Digital manufacturing support systems play an increasingly central role in the evolution of manufacturing today. The phenomenon of Industry 4.0, driven by the governments of Germany, the USA (with Manufacturing 2.0), France (Usine de Futur), and Italy (Industria 4.0), put the support of digital technologies at the core of factory activity optimisation.
One such example of this technology that has already been on the market for more than 15 years is Manufacturing Execution System. This software was originally created to reduce paper activities and structure factories, and has greatly evolved over the years. MES systems are increasingly evolved today, supporting multi-factory architectures and integrating new functions such as connectivity with IOT systems.
A central point of MES systems concerns connectivity: with ERP systems, with factory automation and with other legacy systems. Ever since its establishment, Atomos Hyla has been focused on this type of market and uses different systems – standard and custom – to help companies evolve their factory activities.
Collaborating with international organisations (MESA – APICS) and market standards (such as the OPC standard for machine connectivity), Atomos Hyla has integrated heterogeneous MES systems with the main MES platforms and automation systems.
Today, MES projects are mostly aimed at filling functional gaps in factories already equipped with other systems (sometimes old and not easily integrated with new technologies). In the hundreds of projects Atomos Hyla has developed in recent years, we have faced very different situations depending on the end customer’s product sector, the type of production (continuous production, batch production, for lines or work centres), and the maturity of automation and business processes. Our goal is always to help our customers face digital transformation with tools that are easily integrated, flexible and evolving over time.
The heart of an MES system is still the execution of factory orders, the different phases and operations, which can be performed automatically and/or manually according to their specific manufacturing context.
The main features are:
- Integration with corporate ERPs for managing master data and issued orders
- Integration with scheduling systems to optimise production sequences based on real-time monitoring of production
- Synchronisation with other factory functions such as maintenance, quality and inventory management (inventory movements and traceability)
- Production monitoring (trends in production times, use of resources, work progress status)
- Declaration of materials used, with automated warehouse loading and unloading, identification of circulating material, and management of information related to component traceability.
- Detection of quantities produced, discarded, and reworked.
- Management of operator instructions and product and/or process quality check declarations
- Real-time transaction control.
- Management of splits on orders and stitched documents.
- Management of additional information beyond the manufacturing documents (drawings, technical data sheets, photographs, videos).
- Progress management.
- Complete wall-to-wall traceability
- Registration of production times, unproductive activities, and quality data.
- Detection and management of factory events such as plant shutdowns, possibility of calculating key indicators such as OEE, MTBF, MTTR and others.
- Crew and equipment management.
- In-line and island assembly management.
- Registration of attendance and operator hour balancing.
- Integration with automation systems, IOT systems and legacy systems for factory-wide synchronisation
There are many potential benefits, both quantitative and qualitative:
- Decreased product transformation lead-time and line buffer times.
- Production efficiency improvement
- Product quality improvement
- Decrease in circulating material through the just-in-time handling of materials, and consequent reduction of costs at warehouse level
- Improvement of reaction times to production disturbances.
- Reduction of errors and Data Entry Time
- Reduction of workshop documentation
- Improvement of the delivery process.