Siemens’ factory simulation software helps Sansera Engineering optimise production efficiency

by Mayank Dhingra 01 Oct 2018


Siemens PLM Software’s Technomatix tool with its shopfloor simulation capabilities has allowed the Bangalore-based Sansera Engineering to cut down labour hours on its assembly lines by a third.

A global engineering company, Sansera manufactures complex precision engineered components for automotive and aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The company also builds its own computerised numerical control-special purpose machines (CNCs) and manufacturing lines, enabling its customers to benefit from the dual advantages of cost effectiveness and enhanced machining capabilities.

The company is a key supplier of casting and forging engine components such as crankshaft assemblies, rocker arms, gear shifter forks, common rails and connecting rods to its clientele, which includes the likes of Maruti Suzuki India, General Motors, Honda, Piaggio, Bajaj Auto, Yamaha, Harley-Davidson, Bosch, Nissan and Ducati.

While it has seven manufacturing and machining plants in India, it employs more than 5,000 employees with net revenue clocking US$ 150 million (Rs 1,087 crore) between January to December 2017.

Sansera’s resources, together with its expert engineering team, possess the highest level of technical and professional competence to produce complex products, and in its quest to supply high-precision engineering, forging and machining assemblies that require supreme levels of technical competence, the company has been consistently looking at optimising production efficiency as well as resource utilisation across all of its manufacturing facilities.

Solving a problem
While it started to achieve these goals using 2D layouts and adopting a spreadsheet-based analysis, the company couldn’t see fruitful results coming out by such a methodology, which had numerous constraints including that of not being able to consider enough details for accurate analysis and planning. For instance, it did not accurately consider vital inputs such as time-related dynamics and interdependencies, and constraints of shared resources.

Secondly, experimentation and analysis required intensive efforts, which on one hand were time consuming; they limited the number of options for Sansera to consider. These inadequacies kept Sansera’s engineering team being underutilised in terms of capability and effectiveness because team members were required to spend more time on repetitive calculations and evaluating tasks during every iteration, than on engineering analysis and optimization.

As a result, the company decided to use production system simulation software to achieve these goals, and drew up a set of criterion for the software, which included accurate modelling and simulation capabilities, ease of learning and strong technical support.

Siemens says the fact that the number of engineers who worked on
simulation at Sansera increased from one to three within a year is testimony to the benefits reaped from Plant Simulation.

Technomatix as an optimiser
As per a Siemens PLM Software white paper, Sansera zeroed down on Siemens’ ‘Technomatix’ portfolio from its Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software tools. It utilised the ‘Plant Simulation’ tool to successfully model and simulate complex production scenarios and also optimise its line functioning.

With a much more detailed analysis within Plant Simulation, Sansera was able to achieve a 30 percent reduction in manpower hours in its first machining line project with no new investment. The company realised direct savings in operational costs as a result of the reduction in the labour hours.

According to Sujith S Nath, assistant manager, Advanced Engineering, Sansera Engineering India, “The simulation tool has helped us to model a balanced production system, identify the bottlenecks and plan the manpower optimally.” “The first project was to optimise the manpower in a production line and our team were able to bring down the manpower by 30 percent,” he added.

“Within a year we were able to achieve significant improvements in terms of cost savings on our existing lines as well as on the new ones prior to commissioning. Following this success we have decided to use the tool more effectively in the power utilization scenarios as well,” said P Mahadeva, AGM and head, Sansera Engineering India. 

After the first successful project, Sansera has increased its use of Plant Simulation for analysing and optimising other existing machining lines as well as for validating new machining lines and is also now interested in the energy analysis capabilities of Plant Simulation and has enlisted a pilot project for one of their existing machining lines.

Factory digitalisation, as well as virtual simulation of the shopfloor with the help of software is becoming a key advanced tool for companies to run real production scenarios in software, assess problematic areas during production, analyse best human ergonomics to bring out the maximum production efficiency and thus, effectively design their assembly lines by optimising logistics and production flows to reduce tact times and enhance productivity. All this saves time, effort, as well as prevents huge investments from going in vain, just in case there needs to be certain alterations due to unaccounted external factors.