Simone di Piazza: We are very proud of the skills of our employees, in design as well as production. With digitalization we want to make design and production more efficient. Digitalization supports the workers in doing their jobs even better.
Ducati: Digital from the very beginning
The “Ducatisti,” the passionate fans of Italian motorbikes from Bologna, expect new products and new functionalities every season. And the company can guarantee this – primarily by using solutions from Siemens PLM Software NX and Teamcenter in its development process. Simone di Piazza, Vehicle Design and R&D Services Manager at Ducati, on concurrent engineering, co-design with the company’s suppliers, and why digitalization goes well with Italian handcraft.
Signore di Piazza, digitalization at Ducati, which is known for high-valuable handcrafted motorcycles: How does that work?
What aspects of development and manufacturing are already digitalized at Ducati?
Simone di Piazza: In development we use 3D models right from the start of the development of a new bike or for product updates. We also use software for virtual testing and tooling in the manufacture of all parts of our bikes.
What’s the benefit of digital development?
Di Piazza: It’s simply this: reduced development time and costs. We are far more efficient because we can avoid making mistakes and we don’t need any reworking. We managed to reduce the design and development cycle for new motorbikes from an average of 36 to 40 months to just 24 months, thanks for the most part to the tools NX and Teamcenter. The software also allows us to do concurrent engineering. All designers work simultaneously on the same bike and can design all the technical parts of the bike, taking into account all possible constraints.
How do you integrate the design of parts that are developed externally?
Di Piazza: We do a lot of co-design with our suppliers. In this relationship we are the experts on the application and the external designers are the experts on their technology or material. We work together to realize the best possible performance for each part of the bike.
Our aim is to be better and better connected with each other – to work together not only physically but also digitally. The Siemens software makes all 3D models in our archives available so that all designers can interact with each other digitally. This is especially useful because many of our suppliers are located outside of Italy.
Is all testing done in the virtual world?
Di Piazza: No, although we test all functionalities of a bike on the screen, we finalize our development process in the real world. We do tests on the track, the road, long-mileage tests, simulating all kinds of environmental conditions and applications that can be done with a bike. Still, we are much more efficient and save a lot of time by testing digitally as well as in the real world.
How do your customers, the “Ducatisti,” benefit from digitalization at Ducati?
Di Piazza: Despite the high complexity of our products, we manage the development of upgrades and completely new bikes in a very efficient way. Every year, each product family is at least partially renewed. Our customers can look forward to a new season when we will offer them new bikes, new functionalities, and new values.