Date:
19. October 2022
Reading time: minutes

Cloud-based MES – vision or reality?

Many manufacturing companies are faced with the challenge of having to adapt to new customer and market requirements in shorter and shorter periods of time. This often means they have to develop new solutions and produce cost-effectively at the same time. So what is the best way to do this?

 Cloud-based MES

Cloud-based MES order management?

The key to success is transparency and automated data management in real time. Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are one way to achieve this. They act as a link between the planning and production levels and ensure increased efficiency in the processes. But what exactly is an MES system, how can companies benefit, and what if we could control MES directly from the cloud instead of local data center? Is that just a dream of the future or already reality?

What is an MES system?

A manufacturing execution system, or MES, is a comprehensive, dynamic software system that monitors, tracks, documents, and controls the process of manufacturing goods from raw materials to finished products. Providing a functional layer between enterprise resource planning (ERP) and process control systems, an MES gives decision-makers the data they need to make the plant floor more efficient and optimize production. MES is typically directly connected to the production and as a result, it enables the management, control and monitoring of the production in real time. This includes classic data collection and processing such as production data collection, machine data collection and personnel data collection, but also all other processes related information that have a real-time impact on the manufacturing/ production process.

Differences between MES and ERP

The reason for the separation between ERP and MES are the different business and technical requirements as well as typical cycle times for the revision of an existing planning schedule. While an ERP manages the entire company, an MES observes one local production line at a time. In addition, it records technical parameters that are typically out of scope for an ERP. In this sense, MES are the executive arm of an ERP.

What are the tasks of an MES?

Process data acquisition (PDA)

PDA data refer to the machine. They are made available at any time, regardless of whether the machine is producing or not. The trigger can be an alarm or change of state.

Interlock

The interlock is triggered by the product to be produced, which is in front of the machine or has been newly loaded. The purpose of the interlock is to ensure that all parameters are correctly set by the machine before production/machining is started.

Traceability

Traceability forms the conclusion of the processing of a product; in this data the process parameters and the processed materials are stored.

Advantages of an MES system

What benefits can be achieved through MES systems?

  • Increase efficiency in production:
    MES makes it possible to significantly increase production efficiency and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) through transparency and real-time analyses. The basis for this is formed by large volumes of data based on the factors of performance, plant availability and quality.

  • Increase quality:
    Real-time quality data collection and digitally recorded error sources can significantly increase quality in production and prevent losses. Thus, the unnecessary consumption of resources is spared and serious errors can be easily identified and prevented.

  • Reduce inventory:
    Automated messages from the MES to the ERP provide information about the quantities to be produced, losses and rejects and enable optimization of the inventory as well as cross-departmental transparency for logistics, purchasing or administration departments, for example. This means that every department knows at all times which material is still needed and how the current production process is proceeding.

  • Reduce paper in manufacturing:
    With MES systems, pen and paper can be eliminated for any work steps and activities. Digital worker management enables paperless processing of production orders in virtuo and provides coupling with manufacturing equipment as an option.

  • Creating production life records and tracing processes:
    A production lifecycle record uses the data available in the MES to document all relevant parameters, such as processing time, quality values and machine data. In this way, processes can also be traced and analyzed retrospectively, and important data can be used.

Challenges for MES systems in the future!

For decades, the maintenance and operation of an MES in factories has classically been carried out in the customer's own data center. This meant significant investment costs, internal IT and maintenance costs – a major problem for many small and medium-sized companies. In order to remain competitive in the Industry 4.0 era, something has to be done! One solution can be cloud-based MES instead of using local data center. In this way the order processing can conveniently be managed digitally. With cloud solutions factories can quickly collect, compare, and manage production data - without having to set up and maintain an internal IT infrastructure.

MES-as-a-Service

A cloud-based a as-a-service product has the advantage that needs (key figures, monitoring, notifications) can be met immediately and the user is able to act straight away. Cloud-based solutions require hardly any IT infrastructure or complex IT administration. Production data can be consolidated and used to identify and intervene in quality problems, for example. In this way, companies can future-prove their production and are able to act and change quickly. The data can be transmitted to the data center via a secure connection and is available in real time and worldwide.

Generally, such solutions require hardly any investment. Cloud-based solutions can be subscribed monthly, yearly etc. They automatically include services such as updates and maintenance. And they can be expanded or reduced as needed.

App recommendation

Cloud solution from Symestic

With Symestic's cloud solution, OEE and other key figures for production, plants and workers can be made available and evaluated quickly. Users get an overview of their production within a short time. Machines and plants can be connected. Data acquisition and data exchange with other systems can be automated. Key figures make it possible to identify deviations from targets or potential sources of interference. They are the basis for professional shopfloor management and a continuous improvement process around productivity, quality, personnel deployment and adherence to schedules. Currently, Symestic offers 4 solutions through ADAMOS for this purpose:

  1. Process data
    Digital processing, analysis and monitoring of process values to ensure a smooth process.
    Process data in the ADAMOS STORE
  2. Production metrics
    Automatically capture production metrics, identify improvement potential and reduce costs.
    Production metrics in the ADAMOS STORE
  3. Production control
    Ensure error-free production, minimize throughput times and increase on-time delivery and delivery capability.
    Production control in the ADAMOS STORE
  4. Alarms
    Early detection of downtime causes and correlations between product problems, downtime and processes.
    Alarms in the ADAMOS STORE

App recommendation

planeus – Your Production Planning Solution

An ideal complement to the MES solutions from Symestic is the software from planeus: With the intuitive, digital production planning software, you have the possibility to plan orders as well as employees & machines, get a 360-degree view of production, react specifically to conflicts & disruptions and organize all processes in production. planeus thus creates more transparency and efficient collaboration in production.

planeus - Your Production Planning Solution




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