Overcoming Challenges With Adaptive Systems and Real-Time Manufacturing Analytics


Deb Geiger, VP Global Marketing, Aegis Software

assembly lines
assembly lines

The manufacturing industry is constantly evolving, and manufacturers know they must adjust to changes in engineering, customer demands, and the market to remain best-of-class. However, the legacy Manufacturing Execution System (MES) can no longer handle the increasing complexity of modern-day production. Inefficient processes and lack of real-time visibility can lead to low productivity, high production costs, increased lead time, and low-quality products.

To address these challenges and improve operational efficiency, an ideal solution for manufacturing process improvement should enable real-time factory awareness of all jobs, materials, machines, people, and processes. This knowledge will empower manufacturers to enhance efficiency throughout their supply chain framework, which is essential because no manufacturing operation fulfills its purpose according to plan every single time. By leveraging solutions that intelligently adapt on-demand, out of the box, manufacturers can ensure they are prepared to handle unexpected needs and maintain their competitive edge.

This blog post will review adaptive manufacturing, discuss the challenges manufacturers face in handling modern-day production, and present solutions for forward-thinking manufacturers that enable real-time factory awareness to drive efficiency throughout the supply chain framework.

The Definition of Adaptive Manufacturing

While the theoretical concept of adaptive manufacturing is not "new," the real-world applicability has not been feasible without some newer technological innovations. Legacy MES solutions are typically rigid and inflexible, making it difficult to adapt quickly to changing demands. Moreover, these systems are often complex and highly customized, requiring significant effort to make even small changes.

Finally, legacy MES solutions were not designed to handle the volume and complexity of data generated by modern manufacturing processes, which makes it difficult to extract actionable insights from the data. In contrast, modern MES solutions are built using advanced technology and architectures to collect, store, and contextualize data in real time, enabling manufacturers to make data-driven decisions and process improvements on the fly quickly and effectively.

Adaptive manufacturing is a manufacturing process that is flexible and agile enough to adapt to changing customer demands, market conditions, and production requirements in real-time. It is a concept that involves leveraging technology and data to optimize the production process, improve efficiency, and increase responsiveness to changes in the market.

Adaptive manufacturing systems are designed to handle complex and varied production processes and changing product designs and customization requirements. They can quickly adjust to changes in the production environment, such as equipment breakdowns or supply chain disruptions, to minimize downtime and maintain optimal production levels.

Overall, adaptive manufacturing enables manufacturers to produce high-quality products and adapt to product variants and personalization needs with greater efficiency, speed, and flexibility while reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction.

Legacy MES solutions cannot handle the reality of today's production. At Aegis, we believe that an MES solution should be able to adapt to any number of unlimited scenarios that a manufacturer may face with ease and without customization, including but not limited to the following:

  • Multiple product changes daily per production line
  • Emergency process switchover
  • Configure to Order products where every piece made is unique
  • Personalized production where the configuration of each product and physical nature and processing of its parts are unique to each customer
  • Adaptability for asset and material conditions
  • MRO operations where the current state is unknown, but the future stated desired is known, and the system must adaptively generate a process to discover and then transform that product on the fly

The Importance of Real-time Manufacturing Analytics in Adaptive Manufacturing

Manufacturers face plenty of challenges: sudden engineering changes, mid-production part swap-out requirements, customer demand conflicts, and fluctuating delivery dates, to name a few. The ability to respond to these changes is crucial for manufacturers to stay competitive, and access to real-time, actionable information is a critical requirement.

Yet, manufacturers' biggest challenge today is achieving accurate and timely awareness through data to fuel that on-demand flexibility. More than simply gathering data is required; it needs to be stored and contextualized in a meaningful manner to provide actionable intelligence.

An MES solution should enable the acquisition, storage, and contextualization of data that delivers insightful information without the need for legions of IT personnel or data scientists. This capability can change the paradigm for manufacturers, making it easy for anyone to ensure that the right information gets to the right person at the right time.

Enabling Real-time Awareness of the Full Manufacturing Process

Adaptive manufacturing requires three crucial data components:

  1. Real-time data acquisition: Manufacturers need to gather data in real time from multiple sources in a standardized way to provide an accurate picture of the manufacturing process.
  2. Real-time data contextualization: The collected data should be stored in a contextualized ontological data model that provides meaningful and actionable intelligence to enable smarter decisions.
  3. Visibility and accessibility: The data must be accessible from anywhere and anytime to enable collaboration across the enterprise without requiring IT skills or data scientists. It must also be visible beyond the shop floor to provide more value to the organization.

The advent of real-time data acquisition, analytics, visibility, and accessibility has made it easy for anyone to ensure that the right information gets to the right people at the right time. Ultimately, the value of real-time data (from the IIoT engine) is critical to all forms of adaptability. An MES cannot adapt to production and materials changes nor to product content and configuration changes if it doesn't have access to every real-time variable from ERP and from the process, materials, and assets on the floor.

FactoryLogix: Cutting-Edge Adaptive Manufacturing & Manufacturing Intelligence

FactoryLogix is built with cutting-edge adaptive manufacturing and manufacturing intelligence capabilities that arm manufacturers with the out-of-the-box ability to effortlessly handle emergency process switchovers, personalized production, MRO operations, and other real-world scenarios. FactoryLogix can handle these situations without needing heavily customized software, which was previously the only way to achieve efficiency in these contexts.

The following are just three benefits that make FactoryLogix the right choice for successful manufacturers.

1. Real-time data acquisition and processing.

The key to making data from all data sources make sense is contextualizing it by combining it with other relevant information, such as production schedules, maintenance logs, quality control records, or operator feedback. By doing so, it is possible to identify patterns, correlations, or causality relationships that could help optimize the manufacturing process, reduce downtime, improve quality, or increase efficiency.

The FactoryLogix platform collects and contextualizes data from multiple sources in real-time, ensuring that all relevant data is available for analysis. This contextualization enables users to make informed decisions quickly and efficiently, reducing downtime and increasing efficiency.

2. Designed for analytics.

The FactoryLogix platform has been designed with analytics in mind, making it easy for anyone to build, view, and interact with data in a relevant manner. It provides real-time dashboards, configurable reports, and even mobile apps to empower people in operations.

3. Increased flexibility.

FactoryLogix is inherently flexible and capable of handling a range of real-world scenarios, including emergency process switchovers, personalized production, and MRO operations. It is designed to handle constant change and can adapt quickly and easily to new challenges without needing customization.

FactoryLogix is leading the way in cutting-edge adaptive manufacturing, democratizing production personalization and empowering manufacturers to handle a range of real-world scenarios. With analytics capabilities, flexibility, and real-time data acquisition and processing, our adaptive system is the ideal platform for manufacturers looking to achieve true awareness of their full manufacturing process.

To learn more about how to improve operational efficiency in manufacturing or get started with FactoryLogix, contact us today!

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