The data derived from manufacturing execution systems (MES) can be utilized in countless ways depending on the user’s needs and complexities.
However, each data point can typically be placed within three key categories within the monitoring process:
- Production Monitoring: counting parts produced and their rate of production
- Process Monitoring: monitoring process variables used in the production cycle
- Quality Monitoring: monitoring the condition of the completed parts produced
While all three pieces can have a profound impact on a manufacturer’s ROI, the benefits of process monitoring may not be as easy to identify.
What is process monitoring?
During process monitoring, an MES measures what is happening during the production cycle and catches anomalies in real time. This could include checking that screws are screwed to the correct depth, plastics molds are heated to the needed temperature, or clamps are placed with the right amount of pressure or at a desired distance from one another. The applications are virtually limitless, and the benefits plentiful.
Process Monitoring in Action
Imagine that a packaging company is in the process of completing a last-minute rerun of a 50,000 piece job that is due to be delivered within 18 hours. Per the production monitoring, the job is on track to be completed in 13.5 hours and set for final assembly by the next shift. After the production staff clocks out for the night and the unmanned production continues, the quality monitoring alerts the production supervisor that the system has begun rejecting 15% of the completed parts and the job is now estimated to be completed in 21 hours. The supervisor checks the system and sees that the process monitoring has alerted that the adhesives temperatures have exceeded the predetermined threshold, resulting in the increase of rejected parts.
Without this information, additional production staff would be required to be called in to replace the faulty machine, and a costly set-up would need to be completed before the job could resume. However, with the insight obtained from the process monitoring, the supervisor can quickly assess the problem and identify the faulty tool. The entire machine no longer needs to be changed, as the faulty tool can be easily exchanged and the job resumed in a fraction of the time.
Process monitoring can have a significant impact on a manufacturer’s bottom line, which is why it is advisable to consider its implications when assessing your company’s MES needs.
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