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MES to make life simpler

June 27, 2018

MES to make life simpler

MES to make life simpler

Heard about Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ‘smart factory’, but not sure about how they impact your business? Maybe you know the huge benefits in efficiency and flexibility the technologies associated with these things offer but don’t know where or how to start implementing them? At Critical Manufacturing, our Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is designed specifically to help manufacturers gain the benefits of Industry 4.0 at a level and pace to match their business needs.

Our MES platform is continually being developed on two fronts. Firstly, we listen to customers and learn from the experience we have gained from working with them. What are their demands? Do we need to add functionality to meet specific industry needs? – after all, although everyone wants a system that is easy to operate, increases their production efficiency (and so profitability) and keeps their systems working reliably and smoothly; medical device manufacturers have some very different system requirements to the automotive or semiconductor industries.

Secondly, our totally modular and fully integrated MES redefines expectations. Of course, to maintain this, we continue to add new, innovative features and modules that are delighting our customers and disrupting the MES marketplace.

In our latest MES release, we have revolutionized three primary areas:

  1. Native, integrated, real-time production scheduling.
  2. Connect IoTTM Module: Enabling you to easily integrate IoT devices and existing (non-IoT) equipment into your MES, get it all working seamlessly together and give you a pathway to continue your move to a fully ‘smart factory’.
  3. An even more fantastic Graphic User Interface (GUI) with the ability to easily create your own screens

Do you want production scheduling that responds to your needs?

By natively integrating scheduling into the MES platform you immediately gain some serious benefits on the shop floor. First, and possibly most obviously, there is no integration required – scheduling is just a module you select within the MES. Secondly, the scheduling module continuously synchronizes with the real-time status of your shop floor. If something changes – it responds to those changes, keeping your production optimized.

At this point, it is probably worth explaining that this is full scheduling functionality as opposed to a dispatching system. What is the difference? A dispatching system uses specific local context rules, such as FIFO or load priority, whereas the scheduling system can include these but also considers overall optimization of the shop floor based on the criteria selected by the planner. It may be that minimizing wait times or setup times is important, or maybe maximizing order fulfilment, or a combination of several factors.

Check scheduling before you deploy it…and then automatically adapt to changing conditions…

Whatever is needed, the planner can use the planning mode in the system to create, analyse and compare differently weighted criteria to find the best solution for their operation prior to deployment. The system then uses master data such as flow, cycle times, yield, setup times, etc. Once a schedule has been deployed, if conditions on the shop floor change, the scheduling system receives the real-time information and re-runs the scheduling to re-optimize production.

Include everything, see everything:

The Critical Manufacturing scheduling module allows the planner to define the exact criteria they want to apply and includes the scheduling of durables and personnel. The system can then enforce rules to ensure that scheduled durables are attached to the lot/batch and personnel with the correct operational certifications are available to perform any required steps to minimize the risk of delays.

The GUI used for the scheduler makes everything clear and simple. Using HTML5, it can run on mobile devices and provides crystal clear colour coding. It checks dependencies, groups materials, and shows the real time status of rescheduling as well as quickly comparing different scheduling scenarios to determine the best course of action.

Do you want the benefit of the latest, smart technologies – but can’t afford to replace all legacy equipment and interfaces?

No problem! The Critical Manufacturing Connect IoT functionality integrates new and old. It reduces the time and effort required with the intelligent integration of all types of devices – using IoT or standard equipment interfaces as appropriate. It controls which automation workflows and drivers get to specific hardware types and can run in almost any hardware, making it an exceptionally cost-effective solution. In a world of connectivity, security is, of course, another critical factor. Connect IoT also controls the links between devices and the outside world to keep your shop floor safe from hackers.

Total control with just one click!

In this new release of our Critical Manufacturing MES v6, we have focused on making connection and integration of standard and IoT equipment incredibly easy. Connect IoT uses ‘drag and drop’ functionality and one-click central deployment through an integrated device management solution. There is no need for external simulators, the system provides total control and it supports multiple protocols including BLE, SECS/GEM, OPC UA. OPC DA, MQQT, AMQP etc. There is also the possibility to add your own specific protocols if you need to do so.

A GUI that users expect and demand

We use modern user interfaces every day, on our mobile phones, computers, tablets, even our TVs! Why then should an MES interface be inflexible and difficult? Why should it require a whole new learning curve and long training for the operator? We don’t think it should. That’s why our MES GUI is easy, mobile and fast. It can be set up and modified by the process owners, without the need for complicated coding or IT input.

With the feel of a consumer app, Critical Manufacturing MES V6 offers easy to set up, fast and effortless plant visualization and customized interfaces using straightforward ‘drag and drop’ technology. Offering complete flexibility, GUIs can be created to display real-time information to best suit the needs of specific operators, maintenance personnel, facilities, areas or individual pieces of equipment. What’s more, views that are created will work seamlessly across a full range of fixed and mobile devices.

The overall message is that this is quick and easy. No specialist personnel are required, and screens can be created to show what you need to know, where and when you need it. This does not detract from the power of the GUI – we have simply given you the tools to put this power in your hands and taken away the need for bespoke, costly programming and software changes.

You need a plan – and we can help.

Our MES is completely modular and flexible. You can choose to start with a little and add more as your business demands require. It is the ideal pathway to a smart factory, based on your needs today and into the future. Industry 4.0 is happening today and you can be sure your competitors will be looking at the enormous benefits it offers and how they will implement it. Talk to us about your needs and we will help you find the right pathway to optimize your production floor and provide the flexibility you need to adapt to changing demands as you and your customers grow.


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DOWNLOAD NEW WHITE PAPER:

IIoT Has a "Thing" for MES. Why IoT Platforms Won’t Replace MES for Industry 4.0
by Iyno Advisors and Critical Manufacturing

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