Siemens invests €1bn in industrial metaverse in Germany

Siemens to invest €1 billion in Germany and create blueprint for industrial metaverse in Nuremberg metropolitan region
Sheila Zabeu -

August 10, 2023

Siemens plans to invest around €1bn in Germany to bolster technological innovation in the country. Among the initiatives, the company will create a new Technology Campus in the city of Erlangen, with investments of around €500 million in expanding development and manufacturing capacity. With this, it is considering establishing the location as the company’s global Research and Development (R&D) centre and hub for activities focused on the industrial metaverse.

These investments are part of a global strategy worth €2 billion, announced last June and focused mainly on manufacturing resources, innovation labs and educational centers.

With around 3,500 employees, Erlangen is already home to a factory for industrial automation and digitalization products. Manufacturing at this location is highly automated, with people and robots working side by side. With this latest investment, Siemens will create an industrial metaverse project, i.e. a virtual representation produced in real time. The expectation is that the application of relevant data and Artificial Intelligence will make it possible to maintain a high-tech manufacturing environment that is more sustainable and able to respond flexibly to market changes.

“Siemens is betting on German innovation and launching the new stage of digitalization with the foundations for the industrial metaverse in the Nuremberg metropolitan region. On the new campus, we will combine the real and digital worlds. And together with partners, we are developing new digital technologies in the metaverse and revolutionizing how we will run our production in the future – with much greater efficiency, flexibility and sustainability,” says Roland Busch, President, and CEO of Siemens AG.

This campus will focus on sustainable high-tech manufacturing, R&D activities and opening a place for the ecosystem of partners from the scientific and business communities. The plan also foresees the conversion of existing facilities and the expansion of the site.

Before construction starts, the new buildings for R&D, production, and logistics will be planned and simulated in the digital world and subsequently implemented in the real world. An exact replica will be created in the digital world, in which the entire existing factory layout will be optimized and subsequently adjusted in the real world using the industrial metaverse. The Erlangen plant produces electronic components and machine controls and tools for the machine manufacturing industry, which are important elements of Germany’s economy and industry.

Siemens says the city of Erlangen will become a center for digital production concepts through the use of the industrial metaverse and modern technologies such as industrial 3D printing and innovative power electronics. In addition, employees will enhance their skills based on future-oriented work and training concepts (NextWork), not only to prepare for the digital transformation of the world of work, but also to actively shape it.

The expansion of the facility in Erlangen will be based on concepts of sustainability and energy consumption. An area of around 200,000 square metres is being designed to be net-zero and meet the highest sustainability criteria. Plans include an innovative energy infrastructure, sustainable energy sources and storage, and Siemens’ own sustainable digital building technology solutions.

Siemens’ global investment strategy valued at around €2bn includes regions such as the United States, China and Southeast Asia. In early July, the company announced a project involving the construction of a new headquarters in Spain with an investment volume of €160m.

Partnership with NVidia

An important partner of Siemens in this industrial metaverse project is NVidia, which has great relevance in the graphics acceleration and Artificial Intelligence (AI) segments. The two companies announced in June 2022 the expansion of their partnership to take industrial automation to a new level.

The first goal of the co-operation was to connect Siemens Xcelerator, the digital business platform, and NVidia Omniverse, the platform for 3D design and collaboration, to facilitate the creation of the industrial metaverse with Siemens’ physics-based digital models and NVidia’s real-time AI capabilities.

This will accelerate the use of digital twins and improve productivity and production processes. Companies of all sizes will be able to employ digital twins with real-time performance data, create innovative industrial IoT solutions, rely on edge or cloud-based analytics, and more easily run immersive simulations.

“Physics-based photorealistic digital twins embedded in the industrial metaverse offer enormous potential to transform economies and industries through a virtual world in which people can interact and collaborate to solve real problems. With this partnership, we will make the industrial metaverse a reality for companies of all sizes,” says Busch. He adds that the connection between Siemens Xcelerator and NVidia Omniverse will deliver an immersive, real-time metaverse that unites hardware and software, from the edge to the cloud.

What is the industrial metaverse?

The industrial metaverse will be a place to collaborate, experiment and interact with the digital twin of machines, from individual products to entire factories, buildings, cities, networks, and transport systems.

In this digital realist environment, people can:

  • visualise the digital twin and gain new insights;
  • meet in real time to work collaboratively on the digital twin;
  • continuously simulate, evaluate and forecast different scenarios;
  • and monitor, analyse and manage the real assets connected to the digital twin.

The industrial metaverse emerges from the convergence of different technologies. By linking various representations of the digital twins, companies will build the backbone of the industrial metaverse, supported by technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and edge and cloud computing.

By the end of this decade, the industrial metaverse is expected to be a $100bn market, which will grow faster than the consumer and enterprise metaverse combined. But even more importantly, it will be one of the biggest forces driving sustainability and the digital transformation of entire companies and industries.

This digital world has the potential to create new heights of productivity, innovation and sustainability. These are some of the key use cases for industries:

  • Accelerating innovation: a wide range of scenarios can be tested virtually, resulting in faster new product development faster development of new products, more efficient design of new facilities and early integration of circular economy principles into product and facility design.
  • Improved design and engineering: interactive collaboration will involve all stakeholders, enabling better and faster product development and market entry. Simulations facilitate risk-free iterations, empowering everyone to contribute as inventors or experts – from design to operation and recycling.
  • Improving operations: By simulating a factory or other workplace, team members can analyse and continuously analyse and improve operations, without interrupting production.
  • Access to talent and training: the industrial metaverse offers remote access to specialised skills and virtual training, overcoming geographical limitations. It promotes skills development, supports training in diverse settings and addresses labour shortages in an ageing society.
  • Enabling sustainability: an energy-efficient metaverse powered by renewable sources will help businesses become more sustainable by enabling smarter and faster decision-making, integrating circular economy principles into design and operation, and improving energy and resource efficiency.