Sustainability has become a priority across industries and takes a holistic view of the planet, shifting towards human-friendly products, processes, operations, and services. OEMs and suppliers are committed to pursuing key activities across the entire value chain. According to recent Capgemini research, these activities range from R&D, product usage with lower emissions, and manufacturing operations through to the supply chain.1
We are all aware that sustainability is more than a fleeting trend. Looking at long-term success, any sustainability strategy’s failure or success hinges on two aspects: 1) speed and 2) authenticity. Only those who act fast – quickly and consistently presenting tangible progress on sustainability – will be the ones who appear credible and authentic and from which consumers will buy.2
Our goal with every ESI Live is to showcase these pioneers, make sense of the role and value of Virtual Prototyping, inspire the community with practical success cases, give actionable advice on how to get started, and create new partnerships by connecting engineers and product developers with virtual prototyping natives around the globe.
As each speaker shared the progress their companies are making on their own “mission zero” journeys, the pride they felt was palpable. We saw ways of applying digital technologies that we never imagined before and witnessed tangible results that clearly showcase how our customers are working on implementing sustainable practices (moving towards 100% digital) in product development, manufacturing, and operations – they increasingly rely on numerical reference results from virtual prototypes as opposed to physical testing and real prototypes.
So, what were the key takeaways from ESI Live 2021?
Why can Virtual Prototyping be seen as the backbone of sustainable R&D and product development?
Sustainable manufacturing and operations are additional key areas in achieving ‘mission zero’ for automakers, aircraft, and machine builders. Naran from Tata highlights this reality by sharing cross-industry insights from a recent study on changing environments, attitudes, and practices. The study mentions several activities such as virtual plant and line simulation, tool design and layout engineering, and virtual build and manufacturing engineering, which should be conducted upfront virtually in the development cycle to make sure that production becomes more environmentally friendly. How can you make the right trade-offs between environmentally friendly and performance vs cost and weight savings of new lightweight materials early with confidence? I noted the following examples for how Virtual Prototyping directly addresses this challenge:
The journey towards electrified machinery is well underway with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers reinforcing their R&D efforts and investigating changes in their go-to-market models. However, according to a study from McKinsey, there is a lesson to be learned from executives in the automotive space who are concerned about achieving profitability with electric vehicles. With ROI uncertain, reducing cost and time to market undoubtedly remains a priority. However, what they discovered is that to be profitable, they need to apply additional measures. One specific focus area is R&D excellence, for which Virtual Prototyping is a key enabler to increase efficiency by 15 to 20 percent.3
During the automotive track, we heard an insightful talk from our partners at Deloitte about the seven biggest trends in sustainability in the race to net zero. Automakers need to obtain a better understanding of the carbon footprint by looking at the emissions of the value chain. Process digitalization embracing Digital Reality, the Internet of things, big data and analytics, and artificial intelligence are key to establishing sustainable, data-driven business decisions in the manufacturing and across the supply chain. ESI Live’s moderator, Monica Schnitger from Schnitger Corporation connected to this by emphasizing that “the idea that you can feed all sorts of different data in and use that as a collaboration mechanism is very important.”
This is exactly our focus here at ESI: Empowering our customers to evolve from single-point digital initiatives running at individual sites towards creating a truly chained, digitalized, predictive engineering and manufacturing process across the entire value chain. Particularly for industries that require extensive testing and certification prior to market launch, there is no other efficient and truly sustainable way except to progressively shift towards virtual engineering and prototyping technologies.
ESI Live 2021 has shown once again that all this is not about us being right but rather about our customers getting it right. We thank all our speakers for sharing their amazing stories with us and our extended community of innovators.
In case you missed it, click here to watch ESI Live 2021 on demand.
 https://www.capgemini.com/gb-en/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/Report-The-Automotive-Industry-in-the-Era-of-Sustainability.pdf page 7
 https://www.capgemini.com/de-de/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2021/05/Experten-Interview-Die-Marke-neu-aufladen.pdf page 10/11