All posts in Education & Resources

Ultimate Guide to Manufacturing Execution Systems

In this article, I will take you, step by step through each of the stages required to set up and implement an MES in your manufacturing organisation. Overview Step 1 – Creating a Secure Networked Factory Step 2 – Communicating with Devices Step 3 – Connecting Manufacturing Processes Step 4 – Improving Your Business with Production Data Analytics Overview We are currently experiencing the 4th Industrial Revolution. Machines and manual operations are being connected, bringing the benefits of automation to entire production processes and factories. An overview of the 4 Industrial Revolutions (Source: Wikipedia) A MES is one way to […] Read more

Manufacturing Capacity Planning Tools

How To Do Manufacturing Capacity Planning An overview of the theory behind capacity planning, and tools that are available to help aid more effective manufacturing capacity planning. However, as the manufacturing process becomes more complicated, it can be time-consuming and frustrating to manually perform capacity planning calculations. This often leads to sub-optimal capacity planning which either disappoints customers or underutilises resources. Both of these results will have a negative effect on company sales and reputation. So, in this article, we’ll take a look at some of the tools available to help perform more effective capacity planning. Tool #1 – Excel […] Read more

7 Ways to Grow With an MES

Investing in new production processes is a major step for any business. It requires balancing of the costs in time and money versus the benefits the business will reap in the future. Using an MES helps you succeed by focusing on what your customer wants at every point on the shop floor. Here, I’ve summarised some of the key benefits our manufacturing clients have realised following their adoption of paperless manufacturing software. Business Growth By using an MES, the specific sequence of tasks required for reliable, repeatable production processes become defined for your business. As the business grows, this helps […] Read more

Improving Profits Through Accurate Labour Costs

To improve profits, manufacturers need to keep tight control of material and labour costs.  When jobs are estimated and quoted to customers, they are based on standard labour times for each manufacturing process.  But when products are moving through your factory, how do you know how accurate the time estimates are? And, if they were not accurate, how do you go about identifying the cause of the problem? It could be that certain operators are slower than others. There could also be process design problems, shortage of components or 101 other possible problems. In this article, I’ll explore a few […] Read more

5 Ways to Increase Manufacturing Productivity with an MES

In order to remain competitive, manufacturers need to maintain high manufacturing productivity – or high revenue generated per employee. Most methods of improving manufacturing productivity begin with a thorough analysis of a company’s systems and manufacturing processes, to eliminate waste and optimise the value-adding processes. Eliminate wasteful processes. Systemise what’s left. Automate wherever possible. When it comes to automating processes, a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) can help. A good MES can automate the manual decision making, data collection and process instructions, that have previously been paper-driven or controlled using a variety of separate IT systems. Read the Ultimate Guide to […] Read more

Digitalising Manufacturing

I visited the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry for a Digitalising Manufacturing Conference, where I had the chance to discuss the benefits that digital manufacturing can bring to manufacturing businesses, and also some of the roadblocks to its full adoption in the UK. Impact of Digital Manufacturing Carlos Lopez Gomez discussed the results of an Innovate UK funded study into the impacts of Digital Manufacturing globally. The study is aiming to collect and analyse evidence on the potential improvements from digital manufacturing. Most predictions of improved manufacturing productivity have focussed on expected, rather than observed impacts. So this Study is […] Read more

Industry 4.0 Guide – An Overview

We are currently experiencing the 4th Industrial Revolution, where machines and manual operations are being connected together to bring the benefits of automation to entire production processes and factories. The term Industry 4.0 was coined in Germany, as a proposed way for SME manufacturing companies to remain competitive and relevant in the future. Business leaders recognised that German manufacturers could not compete with low-cost manufacturing, so they must develop new and innovative manufacturing techniques. “Industry 4.0 is not just about technologies. It is also about new ways of solving problems, creating unique experiences and accelerating business performance.” Bjorn Johansson – […] Read more

Industry 4.0 Guide Part 1 – Creating a Secured Network Factory

The benefits of Industry 4.0 are achieved when computers can collate production data and make production decisions that are currently made manually. The first step to implementing this is connecting each production operation and machine with a secure network connection. Secure Local Networks The majority of installations we have been involved in, have had secure local networks for production lines. These were connected to the internet or corporate network through a gateway computer with TLS/SSL Encryption. The connections between production devices, gateways and the processing & analytics services in the cloud or on corporate networks, must, therefore, have Confidentiality, Integrity […] Read more

Industry 4.0 Guide Part 2 – Connecting Devices Throughout Your Factory

Device Communications Once a secure network that enables a connection between production devices is in place, a system must be created for connecting devices that will allow production machines to communicate with each other. There are two main reasons for enabling production devices to communicate:- 1. Monitor Machinery Status Firstly, acquiring and storing machinery status. Health and production data will enable you to perform machine data analysis to predict its performance. Doing this can also help you decide when and how the machine should be used and ultimately improve its production efficiency and machine utilization. 2. Control The Production Processes […] Read more

Industry 4.0 Guide Part 3 – Connecting Production Operations

Connecting production operations is the first step in creating a paperless factory. This can deliver large increases in production efficiency and reduce the lead time of manufacturing products. Many production systems control product routings manually. A bill of materials and job routing will be developed for a product. It will be printed out and carried along with a product batch, through a factory and various manufacturing operations. This requires planners, supervisors and production operators to review each product routing and also to decide what should happen next to the product batch. By connecting manufacturing processes together, a software system can […] Read more