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PTC: a major change in ESG product development of construction machinery

The release date:2022-04-26 Author:The station Subordinate to the column:Recent news

During the just concluded 2022 "two sessions", keywords such as ESG (Sustainable Development), green, low-carbon, R & D and innovation have once again become hot spots. At the "two sessions" last year, "carbon peak" and "carbon neutralization" were written into the government work report for the first time. The ESG strategy with the "double carbon" goal as the core has entered all areas of the national economy, including the construction machinery manufacturing industry as the pillar of the national economy. Zhu Haibo, a senior technical expert in PTC construction machinery industry, stressed that the number of construction machinery is far lower than that of automobiles, but the carbon emission level of construction machinery industry is equal to or even higher than that of automobile industry.




In the first "China's top 100 science and technology enterprises ESG index" released last year, nearly half of the science and technology enterprises are below the two-star level, of which only six electrical and machinery manufacturing enterprises are on the list, which is at the lower middle level as a whole. For the R & D director of construction machinery enterprises, what does the "double carbon" goal mean? How should the product R & D department transform to meet this challenge? So as to obtain differentiated competitive advantages for products and help enterprises walk out of a new round of downward cycle in advance? Taking Komatsu, an international leader in construction machinery, as an example, Zhu Haibo pointed out that the reform of ESG product R & D system is a major trend in the R & D of construction machinery industry.




Extreme ESG: Lunar excavator




For Chinese construction machinery enterprises, ESG not only means the comprehensive upgrading of products from fuel to electric, but also means the comprehensive innovation and development of the whole product R & D system - integrating ESG strategy with product R & D innovation system to serve the long-term strategic development of construction machinery enterprises and shape the core competitiveness of future products, services and solutions.




At the end of 2021, Komatsu, an international leader in construction machinery, announced that his "proposal for the development of digital twin technology for lunar construction equipment" had been selected into Japan's outer space automation construction project. Komatsu's "excavator lunar landing plan" implemented the lunar project through unmanned driving, digital twin and remote operation. Although it is still in the conceptual stage, it also poses a limit challenge to the future engineering environment of the global construction machinery industry.




Zhu Haibo stressed that unmanned driving, digital twinning, remote operation, solar energy and electricity used on the moon and other new energy are the products of ESG's science and technology strategy. Although Komatsu lunar excavator is only a product, it is a highly integrated product innovation system under Komatsu's ESG strategy - Komatsu put forward the plan of "dantostu value forward jointly promoting sustainable development" combined with ESG strategy in April 2019, Through the digital transformation of products, services and processes, the plan generates a positive cycle to solve ESG problems and realize a safe, high productivity, intelligent and clean construction environment in the future.




Komatsu's "dantostu value" plan includes: highly integrated high-quality and high value-added products such as ICT capability and electric energy, which can be operated automatically or even autonomously, based on electricity and can be remotely controlled; Realize visual operation and maintenance of next-generation products, predictive maintenance using Internet of things and AI technology, life cycle support based on product serial number and next-generation remote control management system; Intelligent construction committed to safety and productivity, realize independent decision-making, equip machinery, and automatically organize the daily operation of unmanned construction according to the construction plan by optimizing the platform and solutions.




What to learn from leading enterprises




As the leader of international construction machinery, Komatsu's product R & D and innovation system is worth learning from China's manufacturing enterprises of construction machinery, tobacco machinery, coal machinery, textile machinery, agricultural machinery and machine tools. For Komatsu, there is no independent resource or product line for ESG, but ESG has been integrated into Komatsu's absolute advantage R & D project strategy since 2001, and Komatsu lunar excavator is also one of the achievements of Komatsu's great strategic development. Behind Komatsu's visible achievements is a complete set of R & D engineering system for the future strategic development of the enterprise.




For any enterprise, R & D is not only a technological innovation strategy, but also an enterprise management strategy. Especially for industrial enterprises represented by construction machinery, product technological innovation and R & D rhythm should be combined with market demand. Construction machinery enterprises are heavy asset models, which can not maintain sufficient cash flow like the light asset models such as Microsoft or IBM, and even maintain a huge enterprise basic research institute. Construction machinery products have the characteristics of multiple varieties, small batch, production by order and complex structure. At the same time, the construction machinery industry has the characteristics of heavy assets, periodicity and long product R & D time. Therefore, the R & D of construction machinery is an innovative project that needs to comprehensively consider enterprise resources, market demand, product characteristics, technological innovation and profitability.




Komatsu put forward the absolute advantage strategy of dantotsu around 2001. A big background is that Komatsu suffered its first operating loss in the company's history: from the 1970s to 2000, Komatsu presented internationalization and diversification, and the early overseas market led to the large-scale demand for construction machinery; Around 2000, the overseas market entered a period of stagnation. At the same time, Komatsu entered the field of non construction machinery in pursuit of diversified development. Large-scale investment exacerbated Komatsu's consumption of capital and resources, resulting in a state of high investment, low profit and even loss; Dantou will give up its strategic advantages and focus on the performance of all its competitors in a few years after the launch of its strategic advantages, that is, dantsu will give up its strategic advantages, and will not be able to focus on the performance of all its products in a few years after the launch of its products in 2000; Since 2001, with Komatsu's promotion of dantotsu's absolute advantage strategy, Komatsu's overseas market has not decreased but increased, and has achieved a greater overseas market share than before. At present, Komatsu's overseas market revenue accounts for more than 80% of the company's overall revenue.




China's construction machinery industry experienced large-scale domestic investment expansion from 2009 to 2014, and entered the stage of cost reduction and efficiency increase around 2015. At that time, there was a gap of 14 to 15 years with Komatsu. After the national policy adjustment from 2018 to 2019 and the vigorous development of electric equipment, the gap between China's construction machinery industry and Komatsu shortened to about 5 years in 2022. Zhu Haibo stressed that Komatsu's absolute advantage lies in the establishment of a complete product R & D system and the continuous feedback of data from the intelligent construction end to the R & D end, forming a complete chain from product R & D to production delivery and then to construction application. At present, the R & D level of Chinese construction machinery enterprises is still in the stage of blindly purchasing software and ignoring the real needs of business, paying attention to single technology and ignoring the establishment of a complete technical system, following up hot innovation and lacking a complete R & D blueprint. It is necessary to learn from international leading enterprises a complete closed-loop iterative R & D system around product forward design, from product demand, system engineering, design collaboration and simulation to field application.




As the world's top technology supplier in the field of industrial software, PTC is also the main technology provider behind Komatsu's absolute advantage strategy. In particular, it provides an end-to-end digital main line platform around Komatsu's intelligent product management system, which completely supports Komatsu's whole life cycle from product development, manufacturing and delivery, to sales, operation and service, from design data, process data to service data. It can be said that Komatsu's overall R & D system is based on PTC technology and products, which is connected to the on-site construction through PTC industrial Internet of things platform, and feeds back the working condition data to R & D and other links through digital twin application.




Specifically, in terms of intelligent product design and management, PTC's Creo CAD platform and Windchill PLM platform support Komatsu's intelligent product software and hardware design, realize the platform and modularization of product software and hardware design, especially support the rapid design of electric products, create a collaborative design environment of software and hardware, and build a design simulation iteration system driven by digital twins based on working conditions; After having the design data, the PTC platform supports the rapid selection of sales through end-to-end BOM management, that is, modular product configuration, so as to quickly meet the customized needs of customers; With the order data, the production and manufacturing plan of the order can be constructed through the shelf parts management, so as to support agile and lean manufacturing.




Three ESG R & D schemes




From Komatsu's practice, it can be concluded that the construction of enterprise R & D system is not achieved overnight. It needs to rely on the current situation of enterprise development and be constructed in accordance with the development idea of "emphasizing foundation - sudden benefits - strengthening system".




Based on the CMM maturity model, the enterprise digital maturity is divided into the following five levels: Level 1 - initial level (AD HOC), that is, the digital initiatives only respond to single point business challenges, have low matching with the enterprise strategy, and do not pay attention to the user experience; Level 2 - opportunistic, that is, it has been recognized that the digital strategy should be integrated into the business strategy, but there is still a lack of integrated digital system planning, and there are still breakpoints in data and processes; Level 3 - repeatable, that is, the enterprise has formulated the digital blueprint and promotion route, introduced the methodology and built the digital system of internal operation in order, but has not realized the innovation of products and services; Level 4 - managed, that is, the digital blueprint is closely related to the business strategy, and digital technology enables enterprises to change their product and service experience; Level 5 - optimized, that is, the enterprise has subversive characteristics. Digital technology continues to drive the innovation of enterprise business model, affect the market and reshape the ecological environment.




Among them, level 1 and level 2 belong to the "heavy foundation" stage, level 3 belongs to the "sudden benefit" stage, and level 4 and level 5 belong to the "strong system" stage. Focusing on the foundation, the core is to make up for the shortcomings of informatization. Enterprises plan and implement basic capabilities such as product R & D, process, service and project. The core of sudden benefit is digital empowerment. Relying on PLM / ERP / MES and other basic platforms, enterprises realize the connection between people and property through digital main line technology, create efficient R & D capability, and then improve the profitability of enterprises. The core of strengthening the system is to build a flexible and sustainable R & D system, continuously integrate new technologies and means, build new scenes and capabilities, and support the continuous R & D innovation transformation of enterprises.




Throughout the whole domestic construction machinery industry, most enterprises are still at level 2, and the industry leaders have promoted the capacity-building of level 3, but Komatsu has reached level 4 and moved forward to level 5. At present, China's construction machinery industry has entered a new stage of ESG transformation. Most enterprises have or are close to completing the construction of information-based platform and entering the stage of digital empowerment to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Drawing on Komatsu's intelligent product R & D practice, Zhu Haibo recommended three PTC solutions to China's construction machinery enterprises to meet the R & D and innovation reform of construction machinery products for ESG during the 14th Five Year Plan period.




The first is the innovative design based on artificial intelligence. The product R & D of construction machinery has experienced five stages: 3D modeling, MBD application, real-time simulation design, generative design and AR collaboration. At present, most construction machinery enterprises have applied the first two design schemes, and generative design, that is, the innovative design assisted by artificial intelligence, is a new R & D design scheme for ESG green and low-carbon.




Generative design integrates artificial intelligence into CAD software, and the CAD system automatically completes the design. The result of generative design also supports 3D printing, reducing consumables and making parts lighter, more energy-saving and more environmentally friendly. PTC Creo version above 8.0 supports Artificial Intelligence Aided Design. The bottom layer is a set of knowledge base accumulated by PTC for many years, coupled with the construction site data returned through PTC thingworx digital twins. Driven by "knowledge + data", artificial intelligence provides innovative design ideas for enterprise R & D teams. At the same time, the data drive provided by thingworx digital twin is used to simulate the load spectrum, so as to make the simulation experiment closer to the actual working condition. Simply understand, PTC's innovative design scheme for artificial intelligence is "generative design + Digital twin".




The second is the modular product configuration management scheme based on the product digital main line to help enterprises build a R & D innovation system for cost reduction and efficiency enhancement: realize the transformation from order oriented R & D to platform oriented modular R & D mode, and build a platform oriented modular design organization system and standard system; Change from reverse design of product R & D to forward design mode of demand-oriented, simulation and test, shorten product R & D cycle and improve product performance; From electronic document, result management and offline management to structured document, process management and online management; From new order design to order shelf selection, rapid manufacturing and delivery mode.




PTC Windchill PLM supports the product platform and modular research and development, realizes the integrated management of product BOM, module and process, and uses thingworx digital mainline technology to open up the BOM, module, process and personnel roles in the whole product life cycle, so as to realize high configuration, high reuse and end-to-end online of orders, so as to improve the efficiency and quality of order delivery, The energy of the R & D team has shifted from completing order R & D to real product innovation and technological innovation, which has upgraded the R & D platform and R & D efficiency of construction machinery enterprises as a whole, and established a greener, lower carbon and more efficient R & D system.




The third is the end-to-end agile software R & D system scheme. With the electrification of construction machinery products and the integration of more and more ICT technologies, agile oriented software R & D, software and hardware integration, cloud deployment and remote operation and maintenance of software, and the combination of software R & D and digital twins have become an important direction of intelligent product design of construction machinery. On the one hand, on the basis of waterfall R & D, for agile R & D, reorganize data such as demand, development, code and test, and build an agile process system to support agile software R & D; On the other hand, combine software R & D with digital mainline and digital twin, realize end-to-end management of software R & D, filling, operation and maintenance through digital mainline, and return the data in the process of using software to the research and development end through digital twin, so as to continuously iterate and optimize the software.




PTC Windchill PLM platform supports the realization of agile software R & D system as a whole. The integrity software application life cycle solution integrated into Windchill platform has greatly improved the productivity and efficiency of software R & D and software hardware integration. The product digital mainline platform and digital twin based on PTC thingworx can connect all stages of the software life cycle to form a complete connection of the data chain, So as to optimize the software continuously.




Generally speaking, during the "14th five year plan" period, China's construction machinery industry as a whole entered the stage of reducing costs and increasing efficiency and seeking benefits from R & D innovation. As a whole, it needs to make up lessons in R & D, learn from international leading enterprises, establish a complete R & D system, and then integrate ESG strategy into the R & D system to create a highly competitive intelligent product system for long-term sustainable development, Finally, a brand-new brand image of Chinese construction machinery will be established in the "double cycle" of international market and domestic market. Heavy equipment enterprises such as tobacco machinery, coal machinery, textile machinery, agricultural machinery and machine tools can share R & D and innovation dividends from the ESG product R & D practice of construction machinery, so as to promote the development of China's heavy equipment as a whole

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