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Samson Khaou, Managing Director, Dassault Systemes India

Image: Dassault Systemes

Manufacturing IT “Delivering digital continuity”

Sep 22, 2017

Samson Khaou, Managing Director, Dassault Systemes India, discusses the advancements in digitalisation and product development processes. In this interaction with Maria Jerin, he shares his company’s strategies for enabling future-ready factories. Excerpts from the interview…

You had recently mentioned that the trend in the manufacturing environment has shifted from mass production to mass customisation. Can you elaborate more on this?

Mass customisation has emerged as an important business concept, deployed by numerous brands these days. Moreover, the concept is also employed in the development of marketing strategies for product and service lines and during the process of recognising the target audience of a brand or business. Companies, throughout the world, have embraced mass customisation in an attempt to avoid hitches and provide unique value to their customers in an efficient manner. As a result, digital manufacturing techniques are increasingly essential for global companies seeking to differentiate what they make for different customers, ultimately arriving at the destination of mass customisation.

There are four basic approaches to mass customisation, depending on customisation of the product itself or its representation — collaborative customisation, adaptive customisation, cosmetic customisation and transparent customisation.

What are the most promising market segments for Dassault Systemes?

For our Indian market, the most promising market continues to be in manufacturing. We are seeing that manufacturers are striving to bring in technological innovations to foster their manufacturing processes to make it more lean and efficient. Segments like transportation & mobility (automotive, trains, 2-wheelers, trucks/buses), aerospace and industrial segments continue to show growth and remain the core industry for us. That said, we intend to make in-roads in new and growth industry segments like consumer packaged goods, energy, process and mining industries.

What is your opinion on Additive Manufacturing becoming a game changer? How is your company leveraging this technology in the design field?

Additive Manufacturing is making rapid gains in manufacturing, albeit from a low base, and it has clearly moved beyond the mere making of prototypes and short manufacturing runs. But the real allure is that 3D printing is going to allow entirely new types of parts and products to be designed. Designers will have blank drawing boards, so to speak, that allow them to ask, “In an ideal world, what should this part look like?” Some of these designers are finding that organic shapes, more in keeping with Mother Nature, are sometimes better and more streamlined than the clunky industrial style shapes that have prevailed in the past.

We have announced a new partnership with Safran Group to develop expertise in the virtual validation of the Additive Manufacturing process using our 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Further, we have entered into a collaborative partnership with Airbus to advance the use of Additive Manufacturing for large-scale production in the aerospace and defence industry.

Collaborative manufacturing is in place in the industry for a long time. However, with advancements in digitalisation, how do you see the future of such strategy?

With collaborative manufacturing, all parties in the business relationship contribute to the betterment of the whole. The digital revolution is now penetrating the walls of manufacturing as it continues to disrupt other sectors. Indeed, the explosion in data and new computing capabilities—along with advances in other areas such as Artificial Intelligence, automation and robotics, additive technology, and human machine interaction—are giving birth to innovations that will change the natureof manufacturing itself. Manufacturers have moved beyond ‘knowing something needs to happen’ to ‘making something happen’ and we’re already witnessing examples of tailored and customised versions of everything from stylish wardrobes, self-driving cars and shipping options.

How can organisations design/plan the change management process and product development strategies? Would you like to give any examples from your company?

The digital experience economy that the businesses are surrounded with and have to survive in is guiding the change. There is a need for a holistic deployment of solutions where all stakeholders are coming together and are connected in real time. Businesses have to understand how the various components of technology would affect their businesses and then look at step by step technological adoption. From the shopfloor cycle to all parts of product life cycle management, today technology makes sure that each person involved is able to work on the same project at the same time. Reducing the time lapses between different components is only beneficial for businesses in terms of revenues and resource management.

One of the leading OEM in the business of railway transportation has adapted our concept of digital continuity wherein there is a continuity of same data starting all the way from design engineering to shopfloor operations. As all stake holders are working on one single source of truth, the change management process becomes extremely streamlined and agile owing to digitalisation.

How is your company planning its digital continuity in the manufacturing industry?

When a product has been designed and engineered fully in 3D, the manufacturing processes can also be modelled virtually. Digital continuity, also called the digital thread, leverages 3D design data all the way through to 3D manufacturing process models, including ergonomics, flow simulations, machining, process planning, manufacturing management, and more. The challenge for the manufacturers of the future is to extend the digital thread beyond the start of production into all the aspects of manufacturing that follow. Product and process models must integrate feedback from the shopfloor, from the supply chain, from the distribution network, and even from consumers. The amount of data involved in manufacturing a complete experience is thousands of times richer than simply the shape of the product.

What do you think about enabling future-ready factories?

Sustainability concerns, modernisation of factories and the need for greater collaboration in global supply chains are necessitating revolutionary changes in the industry today. Industrial innovation goes well beyond the walls of a factory to integrate multiple digital concepts that are revolutionising existing processes and creating a dynamic, holistic and more sustainable production model.

Manufacturers are increasingly using new technologies, including the Industrial Internet of Things, robotics and Additive Manufacturing, to eliminate waste and raise productivity. But educators are challenged to train the new workforce and re-train existing ones with the skills they need to work successfully in these factories of the future.

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