MES: what are Manufacturing Execution Systems?

Every step in the execution of a manufacturing process requires gigabytes of valuable data. Therefore, a manufacturing execution system software like MES helps to track, control and document these.

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MES: definitions and information

MES, translated into ” manufacturing execution systems “are software solutions that ensure the quality and efficiency to the manufacturing process. They ensure that these two points are applied in a proactive and systematic way. They have information and intelligence powered by data integration. In addition, they also have Industrial Internet of Things, machine learning and predictive analytics. It is the combination of all of these that easily enables clean manufacturing. Manufacturing execution systems connect multiple factories, sites and live production information from suppliers. They integrate easily with enterprise equipment, controllers and business applications.

Broadly speaking, MES software is used to manage, monitor and synchronize The execution of physical processes in real time. They provide decision makers with the information essential to further improve their production.

GE Digital’s Proficy MES software, called Proficy Plant Applicationswas ranked #1 in continuous process manufacturing. It was #2 in batch/repetitive flow manufacturing. It was also #2 in highly regulated industries and #4 in complex discrete manufacturing.

Key features of MES

MESs have evolved well over the years. However, their basic functionality remains the same even for today’s models.

MES features by MESA

The MESA or Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association International defined 11 main functions of MES.

The first function is theallocation and status of resources. It allows the use of real-time data to track and analyze the status of resources. With the second function which is the ” operation/detailed planning “, MES optimizes performance. That’s because it plans, times and sequences activities according to priorities and resource capacity. The third manages the flow of production data. And that’s to easily and quickly make calculated adjustments in production allocation. This is the distribution of production units.

To manage and distribute documents efficiently, users can rely on the fourth feature which is document control. Thanks to it, the latter are accessible and modifiable. Then, the MES have a fifth function called collection and acquisition of data. The latter tracks and collects data in order to make the best decisions and increase efficiency. In addition, MESs also control the workers. This is done through their sixth functionality which is workforce management. Schedules, qualifications and authorizations are perfectly followed. And this, while saving time and resources.

Focus on other features by MESA

But that’s not all. There is also the quality management which is the seventh. This one tracks quality deviations and exceptions. It aims to improve the management and documentation of quality control. The other managements are the process management and maintenance managementwhich are the eighth and ninth functionalities. One manages the entire process, from order validation to finished products. The other uses MES data to identify and avoid potential equipment problems. It also adjusts maintenance schedules for equipment, tools and machines. One of the reasons for this is to reduce downtime.

Next, MES tracks the evolution of products and their genealogy with the tenth feature ” product tracking and genealogy “. This is a particularly important feature for manufacturers, as they need to comply with government or industry regulations. And finally, users can compare results and objectives using the eleventh feature which is performance analysis. As a result, they can easily identify the strengths and weaknesses of the overall process to improve the efficiency of the systems.

Features by Gartner

Gartner also identified 4 key features MES solutions. These are process quality management, production equipment management, production equipment integration and enterprise integration architecture.

The data collected by MES is organized into three categories. These are asset data, manufacturing data and the corporate resources. Asset data is considered real-time sensors and measurement results. Manufacturing data are real-time flows of events. As for enterprise resources, they are financial impacts.

What are the benefits?

In addition to the many MES features, they also have other advantages. First of all, they improve the quality control. Companies with these manufacturing execution systems can immediately stop production as soon as they identify problems. This not only reduces waste and scrap, but also overages and rework. Then, MESs have a increased availability. By integrating planning and maintenance, they increase availability.

In addition, MES also reduces the inventory. This is especially so since they update the inventory records with new production, scrap and non-conforming materials. As a result, all purchasing, shipping and planning departments always know what material is available. The benefit is then the reduction of inventory, meaning considerable cost savings on manufacturing, transportation, storage and inventory monitoring. The next advantage is the paperless workshop. Indeed, the absence of paperwork significantly reduces the risk of human error. One of the biggest advantages of MES is also the increased visibility on all operations. It allows not only a better understanding of the operations but also a traceability on the whole production process.

MES are particularly effective in highly automated and fast processes. They optimize performance in a holistic way. Thus, they help balance tradeoffs between competing priorities of production operations.

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