Manufacturing Execution System

Examine, enhance and oversee realistic assembly line functions

Introduction

1. Sketch of MES

The first huge computers, known as mainframes, developed in the 1940s and only implemented in traditional businesses in the 1950s and 1960s, marked the beginning of the use of computerized systems to support production operations. Originally connected to the accounting and finance departments, these techniques were then extended to other business units, mainly manufacturing, first in cost and inventory analysis, then in planning and control.  

In recent years, a wide range of systems has emerged in support of the industry. It entails Material Requirements Planning – MRP, which is also known as Materials Needs Planning, and the next one is Manufacturing Resources Planning – MRP II, which is otherwise called as Production Resources Planning.

It subsumes a software system known as Manufacturing Execution System (MES) which connects, monitors, and regulates the production of items from the stage of natural resources to manufactured commodities. It gives decision-makers the insights they need to improve the productivity and efficiency of their assembly lines.

A huddle of software developers, consultants, and solution integrators of the company named AMR Research coined the term “Manufacturing Execution System” (MES) when they created the ‘Manufacturing Execution Systems Association’ (MESA), which is referred to as Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association, at present. A cohort of software features that dwell between Material Resource Planning (MRP) / Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and factory control systems were first referred to as “Manufacturing Execution Systems” in the year 1990. On the floor of a production site, an MES enables information to be transferred to and fro between an MRP/ERP system, programming logic controllers, distribution systems, and oversight centralized control acquisition systems.

An MES connects a variety of systems and operations, such as raw material processing, corporate information systems, quality assurance, training documentation, standard operating instructions for controlling production machinery, and plant maintenance. Information on demand forecasts, transactions of commodities, designs, resource availability, process plans, work procedures, assembly steps, production process plans, standard operating procedures, natural resources, and inventories are received by the MES from the Material Resource Planning (MRP) / Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

An MES accomplishes all the tasks associated with MRP and MRP II. In other words, it unites production planning and control by gathering data on production variables in real time online, manually, or directly from equipment like scales, bar code scanners, and other devices. It then interprets this data into a production execution plan that takes into account the situation on the factory floor.

Manufacturers need to comprehend how to increase efficiency to have a competitive advantage in today’s international market. In essence, they need to produce more using fewer resources, and a manufacturing execution system (MES) can facilitate them in doing so.

Making sure that manufacturing procedures are successfully carried out in order to increase production output is the overarching purpose of MES. By monitoring and compiling precise data in real time about the whole product lifecycle, this objective is accomplished.

The production process has caused the information to flow via this system. As a result, it is conceivable for this technology to boost both profitability and overall productivity. In today’s competitive and continuously evolving production world, an MES is necessary to promote optimal performance.

With the aid of a manufacturing execution system, random errors in the manufacturing process can be completely eliminated. The ability to explore quality data in real time, monitor yields, and automatically enforce business rules and standards makes it possible.

Additionally, Manufacturing Execution Systems offer the real time input required to detect swiftly and address problems for ongoing product and process improvement and manufacturing process optimization.

2. Significance of MES

Throughout the manufacturing lifecycle, MES software aids firms in overcoming difficult obstacles and optimizing operations through data analysis.

To assist manufacturers in anticipating and maximizing any issues or faults, an MES system, for instance, gathers and analyses real time data from machines, processes, and activities. A variety of industries, such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals, make use of MES software, to adhere to industry standards and regulations.

By monitoring production environment operations and recommending improvements in real time, MES systems enable factory floor workers to take the proper action at the appropriate moment. Manufacturers also evaluate operator productivity, material efficiency, and industrial equipment consumption using MES platforms.

During production planning, MES communicates with the inventory management, quality control, and documentation systems as well as with the machine control system at the factory. Typical functions of MES include work order submission, work order tracking, capacity planning, reporting, and Statistical Process Control (SPC). The MES transmits machine parameters and settings to the machine controller and receives real time information on job and process status.

On the store floor, MES sends electronic work instructions to guide the workforce and equipment through procedures and confirm that workers are taking the necessary actions. The significance of MES in industries can be attributed to all these characteristics.

Executive Functions of MES

 

Using a worldwide network of leading software partners, Engineering’s team of professionals develops and deploys standard and custom MES systems for both procedure and specific industry customers. The majority of successful factory performance solutions consist of the following standardization of functionalities, even if each has slightly different needs.

1. Accumulation of data

During production, providing a manual or automatic input method for all information is essential. Monitor and gather real time data about procedures, commodities, and workflows and utilize it to inform choices and boost productivity. Implement the data whenever you desire to start a new project or update an existing one.

2. Process intendance

Process routing and operational sequencing are integral to consistent production, but it is impossible without full production traceability. From order release to finished items, handle the entire supply chain. Gain knowledge of quality-affecting bottlenecks and spots while establishing complete production traceability.

3. Manipulation of quality

For a better quality management systems and documentation, keep track of quality aberrations and exclusions and incorporate them all right into the MES system. Having control over the quality of production units and processes is also essential. Peripheral software, such as Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Non-Conformance Management System (NCMS), or the MES program itself can be used for this function.

Great technologies emerged in the course of the third industrial revolution. The process of production becomes automated without the entanglement of a human being. Technologies that were once analog are now converted into digital format.

Inventions formed in the digital revolution :

The discovery of “Nuclear” for the first time took place during the revolution. The internet has integrated into our daily lives. Fabrication of the internet was at the time of this revolution. Advancements in telecommunications were there at that time. There was a development in transportation. ‘Robots’ entered the world in this course of time.

This revolution marks the very beginning of computer technologies. Electronics, as well as telecommunications, came into existence. So it is also termed as “Digital Revolution”.

All these inventions made it possible for research, space expeditions, and biotechnology. Partial automation also emerged during this revolution.

4. Performance scrutiny

In order to discover operational pros and cons and improve system efficiency, contrast the outcomes with objectives.The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and statistics will help you determine whether the production process is effective and where it needs to be improved.The key performance indicators, such as Right First Time (RFT), Rework, Scrap, Process Capability (Cpk), Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), Opportunities, etc., are calculated by combining data.

It also permits them to grasp immediate data. This data helps them to speed up their productivity and improve their process. This leads to further growth.

Inventions during the Fourth Industrial Revolution :

Light bulbs, cars, and cell phones came into origin only during this revolution. ‘Smart Sensors’ remain an important invention that emerged during this era. Internet of Things, Smart Manufacturing, and Artificial Intelligence are new technological innovations. These innovations are a major part of this fourth industrial revolution.

This is how the bud Industry 4.0 or fourth industrial revolution blossomed.

The advent of new digital technologies makes life easier. It has also become a significant part of our day-to-day life. These advanced technologies have the ability to give birth to many new jobs.

Further let us see in detail about the technologies that serves as a backbone of Industry 4.0, motif, challenges in implementing and its solutions, benefits, the changes made by it, Industry 4.0 in worldwide context, the application of Industry 4.0 in diversified sectors.

5. Document management

When necessary, provide operators with access to crucial process papers, such as instructions, plans, drawings, and updates; impose limitations on production if materials are not checked.

6. Scheduling

By planning, timing, and organizing tasks according to priorities and available resources, it is feasible to maximize performance. Enabling all employees to view work schedule and sequencing, to ensure that each individual is on the same path and therefore preventing misunderstandings and operational blunders.

7. Sustentation

Utilize information from the MES to predict possible equipment problems and modify the machinery, tools, and machine maintenance programs to decrease downtime and boost productivity. To minimize the effect on manufacturing, organize preventive maintenance operations more effectively.

8. Governance over labour

Effectively monitor all skills or authorizations the people, products, or operations may need. Make sure that the appropriate individuals are in the correct locations by knowing and monitoring the talents and permissions of the workforce.

9. Resource super intendance

Specify every commodity used to create the production line, like production tools, machines, breakdowns, material shortage, etc., and keep a record of its state.

10. Consigning production unit

Control the real time, two-way transmission of production input between the workplace and the ERP. This guarantees that production data is constantly precise, reliable, and current.

11. Tracking of product

Sort final components or batches according to all the manufacturing information that applies to them, from the raw materials to the component assembly. Manufacturers who have to go by rules set forth by the government or the industry can particularly benefit from this information.

Profits of using MES

The following are the benefits attained by making use of the manufacturing execution system.

1. Ensure a paperless sales floor

MES helps to track labour costs, wastage, service interruptions, and retention in real time on the production floor. In the absence of paper notes, it is feasible for the management to analyse unsuccessful marketing strategies and forecast future prices. Due to the fact that MES can share data among other systems, any organization can boost productivity through MES across all of its production sites.

2. Cut down on waste, scrap and overages

Accurate analysation of production processes as well as final goods are enabled by the MES. Consequently, the system alerts the shop floor to discrepancies and prevents them from occurring, thereby reducing the number of lost materials and defective goods.

3. Dwindle downtime

MES produces a schedule for a realistic production process. It is done through continuous tracking of the inventory of parts and raw materials. It helps in the reduction of time required to adjust schedules while delivering the parts. In order to utilize all of the available personnel effectively, employee scheduling helps a lot.

4. Deplete costs

Operations can be streamlined after achieving a better understanding of the products, time, and labour needed for the execution of the task. Over time, this procedure is used to bring about a reduction in order. Releasing the workforce from managing the production lines and inventory is also possible by making use of this procedure gradually.

5. Shrinks stockpile

Keeping excess goods in storage costs money. In addition to the costs of producing surplus items, the storage, transportation, and tracking of these products also add up. Inventory levels will be continuously updated by MES as new products and materials are created. This means that the purchasing, shipping, and planning departments know what is in stock at each plant and what needs to be ordered.

6. Quality amelioration

Amelioration in the quality of the product and implementation of creative designs.

MES – versatile and standard system

1. Growth of MES standards

The International Society of Automation (ISA), which developed the ISA-95 standard in the late 1990s, recognized the need for consistent terminology and an information model to characterize as well as incorporate the operations between organization and control mechanisms. The MESA-11 model is centered on core MES functions. ISA-95 facilitates efficient interaction between stakeholders, including suppliers and producers, by standardizing terminology. Additionally, when combining manufacturing locations with business systems, standardized designs lower the risk of error.

In a bid to establish different layers of business processes and technology processes, ISA-95 describes the interconnection between control and administrative functions. Manufacturing execution systems are positioned at level three of that hierarchy, between business planning and logistics, and above process control systems.  

 Business planning and logistics at Level 4 – ERP

 Manufacturing operations management at level 3 – MES

 Process control systems at Level 2: batch control

 Process control systems at Level 1: Continuous control

 Process control systems at Level 0: Discrete control

2. MES - A versatile system

A strong MES architecture covers a wide range of manufacturing industries and processes, including make-to-order, discrete assembly, batch processing, rolled goods, and very complex process workflows. Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are utilized in a variety of discrete, batch, and constant production methods, including those in the transistor, electronics, medical instruments, automobile, aeronautical, pharmacy, metal, and plastics industries, and others. A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) with a flexible platform can be easily integrated with corporate applications and sales floor digitization, and it can adapt to the customers’ businesses without the need for custom coding.

Implementation of MES

The successful implementation of a manufacturing execution system involves a number of processes.

1. Establishing a secure networked factory

The establishment of a secure networked factory is the first stage in putting the manufacturing execution system into practice.

When computers can compile production data and make production decisions that are currently performed manually, a Manufacturing Execution System will produce benefits. The first step in putting this into practice is to establish a secure network connection between each production facility and equipment.  

2. Device-to-device communication

Development of a system is essential to enable production machines to interact with one another after a secure network is in place and enables connections between them.

Allowing communication between production devices is generally done for two reasons:

(i) TO INCREASE THE PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY :

One can perform machine data analysis to forecast the performance of the machinery by collecting and storing data on its condition, health, and productivity. By doing this, it is feasible to determine when and how to use the equipment. In the end, it increases the equipment use and production efficiency.

(ii) BRINGING THE PRODUCTION PROCESS UNDER CONTROL :

There is a reduction in the amount of manual interaction as well as decision-making within the production process when the production equipment receives the commands to direct what manufacturing processes to carry out. As a result, the production process is more effective and reliable.

3. Bridging manufacturing processes

To create a factory without paper, industrial processes must be in connection first. This can significantly shorten the lead time for product manufacturing and boost production efficiency.

Routing of products is often controlled manually in industrial systems. There will be the creation of a bill of materials and work routing, for a product. A print of this is sent via a plant with multiple manufacturing processes with a batch of the product. To determine what should happen to the product batch next, planners, supervisors, and production workers must examine each product routing.

A Manufacturing Execution System may handle all the product routing by integrating manufacturing operations. As a result, it can connect directly with production equipment to choose the best production method for each batch of products.

4. Improving the business with production data analytics

If there is a connection between manufacturing operations and the IT system, it is feasible to gather large quantities of production data. There must be a subsequent transformation of large amounts of unsorted production data into data that is pertinent to company operations. The raw production data can then be subjected to automated analysis to determine which manufacturing processes could benefit from further optimization.

Companies will benefit from continuously improving their manufacturing operations by using this data as an additional tool to assist in making the best business decisions. These facts help a business to : 

 Boost production effectiveness.

 Boost the calibre of the products.

 Improve their offering.

Five components of the MES

There are several factors to take into account when introducing a new system to the manufacturing process to ensure that it will meet the needs of the business.

Without a doubt, an MES enhances the value of any given manufacturing organisation. However, this kind of technology provides a wide range of features. Because of this, a person must determine precisely what they are capable of and how they can help his/her particular business.

It’s significant to take into account all the factors before introducing a new system and disturbing the business operations.

1. Making a manufacturing process plan

You should be able to do production planning, scheduling, and allocating unique work units and personnel across a site or several locations using the functionality provided by an MES for this purpose.

An advanced planning system and a programming system occasionally have a small amount of overlap. It should typically establish a connection with the ERP system and download all new work orders, sales orders, or build-to-stock orders.

The MES should be aware of the product’s routing or the needs of the labour-intensive machines. You should be able to schedule those into your production schedule and determine whether you will meet the deadline for delivery or not. Additionally, it ought to inform you of any issues, as well as whether additional resources or a change in your timetable are necessary.

2. Live commentary

You should receive real time feedback on your manufacturing procedure from an MES. You should be able to check the overall efficiency status and the location of specific manufacturing orders right away.

This eliminates the annoyance of scouring your factory for paperwork or trying to locate an order for a certain customer. Additionally, it eliminates the need to waste time in gathering efficient information from the various work locations and collecting it into a report to assess how well you performed the previous week. You may track work in progress, create routing for various product kinds, and collect data from each of those items as it goes through the routing.

The MES also has the capability to schedule or start maintenance jobs based on the production process. This is frequently an add-on module or another integration to carry out any duties necessary to keep your process running smoothly.

The ability to schedule calibration checks and station cleanliness inspections as needed should be the bare minimum requirement for an MES. For instance, the MES can be connected to a filter switch, and when that switch trips or closes, it sends a task to the maintenance department to change the filter. It’s a well-integrated system that reacts as quickly and effectively as possible to your manufacturing process.

3. Quality attributes

These are related to enhancing your company’s quality system and making it less administratively burdensome to manage and operate.

This involves aspects such as having job instructions, that operators may follow and standard operating procedures. Whether it be for work instructions on how to set up or modify a machine before moving to watch the machine as it processes a batch, or to follow an assembly or semi-manual process.

With the help of these characteristics, the company processes maybe standardised, ensuring that when quality improves, everyone raises their game simultaneously.

4. People administration

Tools for managing and tracking the personnel involved in your manufacturing process should be available in an MES. You’re seeking for skills matrix features in this case. The capacity to control who has received training for which process and which product line, simplifies the process of managing who has access to what.

5. Reporting

One of the major time and stress savers, especially for managers and directors, is the ability of an MES to automate your manufacturing reporting process fully.

It is best to do away with the manual data collection, excel spreadsheet entry, and chart creation processes. The MES should collect every top-level Key Performance Indicator (KPI) you have together with any supporting information in order to create reports on its own.

It should preferably send a weekly reminder if they’ve fallen outside or below the performance targets, informing you that you need to take action because you’re performing below target. OEEs, first-time cycle times, or statistical process controls are a few examples of reports. Your MES should, at the very least, cover all of these topics and be able to produce that data automatically for you so you don’t have to do it.

Ways to expand productivity via MES

In order to remain competitive in the manufacturing field, it is the duty of manufacturers to maintain high productivity or high revenue earned per workforce.

A thorough review of a company’s systems as well as manufacturing processes is the strategy with which the majority of approaches for increasing manufacturing productivity start. It aims to reduce waste and, on the other hand, maximize value adding operations.

It is to 

 Cut out needless procedures.

 Organize what is left.

 Automate as much as you can.

Implementing a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) can be the greatest option when it comes to automating the procedures. A strong MES makes it easier to receive data from machines automatically, monitor production, prevent waste, and spot errors. Since all of these tasks are completed digitally, operators can forget about paperwork. Warehouse automation issues can be solved by proximity switches.

1. Labour costs depletion

In particular, when producing a complex product, certain procedures, such as the assembly processes of machinery, testing, and operation, are demanding and time-consuming. The training methods for new operators are restricted by using simple image viewing techniques or conventionally written job instructions. Additionally, this may cause the labour-intensive production processes to lag.

On the other hand, by accelerating the training of the operators, the job instructions in the MES will effectively reduce downtime. MES employs cutting-edge software to assess and improve material quality, productivity, and availability.

Furthermore, by reducing the amount of human labour required by operators, digital work instructions can significantly speed up assembly procedures that depend on labour. An MES can help with planning, scheduling, regulating, supervision, execution, and optimization of the manufacturing process.

2. Error and defect reduction

The efficiency and profitability of a manufacturing process can be greatly impacted by reducing errors and faults. It prevents the wastage of resources and labour on operations that do not add value. By incorporating quality checks into the production process, an MES aids in the early detection and prevention of faults. This guarantees that faults that require time-consuming and expensive rework do not arise at the conclusion of the manufacturing process.

A component that was incorrectly installed during an early stage of assembly is a typical example that manufacturers see. Before being sent to the consumer, the product undergoes a number of manufacturing steps and is functionally tested. In order to replace the component if a flaw is found during the final functional test, the product must be entirely disassembled. This usually entails up to five times as long as usual for production.

3. Streamline the production process

Reduced production time allows the manufacturer to increase output throughout each shift. As a result, it guarantees that the company will make more money each month.

By automating the manufacturing process, it is feasible to shorten production times with an MES. By automatically collecting data, the MES can monitor actual working time and shorten manufacturing cycle time. That aids in the planning and management of industrial processes.

Additionally, MES decreases the time needed for machine changeover and the number of micro-stops in the process. The software essentially keeps track of any micro-stops or mistakes that can interrupt the flow of manufacturing.

4. Enhances communication

It’s crucial to keep teams informed. To ensure there is no misunderstanding regarding the work at hand, a designated technology that enables team members to communicate remotely and exchange project updates should be used.

MES software with 3D printing enables manufacturing companies and project partners to comment on files or receive email notifications because of the communication options. It has also made it feasible to enhance team communications with various departments through email synchronisation.

The MES system features built-in communication protocols that allow for real time data transmission. One can receive orders or obtain process updates directly from a single platform by integrating MES software with email services like Outlook or Gmail.

A paperless manufacturing process, in essence, enhances teamwork by facilitating quicker communication between operators and producers on a single platform.

5. Develop real time analysis

Real-time analysis that is in-depth aids in better decision-making and, consequently, qualifies the production process. A thorough Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) performance monitoring system, MES has strong traceability, error detection, and quality checking capabilities. For prompt reactions, it gathers real time data and provides notifications. Then, the system directs the operators through the manufacturing process.

Analysing past and present data enables one to monitor both short-term and long-term working progress. The likelihood of faults or errors is also low because this documentation is digital. As a result, producers can skip the second check.

Maintaining and managing the production is made simpler by MES’s automated process analysis and data collection. As a result, it increases manufacturing process effectiveness and affects productivity.

6. Cut down material costs

By making production processes more precise and repeatable, material costs can be decreased. A production management phase is being used to analyse, regulate, and modify process variables by integrating an MES with current shop floor machinery or by utilising an SPC module inside the MES. Less material will be wasted through scrap or rework when process precision and repeatability are increased.

7. Enhances the performance of delivery

A manufacturer can boost revenue from higher product sales by enhancing delivery performance by cutting production delivery schedules.

8. Automated processes

Numerous non-value-added operations will be automated by a software system. Take into account how much time is devoted to locating the proper production blueprints. A paperless assembly system makes sure the right plans are available on the shop floor as soon as they are needed, allowing employees to concentrate on getting things done. At the touch of a button, a system can regulate the change control procedure during manufacturing.

9. Critical information management

An MES system contextualises information so that users have access to crucial information, including machine configuration, when and where they need it. They can quickly get the information they require by pressing a button, saving them from having to leave their work area.

Future of MES

Manufacturing execution systems’ future is directly correlated with that of manufacturing as a whole. Manufacturers are now able to implement their “factory of the future”. It is feasible because of MES systems, as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) become more widespread.

IoT shop floor sensors gather data and connect machinery. Manufacturing execution systems subsequently convey that information to gain greater access to better, more accurate information. MES will play a bigger part in managing the manufacturing operations as these technologies advance and become even more integrated, like Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and smart equipment. Manufacturing execution systems will guide the way while the factory runs itself, much like the conductor of an orchestra.

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