Viewpoint: Harvest live information from the plant floor without sacrificing productivity

When executive officers request live production data, they put production IT managers focused on plant-floor operations in a difficult predicament. To comply, these managers must add tasks to their systems to collect this information. Unfortunately, these additional duties can compromise productivity.

01/01/2008


When executive officers request live production data, they put production IT managers focused on plant-floor operations in a difficult predicament. To comply, these managers must add tasks to their systems to collect this information. Unfortunately, these additional duties can compromise productivity.

Requests to harvest live data from manufacturing operations originate from pressing enterprise needs: The accounting department wants to qualify for a new tax credit; the CEO wants to implement a lean manufacturing initiative; or the COO wants the company to comply with new environmental regulations. All these initiatives require real-time production data from plant-floor devices, and these requests have become more frequent.

To satisfy each request, a production manager has to think about the best way to collect information from plant-floor controls and send it to the enterprise. Historically, managers relied on manufacturing execution systems (MES) to perform these tasks. Translators and handlers are assigned to the MES to gather data needed from each piece of equipment.

Constant requests can become a burden as they task the MES to retrieve additional live production data. The MES is optimized for more mission-critical plant operations. Production managers are more focused on getting output from production lines than configuring new data collection tasks. And the dirty little secret about the MES in most environments is the number of these tasks to satisfy noncritical demands that have been placed on it. With the addition of these noncritical demands, many systems struggle at their main task of keeping plant-floor systems operational.

However, if the data could be transported from production to the enterprise via neutral means, the risk of overloading the MES with noncritical tasks is greatly reduced.

Avoiding the use of convoluted middleware on the MES, intelligent transactions through enabled devices allow the production manager to mine needed data without compromising core tasks. By enabling data collection in a safe environment and providing for its easy and secure transportation to the enterprise, tasks are added without taxing MES performance.



ILS Technology’s deviceWISE enables data collection and delivery of relevant information directly to the consumption point, regardless of where the application resides in the plant or enterprise.

Moreover, using software with a small code footprint allows information to travel between domains with minimal device bandwidth. Data can be collected from any machine; programmable automation controller (PAC); or programmable logic controller (PLC) through connection to legacy systems, regardless of manufacturer or the network to which it is attached.

Installed in PACs, PLCs, plant systems, or the enterprise IT domain, data paths between the plant floor and enterprise can be established in minutes. Tools for production-to-enterprise connectivity help address multiple requests for live data without burdening the MES.

When corporations establish connections between manufacturing operations and corporate decision makers, they expect real-time data to result. This type information access supports the intelligent decision-making needed for flexible operations. But don't ask production managers to compromise their operations to get you there.





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Intelligent, efficient PLC programming: Cost-saving programming languages are available now; Automation system upgrades; Help from the cloud; Improving flow control; System integration tips
Smarter machines require smarter systems; Fixing PID, part 3; Process safety; Hardware and software integration; Legalities: Integrated lean project delivery
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.
This article collection contains several articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again