Quickies: Mensch und Maschine on digital twins for machining — and have pie for Pi Day

Mar 14, 2024 | Hot Topics

Last month, at the start of earnings season in our PLMish world, Germany’s Mensch und Maschine (MuM) released preliminary figures for 2023 that showed solid business execution, even as Autodesk fiddles with its pricing and changes how buyers will work with it and its reseller partners. Today, we see the final figures.

For 2023, “despite inflationary headwinds and high volatility in the Autodesk business,” MuM total revenue was up 1% as reported; Autodesk-related reseller revenue was down 3% while proprietary software revenue was up 8%. Strict attention to cost management turned that modest revenue growth into a 5% increase in gross profit. I usually don’t tell you about non-revenue disclosures but it matters for the VARs who see their revenue fluctuate due to normal business environment instability — and also because their OEMs change packaging, pricing, discounting and all of the other levers under their control that ripple down to the VARs. MuM, with the cushion of its proprietary business, is weathering these changes well; other VARs that haven’t diversified may not be able to.

MuM does not give revenue guidance but seems optimistic about 2024: “In 2024 we expect +8-12% increase in gross profit and +10-20% to 189-206 [Euro] Cents in EPS. An increase of +20-30 cents to 185-195 [Euro] Cents is planned for the 2024 dividend.” It’s hard to wring out enough costs to meet those targets; the top revenue line has to go up in order to get to these levels.

What I found especially interesting in MuM’s news was the title of its annual report: “Digital twin for CAD/CAM: Virtual machining”. That, to me anyway, is new: machining as a digital twin use case. Most PLM vendors are aiming their digital twin concepts at operations; machining hasn’t really been mentioned.

In the annual report MuM writes there are over 20,000 seats of OPEN MIND products at over 10,000 customers and that customers are increasingly using its Virtual Machining technology to simulate and optimize a machining process, looking for the best machine/setup for the part to be worked — best in terms of machine availability, cost, capability, etc. With hyperMILL VIrtual Machining, “not only are the exact kinematics of the machine tool used, but also the limits of all axes, the clamping device and the entire machining process are simulated … this “Digital Twin” prevents real damage to the very expensive machines with five to seven-digit Euro acquisition costs. hyperMILL VIRTUAL Machining is also used profitably in practice in decision-making processes for the purchase of new machines, in work preparation, for occupancy control of larger machine parks or in cost calculation for contract manufacturers.” Interesting.

And now: Happy Pi Day! I went to college with people who could recite Pi to an incredible number of digits. Humans have calculated it to 62.8 trillion digits — but NASA feels 16 digits is plenty, so we can all stop stressing about this. NASA has some terrific Pi Day activities here. Or you could buy a pizza and practice counting in eighths; celebrate the birthday of Albert Einstein, who was born on March 14, 1879; calculate the circumference of everything near you … Or you can tell some punny math jokes: Why was six afraid of nine? Because seven eight nine. Hah!

The cover image is of the Pi in the Sky II sculpture by Micajah Bienvenu, sourced from photographer Niall Kennedy at https://www.flickr.com/photos/niallkennedy/21582841