potential faults corrected prior to the actual commissioning. Once data is recorded in Comos, it can be used in multiple configuration segments without having to be re-entered. This means that the engineering segments that are normally performed sequentially can largely be executed in parallel, saving time and expenses and increasing engineering quality. Integrated engineering results in a virtual model of the plant – the digital twin.


Siemens offers the NX Mechatronics Concept Designer (MCD) for validating new machine concepts when developing new machines in the discrete segment of glass production. The machine’s kinematic CAD data can also be used for virtual commissioning, which can be performed either with a real controller (HiL – hardware-in-the-loop) or with a virtual controller (SiL – software-in-the-loop). PLCSIM Advanced and the TIA Portal engineering framework can be used to generate these virtual controllers for the purpose of simulating physical components as well as for comprehensive function simulations.

Integrated ­operations

“Integrated operations” is what Siemens calls the continuation of integrated engineering into the operating phase. With the aid of an integrated digitalization offering comprising hardware, software, and services, the huge quantity of data generated during production can be recorded, processed, and intelligently utilized. The most important prerequisites are the systematic recording of process, plant, and machine data and the integration of data from a variety of levels from the field to management.


Thanks to simple communication between the Simatic PCS 7 process control system and the Comos MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) software solution, maintenance and repair measures can be performed more quickly in order to significantly improve plant availability.


In addition, the existing digital twin of the plant can be used to train plant operators without affecting the real plant. Different ways of operating the plant can also be simulated and tested without interfering with the ­production process.

On the corporate management level, the XHQ Operations Intelligence dashboard solution is a valuable application for the operating phase. It supplies relevant, system-wide data and KPIs in real time, individually adapted to the customer. This could be an overview of especially costly assets and even comparisons of different plants at ­multiple locations worldwide.

Integrated services

The digital transformation of service is a top priority for Siemens – without neglecting traditional support services. The new “style” entails a broader understanding of service. According to a Gartner study, 75 percent of all companies across industries will have undergone a digital transformation by 2020 – but the survey reveals that only 30 percent will also create added value for their customers. The question of what the real gains will be is more pressing than ever before. Based in large part on its exchange with partners in the glass industry, Siemens is convinced that digitally based service offerings can provide a powerful boost. In addition to standard industry services, the task now is to precisely define “as a service” and combine it with what’s tried and tested.

The best of both worlds

The scalable Simatic Virtualization as a Service solution that’s already available unites the best of the traditional and smart worlds. In addition to maintaining the hardware platform, maintenance and support of the installed software components is crucial for minimizing the lifecycle costs of a PC-based control system. The comprehensive service concept exploits the potentials of digitalization in order to virtualize the entire system. This encompasses services across the entire lifecycle, including optimally compatible, preconfigured, and pretested software and hardware components – from a single source.


Simatic Virtualization as a Service includes the setup of the virtualization server, configuration of virtual machines (VMware), installation and configuration of the operating system, and turnkey installation of the Simatic software. Users will also continue to benefit from comprehensive support for all their technical questions on the function, application, and handling of their system components – throughout the lifecycle of  the virtualization system.

Traditional model

Standard services will remain as important as ever. The demands and requirements of running a glass plant are highly specific, especially for a service life of 15 years or more, and the traditional service requirements are equally individual. Siemens works closely with customers to establish a strong foundation for:

  • Investment protection
  • System availability
  • Modernization and service costs
  • Obsolescence management
  • Migration cycles and upgrades
  • Transparency and traceability
  • Documentation reliability and quality ­management

Here’s a concrete example: A modular and individually configurable lifecycle services contract for the Simatic PCS 7 control system results in a reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) and predictable maintenance and modernization costs. It ensures serviceability and long-term availability of spare parts as well as optimized plant availability.

Picture credits: Siemens AG

Smart brownfield concepts

A digital twin can also be generated for existing plants. This can be useful for tasks like implementing fast and efficient training and modernizations. Preparatory measures on the path to the digital factory can also be adopted during ongoing operation.

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