What is an MES system?

An MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is a software system used in the manufacturing industry to monitor, control, and optimize production in real-time. It helps ensure efficiency, quality, and compliance in the manufacturing process, improve production performance, increase product quality, and reduce costs.

MES support processes at the production line level and serve as an interface between ERP systems at the enterprise level and the machines and equipment at the manufacturing level.

The functions and tasks of MES-sytems are definied in the VDI5600 guideline.

The role of MES in industrial manufacturing

At the enterprise level, ERP systems are used to manage various business functions such as finance, procurement, sales, and human resources. These systems provide a comprehensive overview of the entire company’s activity and assist in resource planning, order processing, and strategic decision-making.

On the other hand, MES operate at the production line level. They receive orders to be executed in real-time and break them down into operations. Based on this, MES allow for the resource-optimal planning of the operations required for manufacturing on the available machines, taking into account various constraints.

Die Grafik stellt drei Ebenen der betrieblichen Datenverarbeitung in produzierenden Unternehmen dar. Unten befindet sich die Fertigungsebene, auf der sich die Maschinen und Anlagen befinden. Darüber liegt die Fertigungsleitebene, auf der ein MES-System eingesetzt wird. Oben in der Hierarchie steht die Unternehmensebene mit einem ERP-System. Die aneinandergrenzenden Ebenen tauschen jeweils in beide Richtungen Daten aus.

At the production level, the manufacturing machines and equipment on the shop floor transmit all relevant data for production control, such as production of good parts, scrap, as well as the start and end of disruptions and other downtimes, to the MES in real-time. This increases transparency in the manufacturing process and allows for continuous monitoring of production progress.

Building upon the machine data, MES enable the analysis of production processes and provide performance parameters such as availability, produced quantities, quality losses, OEE, and more. Based on these metrics, weaknesses and issues can be identified and addressed accordingly.

Datenanalyse in der Fertigung

What benefits does an MES offer?

A Manufacturing Execution System offers a variety of benefits for the manufacturing industry, including:

Real-time monitoring: MES enables real-time monitoring of production processes and swift response to issues or deviations.

Increased efficiency: MES can help boost production efficiency by automating processes and simplifying performance monitoring.

Improved quality control: MES facilitate the monitoring and documentation of quality control processes, ensuring higher product quality.

Data collection: MES collect and store extensive production data, which can be used for analysis and decision-making.

Data analysis: MES calculate various KPIs and provide different visualizations to present important information to different user groups at a glance.

Cost savings: MES can help save costs by optimizing workflows and streamlining production monitoring.

Integration with other systems: MES can often be integrated with other systems, such as ERP or SCADA, to provide comprehensive support for manufacturing processes.

Increased transparency: MES provide real-time information on the progress of all orders, enabling quick and reliable fulfillment of customer information needs.

Overall, a well-implemented MES can play a crucial role in improving production performance, quality control, and efficiency enhancement.

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