Thanks to the explosion of possibilities brought to us by the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, and the Digital Thread (all similar sounding terms with slightly different meanings), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) now have options.
Since the 1980’s, Manufacturing Execution Systems were implemented with in-house development and enterprise software, hosted on local servers in the plant. With Industry 4.0, we are experiencing a revolution in data collection and analyzing technologies which can bring MES to the next level.
No longer are manufacturing plants stuck on the same path of investing in hardware, network connections, and calling a solution integrator to implement their system only to later have it managed by the in-house IT department. There are now options such as MES in the Cloud which has pre-built apps that can be customized for the plant floor. Services and support would be managed by the provider directly.
With the Digital Thread, manufacturers have the ability to expand their Manufacturing Execution Systems’ capabilities by connecting back to the CAD drawing software through to the dealer management system. The thread would collect and analyze each data set and process along the way, making recommendations for improvement.
These technologies are still on the cusp but are likely to spark a revolution in the way we process data for MES. Companies need to feel secure with network reliability, speed, and security. Questions around data ownership need to be addressed and solidified.
It is also important to note that the technology we use is a tool to help make our plants great. It is our analysts, plant engineers, and support teams which ensure that the right data is collected and is processed appropriately. Machines can make this process more efficient and faster but it is up to the people on your team to make these next steps possible. Like our inventors of old, we can create the next reality of the factory by trying new ways to create our own great works of “enterprise art”.