Manufacturing execution systems (MES) and Factory 4.0’s benefits

The manufacturing execution system (MES) is a control system designed to execute, monitor, track, and report operations taking place on the plant floor in real time and Factory 4.0 will change how the MES impacts the plant floor.
By Anuj Parashar and Bhagat Singh, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) December 3, 2017

Factory 4.0 impacts the manufacturing processes of a plant governed by the manufacturing execution system (MES). MES is a control system designed to execute, monitor, track, and report operations taking place on the plant floor in real time. Once an MES is established on the plant floor, the next step is to make it work and decide how Factory 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) are going to impact a company’s daily operations. 

There is no doubt that automation and information technology integration has been part of the manufacturing processes and smart factories are the future. But the granularity of its impact is still being defined by industry experts. Some concepts of Factory 4.0 are in practice and some are being evolved.

In the world of cutthroat competition between brands, manufacturing systems are expected to provide better value to customer with minimum lead time. MES is evolving and is going to be smarter and wiser. MES and the IoT can open new possibilities in the factory processes such as empowering the management and control of processes in detail, improving accuracy of planning with real-time data, and eliminating pervasive faults across the supply chain.

IoT is a transformative, disruptive technology. It can enable MES to connect smart things, quickly manage processes, and analyze data and ultimately transforming the current manufacturing landscape. The reconfiguration of MES with Factory 4.0 can be coined as Manufacturing Execution System 4.0 (MES 4.0).

MES 4.0 can be structured with an analysis of eight activities areas: resource management, detailed scheduling, tracking, analysis, dispatching, definition, data collection, and execution management of the four functional pillars of manufacturing engineering with the IoT. The analysis can answer our most of the questions. It can specifically tell us about the as-is state of an MES and to-be state of MES 4.0.

Anuj Parashar and Bhagat Singh, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). This article originally appeared on the Industrial Internet Consortium’s (IIC) blog. The IIC is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.