Benefits of integrating a MES system with SCADA

Integrating supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems with manufacturing execution systems (MES) can help transfer usable information and utilize it to create future improvements.

By Dante Augello August 2, 2022
Courtesy: Inductive Automation

MES, SCADA Insights

  • Manufacturers are looking to connect all layers of the manufacturing process to improve operations by gaining new insights from every part of a facility.
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems is more focused on the operational side of things and can give manufacturers insights on the day-to-day side of things.
  • Integrating SCADA with a manufacturing execution system (MES) lets manufacturers more effectively gather and analyze information and improve efficiency.

Connecting layers of the manufacturing process is a crucial step in building a more effective operation and automation system. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are three of the most important levels of the manufacturing process.

SCADA is used for automation on the plant floor and ERP automates many tasks at the office level. MES systems occupy the space between and can help to link information from the SCADA system to the ERP system.

If these major processes are built into one comprehensive system, it can save time and money, and increase productivity.

Comparing MES and SCADA roles

The roles of MES and SCADA can often overlap, but generally an MES system facilitates the transformation of raw materials into finished goods in real time, deals with overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)/downtime, and may include other functions such as SPC (statistical process control), production and resource scheduling, tracking and tracing products and materials, dispatching production tasks and work instructions, managing preventive maintenance, analyzing performance, and more.

SCADA is more focused on machine control and monitoring by communicating with programmable logic controllers (PLCs), collecting data for the data historian, monitoring for alarms, and more, depending on the SCADA system.

SCADA is on the operational and data-collection side of manufacturing and MES can turn that data into usable information and utilize it to create future improvements.

Integrating MES and SCADA systems

Although SCADA and MES are different parts of the manufacturing process, they can be integrated to more effectively gather and analyze information, control machinery and increase efficiency.

Using software that has programming for MES and SCADA reduces downtime and increases data accessibility and synchronization. To see the benefits of such integrated systems, let’s look at two companies that implemented Ignition for their SCADA and MES software: AriZona Beverages and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).

Courtesy: Inductive Automation

Courtesy: Inductive Automation

Beverage maker chooses MES integration with SCADA

AriZona Beverages needed software for their HMI, SCADA, and MES manufacturing solution that could connect to its SAP ERP system in its 37-acre, 621,000-square-foot facility in Keasbey, New Jersey that opened in November 2019.

System integrator Vertech provided SCADA from Ignition and MES from Sepasoft in a single comprehensive platform. This automated system includes batch control capabilities that interact with every level of automation from device control to SAP, product tracking, packaging counts for OEE and downtime, key performance indicator (KPI) monitoring over time, it automates any manual handoffs of data that previously went through email or phone calls.

Upgraded SCADA and MES software for truck manufacturer

DTNA needed an ANDON system built for their 1500-foot production line (ANDON is a manufacturing term referring to a system that notifies management, maintenance, and other workers of quality or process problems). The production line originally had over 125 manual assembly workstations with no production monitoring, control, or feedback statuses, and they couldn’t provide the tools to alert maintenance personnel of specific and often substantial downtime issues that paralyzed production lines.

The ANDON system allows workers to act on real-time information right away with alerts from signal lights and horns to indicate which workstation has a problem. The unlimited licensing model allows hundreds of production personnel to freely view what kind of problem the manufacturing process is experiencing and how it affects other workstations through 50 overhead monitors. The system also enables DTNA’s operators to call for help and still keep the assembly line running.

The MES software allows for data logging that would identify potential problem areas with critical production metrics to help the company improve its efficiency. OEE calculation and downtime tracking gave production managers tools to track downtime by shift, production line, workstation, downtime type, and hardware so they could find specific issues with the production process, personnel, and equipment.

Connect SCADA, MES and more

Combining all your manufacturing processes into one SCADA and MES software solution is the most effective way to fully utilize the data while keeping an entire automation system in one place with a web-based interface and it’s available to you on any computer, device or operating system.

– This originally appeared on Inductive Automation’s site. Inductive Automation is a CFE Media and Technology content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, web content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

Original content can be found at Inductive Automation.


Dante Augello
Author Bio: Dante Augello is a content writer at Inductive Automation, the creator of the Ignition industrial application platform for SCADA, HMI, IIoT and more.