The new MES for the challenges of industry 4.0: efficiency and production control

Oct 10

"Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are computerized systems used in manufacturing, to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods. MES provides information that helps manufacturing decision makers understand how current conditions on the plant floor can be optimized to improve production output.[1] MES works in real time to enable the control of multiple elements of the production process (e.g. inputs, personnel, machines and support services)".(Wikipedia)

Originally, this software focused on production operations, data collection, procedure strengthening and optimization. Now they are crucial for the digital business of manufacturing companies, "says the Gartner observatory; The MES is becoming more and more complete. Thanks to technological development, new MES Softwares provide new features such as feedback on the performance of various activities, the tracking of material and data flows, the creation of statistics based on historical data and at the same time the monitoring of data in real-time.

The MESA (Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association) has defined over time a standard called ISA95,

and placed the MES in an intermediate way between the machine level (PLC / SCADA) and the upper level of the ERP. According to the standard, an MES must allow:

• entering all information during production (manually or automatically);

• global display of production orders;

• management of skills and authorizations for people, operators, products or operations;

• to trace the status of the resources associated with the different production units;

• to manage communications with the ERP continuously and efficiently;

• to manage quality (for example through SPC software and NCMS - non-conformance management system)

• performance analysis;

• the management and use of work documents (instructions, design documents)

• predictive maintenance;

To be efficient, an MES must generally be integrated with the various ERPs used by the companies to be able to fit into a production reality without subverting the existing mechanisms and information flows. It must also be able to integrate with all the machines used in production and with all the systems present in the field (PLC, CNC, SCADA, etc.). In this way it can receive and provide all the useful information, making the production process very efficient.

Therefore, Gartner states that the most significant skills for an MES are the ability to analyze, report and measure performance, but other critical elements must be considered when choosing the solution to be adopted. For example, ease of implementation, the ability to optimally insert new software within existing workflows

The Manufacturing Execution System software is the convergence and orchestration point for various data sources because it connects directly to the production machines (through a programmable logic controller or a SCADA system) and can also process the information entered manually by the operators. The software provides a constantly updated photograph on the progress of orders, on material reserves, on the use of resources (people, machinery, goods) and more, transmitting at the same time the data to the ERP system with which they are integrated.

It is clear that on the basis of the information in his possession an MES system allows the optimization of a process, the simulation, the verification in real-time of the results in the different departments to check the production trend and keep under observation the state of the resources generating specific warnings for each defined alert, or providing information on the efficiency of individual machines and the quality of production.

The 2017 Budget Law provides tax benefits for companies interested in introducing MES software into their data collection systems (Industry 4.0 Plan). In this regard, Bee-IoT offers solutions designed for industrial systems for analyzing and collecting data from machines in the company's production facilities, both from a revamping standpoint and from the integration of new plants.

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