Why has Siemens entered the EDA space? How do Siemens PLM and Mentor Graphics complement each other? Do customers see a benefit? Has it been a success? This post analyzes how Mentor Graphics fits into the Siemens PLM’s portfolio and the strategy for the combined company. This segment is a continuation of our perspective on the Siemens PLM strategy toward digital innovation.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Siemens made a significant acquisition last year by acquiring Mentor Graphics for EDA (Electronic Design Automation). This is an exciting move. Mentor is a large software vendor on their own, and they’re much more than just an ECAD company. They define EDA as critical electronic design and verification software used to create the world’s electronic systems. Mentor has a suite of tools that spans from design, into manufacturing execution, much the same way as Siemens traditionally offers the combination of design and digital manufacturing solutions. They have solutions for such domains as systems development, simulation and test, embedded software development and IoT as well as offerings tailored for the automotive industry.
Mentor Graphics has become part of the Siemens Digital Factory division. With the addition of Mentor, Siemens PLM can now design and simulate electronic systems much more completely. As Tony Hemmelgarn, Siemens PLM President and CEO explains about the acquisition, “We had model-based design, but we lacked the electrical side. Now our MBSE support is more complete.” The design for manufacturing capabilities that were previously acquired by Mentor in the Valor acquisition are also complementary and further strengthen Siemens’s PLM and Manufacturing vision.
As the organizations come together, they are exploring ways they can work together, and they see many opportunities. As Tony Hemmelgarn stated, “With product complexity and the rise in software in electronics, it becomes a lot more difficult to validate, prove and build a product with the tools in place today.“
With the acquisition of Mentor Graphics, Siemens PLM is looking to solve that challenge with integrated solutions. Tony adds, “Customers are very excited about this integration. They are excited about the potential we bring and the integration that we can deliver to their product design and manufacturing processes. This has led to very good growth in this first year.” Wally Rhines, President and CEO of Mentor, elaborates on that growth, “[Customer] feedback has been tremendous, and this is reflected not only in their enthusiasm, but this year has been an all-time record for Mentor.“
Siemens PLM and Mentor believe that as a combined company, they can bring customers better solutions, and deliver them faster than they could have on their own. There are lots of reasons customers should be excited. Traditionally, when developing products with electronics, engineers waste much time translating data across different domains. Collaboration across engineering disciplines is challenging. Also, it is all but impossible to get a complete, verifiable digital model of the product. Consequently, it is hard to validate requirements early on. Time to market pressures are too great to lose valuable time on tedious tasks. Finding and correcting problems late in the game further wastes time. An integrated solution that breaks down those silos across disciplines will go a long way to resolve these challenges.
There is much more to say, but it’s more than we can cover here, as Mentor was a very large business on its own. We should elaborate on integration, though, given Siemens PLM’s focus on a holistic solution. We expect to see a continuous integration of the synergies between Mentor and the rest of Siemens PLM, and perhaps other areas in Siemens. They have a head start because they’re not learning about each other for the first time. The companies were already partners with many joint customers.
With the acquisition happening a little over a year ago, customers are already starting to see value. The companies have integrated the Siemens CAD products with Mentor’s wire harness and cable design solution. Customers can now do 3D cabling and wire harness routing in their 3D CAD model. Siemens also describes a defense contractor in Europe who was struggling with electronics. Now with the integrated solution, this customer has seen a 30% reduction in quality issues. They’ve also done an integration between Mentor’s PCB business, tying it to Teamcenter.
Beyond the investments in an integrated solution, Siemens PLM also plans to continue the investment into the Mentor Graphics core EDA portfolio. After all, they state the EDA market is growing at a 7% rate. They demonstrated this commitment as they moved forward with acquisitions of Solido, Sarokal Test Systems, and Infolytica Corp last fall to extend Mentor’s offerings.
Beyond solving many key engineering challenges, this acquisition should prove beneficial as manufacturers continue to include more software and electronics in their products, and their products operate in a systems-of-systems environment. Consider how integrated circuits are enabling innovations with new technologies such as:
An integrated Mentor-Siemens solution should facilitate the development of the complete product/system. This should help to enable innovations such as driverless cars, self-aware factory robots (notwithstanding visions of The Terminator), intelligent lawn mowers, and more. With the combined technologies, applications could also enable process improvements. For example, leveraging IoT and analytics to understand what’s happening during integrated circuit production to improve future designs for manufacturability. All of these potential applications span across industries. We may even see information technology companies such as Facebook and Google finding interest in the solutions.
In addition to supporting the development of technologies, by reducing tedious tasks, companies should realize even more value. The integrated solution should also free up more engineering bandwidth, allowing for a greater focus on innovation.
The integration of Mentor Graphics with Siemens PLM solutions will likely play a very important role in the execution of the Siemens PLM vision. It should empower companies to implement cutting-edge technologies in their products while helping to overcome some of the top challenges when developing products containing software and electronics.
You can read more about our thoughts on Siemens PLM strategy here: