When Solar Impulse 2, a completely solar-powered airplane, took off from Abu Dhabi on its record-breaking around-the-world flight in 2015, it featured a wing design optimised using Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software. Engineers building Solar Impulse 2 used the software to quickly determine how best to minimise the plane’s weight, while ensuring it could handle the rigors of this first-of-a-kind flight.
The same technology was used to send the Curiosity Mars rover into space, and now, Siemens is making this software available to more than 40,000 university students across four countries in the Middle East.
Through licensing grants valued at $420 million, the software is now available for use by students at ten universities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and soon Iraq. The students are using the software as part of their studies to learn about, and train on, technology that represents the cutting edge of digitalisation.
“The world is changing rapidly through technology, and we need to equip our future generations with the necessary capabilities and tools to make things faster, cheaper, and better,” said Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, at the time the grant was announced.
The PLM software allows state-of-the-art product design, simulation, analysis, manufacturing, and product data management and lifecycle support. The software makes it efficient and cost effective to manage this information throughout the entire lifecycle of a product – from ideation, design, and manufacturing to service and disposal.
By integrating data, processes, business systems, and ultimately people in an extended digital environment, PLM opens new opportunities for innovation and efficiency. For example, the software makes it possible to test new products and even new production lines through a virtual digital twin, eliminating or reducing the need for physical prototyping.
With new generations of Middle Eastern engineers and technicians fluent in Industry 4.0 software such as PLM, the region can more quickly and effectively diversify its economies.
Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, affirmed this when the grants were announced in the UAE: “As the UAE transitions to a competitive knowledge economy, building the skills of the future among UAE nationals is a top priority.”
By collaborating with universities and ministries, Siemens is working to bridge the gap between industry and academia, creating a dialog that can build a greater understanding among K-12 schools, vocational schools, and universities regarding the types of skills and qualifications that businesses and industries require.
From regional classrooms to high in the skies, and as far away as the planet Mars, Siemens PLM software is supporting pioneers in their pursuit of new frontiers. Young people across the Middle East are ‘learning by doing’ on PLM software, as they use digitalisation to design, manufacture, and create a new future for their countries and the region as a whole.
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