The IIoT interview: “It’s about the processes, not the tech,” says Dassault Systèmes
Enterprise IoT Insights sat down with Darko Sucic, in charge of digital manufacturing at French industrial software company Dassault Systèmes, at Hannover Messe to get his views on the big IIoT trends coming out of the conference.
The booth belonging to Dassault Systèmes is buzzing with demonstrations, presentations, networking and booth tours. Darko Sucic, in charge of the French software company’s centre of excellence for digital manufacturing, is still fresh, despite the travel and the rising stampede outside his door.
“We believe in digital continuity,” says Sucic. “We want to take all the things during the design process and bring it down to the shop floor. We want people in factories to benefit. We want to fully close the loop of the whole cycle.”
Dassault Systèmes’ booth is focused on “new ways of business”. The company reckons no corner of industry can escape digital transformation, whether it is related to new business models or new technologies.
“We’re looking at how we can implement this idea of digital continuity and combine the virtual world of planning and the physical world of product. The increase of automation in factories will then impact the people on the shop floor – it will remove all boring routine jobs. People will become responsible for more than they are today; this is where we will go.”
Sucic wants to empower people with IIoT, but he is also keen to change the way businesses think about manufacturing and processes. “Automation is not mature, but it is developing,” he says. “But it’s not a question of technology; we need to change our processes. We’re further behind on that than technology.”
He adds: “[The industry] focuses too much on technology and discussion of technology, and not the business processes that will help them transform themselves.”
But Dassault Systèmes is a software engineering company, after all; technological innovation is its lifeblood. At Hannover Messe, the company is showcasing its 3DEXPERIENCE platform, as well as a partnership with Bosch and the Fraunhofer Institute for Design Engineering Mechatronics. New engineering and manufacturing methods are also on display.
IIoT technologies and techniques like additive manufacturing can completely revolutionise the way manufacturers make products and business decisions, Sucic explains. “3D printing is not only important from a technology point of view. This is the new way to manufacture things. You can shorten life cycles, and you impact your product from the design phase,” he says.
“It will make the collaboration closer between manufacturing and design. There will be less room to make mistakes as the equipment defines what you can design – nobody will misunderstand. It will ensure transparency from beginning to end.”
Dassault Systèmes is in the process of more fully integrating the portfolio of business planning specialist Quintiq, which it acquired back in 2014, into its 3D software solutions. “We are benefitting from Quintiq; it was a technology we needed. We are integrating this technology into different tools and we’re benefitting from its business knowledge,” says Sucic.
“We’re also opening our customers to them as well as learning a lot from them.”
Although the company considers itself a European company, with headquarters are in Paris, Dassault Systèmes has a strong presence in South America as well, where automotive manufacturing thrives. As well as seeing success in the automotive industry, particularly with automotive suppliers, the company has also done well in the aerospace and defence industries.
“Many of our customers from the US and Europe build their plants there, and we directly support them and their business. More and more countries are exposed to our technology, so we are becoming involved more and more in their markets.”
He brings it around to the subject of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), and the prospect of robots taking jobs. “We still want to focus on people; IoT and AI is important but we do not believe that factories will be empty. In fact, we cannot predict today what the factory of the future will look like.”