Monthly Archives: April 2019

Leveraging MES solutions beyond production

Leveraging MES Solutions beyond Production

Category : Blogs

Leveraging MES solutions beyond production

Expand your imagination in what you can do with simulation, primarily as related to your manufacturing execution system: how much could you improve your product output?

The typical process is early planning, simulation and production, after which, simulation is forgotten. However, there is still value in simulation which companies are leaving on the table; they view it as only being applicable in the design and engineering phase, as opposed to it also offering production value. The ability to forecast potentially avoidable mistakes that otherwise would be found and addressed later in production can help you solidify a position in the marketplace and improve your processes and products.

At PLM World 2018 in Germany, a booth displayed the concept of a time machine which integrates your manufacturing execution system (MES) with simulation. It took real execution data and inputted that information into the simulation. The virtual world was leveraged to solve real-world production issues and evaluate what-if scenarios to improve manufacturing quality and efficiency – all before it physically went into production.

These scenarios could include evaluating resource changes (both human and machine), assembly process changes, material logistics changes, analyzing defects and addressing shop floor issues. The value of these evaluations serves to improve your product output via simulation results.

Simulation beyond design

Manufacturing simulation tools provide companies with the ability to fully virtualize their manufacturing process. This comprehensive approach improves product quality and reduces time to market for new products. However, when you move from the virtual world to real-world execution, simulation is typically not part of that process.

However, conventional simulation does not bring you to 100 percent completion. There is a remaining, crucial element of real-world issues which involves collecting data while the product is built and recoding defects, which are not being captured in the virtual world.

When you address these issues, you bring that data back for full analysis to help you fix the problems. Elements of human behavior are captured ‒ actual operation times for analysis against planned build times from simulation.

MES solutions – value and challenges

Manufacturers are not benefitting from the higher value which can be retrieved from the simulation environment. There are advantages to using the automated interaction of virtual and real data as opposed to conventional, manual interventions.

Though simulation is not typically a tool used to help solve product issues like product defects, overruns, material logistics and production line layout, the digital thread is inherently required as this is happening late in the process. Data must be mature and maintained from design through production. If an issue is evaluated in simulation it could involve design engineering, production engineering or a collaboration of both.

Additionally, it would help if you collaborate with areas of the digital thread, working in concert with simulation. For example, a design needs to produce quality models for the simulation environment, while manufacturing engineering needs to build quality reusable simulations. In turn, production can leverage the simulation of both of these by providing the necessary feedback such as non-conformance, shop floor issues and product assemblies to enrich the product lifecycle.

The final benefit

A simulation environment can assist you as you step you through the MES, becoming a training tool or aid for shop floor operators. Simulation with MES solutions can bring you one step closer to what you might encounter in the real world, thus making it the ideal realm for solving potential problems before you physically begin producing your product – saving you time, money and improving the overall product.

Click here to learn more about MES.

By the Author – Louis Hughes


Condition-based maintenance_1

Condition-based maintenance: a boost against the competition

Category : Blogs

Condition-based maintenance: a boost against the competition

To compete in today’s global economy, businesses are searching for potential advantages that won’t cost them an arm and a leg, or even a new engine.

A growing number of industries—from marine companies to power utilities—have found such an advantage in condition-based maintenance (CBM), which can improve maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) efficiency and boost sustainability.

CBM relies on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to capture real-time data from sensors embedded in industrial assets so that maintenance is performed only when it’s needed—rather than at scheduled intervals—helping manufacturers drastically reduce unplanned downtime.

In addition, by lengthening the lifecycle of assets through CBM, businesses reduce the need to produce or procure new parts or equipment. Also, curbed resource waste and consumption contributes to a more sustainable business from both an environmental and profitability standpoint.

For industries such as manufacturing, transportation and utilities, these benefits are proving to be game-changers. In fact, the top three industries that invested in IIoT in 2018 were manufacturing ($189 billion); transportation ($85 billion) with a focus on freight monitoring and fleet management; and utilities ($73 billion), with a focus on smart grids, according to IDC Research.

And because sensors have dropped in price but improved in functionality, the market has responded with economical CBM solutions that bundle hardware, software and services; and cover the broad spectrum of safety, quality and value to fit manufacturers’ needs.

Some examples include:

Vibration monitoring in the power industry. Power companies are using data such as vibration rates emitted from IIoT instruments to monitor the health of assets such as engines, pumps and compressors. This allows the utility to understand trends, and monitor performance, quality or impending failure. They can then conduct targeted repairs instead of diagnosing with limited information or responding only after a failure. By avoiding going off-line through unexpected equipment failures, utilities can dodge the loss of real-time revenue streams and minimize the costly practice of buying replacement power from competitors.

Safety at sea in the marine industry. In the marine industry, fleet owners are beginning to leverage CBM technology to improve MRO processes at sea. Fortunately, most electrical equipment onboard ships already include embedded sensors or provides data such as temperature, pressure, current power and switchboards, easing the way for the implementation of CBM. Ship owners  also use data from ultrasonic monitoring to detect deep subsurface defects such as hull corrosion. That’s important given limited parts as well as maintenance teams at sea.

Listening carefully in the oil and gas industry. The detection and location of leaks in buried pipelines that are under flow conditions is a primary concern for the oil and gas industry. Monitoring data from acoustic emission sensors, sounds emitted by material deformation, structural motion or external impact help identify and localize leaks much faster than conventional methods. Use of CBM programs on buried pipelines thus helps hone MRO processes while protecting the environment.

These and other global industries are getting a leg up by strategically transforming MRO into a competitive advantage. As technology helps them move forward, companies that take steps to implement CBM are poised to set themselves apart from rivals as they improve overall performance, reduce waste and cut costs.

By the author – Senthil Kumar


Advanced Planning and Scheduling

Solution Showcase: Preactor AS Express

Category : Blogs

Solution Showcase : Preactor AS Express

From strategic planning to detailed scheduling, APS is essential for anticipating manufacturing resource needs; orchestrating efficient use of material, people, and machines; and delivering great customer service and higher profitability. Whether you are streamlining your current operations, or building the next stage of growth, clear visibility into utilization and capacity helps you make informed decisions and get ahead of the competition.

Today, you can find out how APS can be transformational for your manufacturing enterprise with zero financial risk. Download Preactor AS Express and get started immediately, for free.

Preactor AS Express is a fully functional version of Siemens Preactor AS. Download it today, and get access to

  • An unlimited number of resources, products and operations within a schedule.
  • Additional fields for holding order and operation attributes.
  • File-based imports/exports for orders, products, resource groups and resources.

Artificial intelligence illustration with blue text AI over binary code matrix background. Abstract concept of cyber technology and automation

The risks and advantages of artificial intelligence

Category : Blogs

The risks and advantages of artificial intelligence

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence and machine learning are difficult to understand: it’s a complicated field. As computing power continues to accelerate, which is driving the ability to process large amounts of data, the advantages of artificial intelligence are beginning to show – especially when it comes to predictive models, which now takes hours or minutes to complete instead of days.

In the video “The future of AI: risks and challenges,” some of our experts within the company discuss where artificial intelligence is heading, AI and the future of work, and the risks and challenges that companies must consider with the rise and implementation of AI.

The first challenge? Companies that don’t embrace machine learning or artificial intelligence are likely to fall behind their competition.

How the public reacts and perceives the advantages of artificial intelligence is another challenge which can hinder the uptake of AI. Artificial intelligence is part of Industry 4.0, and like the industrial revolutions that have preceded it, the threat of job loss can prevent the public from wanting to adopt this technology.

However, AI can be an enabler. It can shift jobs to new higher skilled, more productive types of roles – the key is to know how AI and the future of work complement each other.

Security and data privacy are other potential challenges for artificial intelligence. We’re all concerned about how our data is used, which is why it will be critical for governments to enact laws that protect personal information and control how customer data is used. Companies will have to be aware of the different laws in different countries as well as when it comes to artificial intelligence and data usage.

Watch this video to learn more.

Click here to learn more about artificial intelligence.

By the author – Steve Hartman