When done wrongly, it is one of the most expensive, confusing, distracting, valueless wastes of time that manufacturing is ever required to do, but when done properly, it can be the one thing that saves the life of a manufacturing business, which can happen in several different ways. Traceability, in this new age of digital manufacturing, has never been so inexpensive, and with the recently increasing ingress of counterfeit materials, never more important.
Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) have been available on the market for quite some time now and for buyers at any stage of research, there are literally hundreds of MES options to consider. As the term “MES” tends to cover a very broad range of capabilities, it’s unlikely to find any two solutions that will offer the exact scope of functionality. This is especially true within just the last few years, given the rapid progress of digital technologies related to “Smart Factory” or “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIOT) initiatives. It’s therefore crucial for you to understand the basic principles behind MES so that it can be put to work for your organization’s requirements, instead of the other way around.
In this three-part blog series, we’ll break down the fundamentals concepts of MES so that regardless of where you’re at with your research, you’ll be equipped with some new tips and principles to incorporate into your knowledge base.
By now, we are all familiar with the concept of Industry 4.0, a popular business model that enables manufacturers to become faster, more efficient, and more flexible to respond to inevitable market changes. While traditional approaches to factory automation continue to be successful, they are often focused on specific production operations, leaving the critical operational level decision unaddressed or at best, open to interpretation. If we don’t get to it soon, someone else (or something else) will do it for us, and it may not be a human.
Many software systems in use in manufacturing today are holding the business to ransom. Well-meaning, mainly internally developed software utilities, have established a critical dependency on themselves. It appears that manufacturing could not work without these systems, yet on the flip-side, the operation also cannot easily progress to the next level of digital manufacturing. What does it take to acknowledge the past value and contribution of these systems, but now be able to break free and move on to the next generation of digital manufacturing tools?
Even for industry-leading manufacturers, making the move from manual processes towards a “digital transformation” is not without its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles is deciphering what YOUR organization’s Industry 4.0 journey looks like, unique to your own industry, customers, and manufacturing blueprint. Ultimately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for embarking on the Industry 4.0 journey, but there ARE a few common in-roads to achieve sustained success.
In this blog post we’ll cover four potential starting points to jump start your efforts. Keep in mind that each of these key elements of digital innovation—IIoT connectivity, smart applications, and advanced analytics—will eventually play a critical role in your factory. Regardless of where you choose to begin, this framework is meant to create an architecture into which you can implement small projects.
It is not just making nice cars that the Germans are good at, trade shows are also up there. Being an even numbered year, there is no Productronica, which means the smaller SMT Hybrid Packaging show, taking place in Nuremberg from the 5th to the 7th of June, takes the strain as the focus of attention for technology and innovation in the electronics assembly manufacturing market. So, with only six months since the last Productronica show in Munich, how much new stuff to look out for can there be?
Today’s shop floor is a highly-complex, continually-shifting environment. A recent study by Aberdeen Group polled today’s best-in-class manufacturers and found that the top reported pressures of modern manufacturing include:
• Differentiation while still improving quality (39%)
• The flexibly to respond to business demands (36%)
• Compliance with current and future industry regulations (27%)
While an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can solve challenges in areas such as capacity planning, inventory management, and business financials, today’s manufacturing environment requires much more than an ERP system alone — more flexibility, more data, and more connectivity.
With companies like Microsoft promoting their HoloLens for design and manufacturing environments, Augmented Reality (AR) is finding its way into today’s factory, promising value through increased visibility. But what AR concepts are already being applied today, delivering measurable value for the operator, the manufacturer, and the end customer?
Every aerospace manufacturing organization needs a quality system. The differentiator is how readily one can react to a non-conformance and how frequently report their quality metrics. In absence of MES, reporting is purely historical and is often available too late to take action on its findings. MES enables non-conformances to be addressed in the present and minimize their potential impact.