Flexibility provides industrial manufacturers with the means of succeeding in a competitive environment, and this is the objective of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). As one of the first suppliers of such systems, MPDV Mikrolab presented a solution at the 2005 Hanover Industry Fair that adds MES functions to mySAP ERP. The solution keeps the user informed via online views, known as dashboards, that mySAP ERP makes available for the manufacturing level.
The end of the isolated solution
In order to provide manufacturing companies with the maximum possible benefit, the MES system works with mySAP ERP to fulfill a range of criteria. It is easily adaptable and fully scaleable as its operating system, database, and network technology are based purely on standards. It supports the popular interfaces to SAP applications, integrating the heterogeneous world of production lines and machines that has developed organically over time in manufacturing companies into mySAP ERP.
The mySAP ERP-integrated MES also enables information to be distributed according to need, for instance to company management, works managers, maintenance managers, or quality controllers. Hydra provides analyses right up to the very latest processing status for each individual job. The user interface can be easily customized. It enables users to evaluate manufacturing processes according to their own specifications.
For the MES to remain future-proof, it must be able to integrate the whole spectrum of systems within a manufacturing company, from access control through to quality assurance. This enables the isolated solutions still commonly encountered in manufacturing to be overcome.
Communication between production units
To provide for the integration of mySAP ERP across the range of manufacturing organizations and industries, MES needs to support all technologies commonly used on the automation layer within the industry. The MPDV “Manufacturing Link Enabling” module ensures consistent communication between the manufacturing units and the SAP Production Planning, Materials Management, Maintenance, and Quality Management modules. This is managed via the corresponding SAP interfaces, such as PP-PDC for manufacturing jobs, MM-MOB for material movements, PP-POI for scheduling data, or QM-IDI for quality data.
For instance, this enables the pool of orders to be adopted from production planning and wage-ticket reports created, or material movements in production to be passed to materials management. During machine downtime, maintenance jobs can be generated automatically, which are then implemented by the Manufacturing Execution System. The portal user can directly access the status information in the SAP portal via the “Machine and job status view” iViews.
To achieve full integration of the automation and machine level, the MES Hydra provides a module that supports a standardized connection of all machine interfaces and control systems via networks commonly in use in the industry, such as the OPC and Euromap protocols, and also enables recording of further digital or analog signals. This Process Communication Controller (HYDRA-PCC) also supports use of scales and RFID identification technology for the mySAP ERP user in production.
Alerts and KPI Watchlist
The Enterprise Portal in mySAP ERP, which may take the form of a Plant Manager Dashboard, supplies alerts to the portal user in case of critical situations in manufacturing, such as machine malfunctions or infringement of job specifications or quality specifications. This information is supplied by Hydra via an alert monitor on the dashboard.
Hydra also defines the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The KPIs highlight key manufacturing process characteristics for processing status, plant utilization, and scrap rates. For instance, the Overall Equipment Efficency Index (OEE) can be included in the KPI Watchlist. This indicator, which measures the efficiency of all production lines, is made up of measurements that Hydra defines and calculates individually for each machine. The user can read the current development of the OEE – along with any deviations upwards or downwards – from the KPI Watchlist.
The user can access detailed information from the KPI Watchlist directly in MES at the click of a mouse. This information includes unscheduled downtimes for individual machines and malfunction analyses. To achieve this, Hydra uses the drill-down technology of SAP NetWeaver, which, similar to a zoom function, displays the status down to the individual machine. The user does not need to exit the portal environment, and Hydra provides the information needed to analyze the deviations that are displayed in the KPI Watchlist.
A “workshop control system” controls individual production areas that are planned in mySAP ERP and SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization (SAP APO). The MES implements this planning by identifying deviations early on and quickly reporting them back to SAP. The MES monitors available staff, materials, and the status of the production lines, enabling active intervention in the production process via the MES.
The material monitoring function in MES enables users to monitor the flow of materials through all production stages. Further, information about material movements in production is available at all times, which provides for a smooth production process and avoids downtime due to material shortages.
Due to the fact that MPDV’s MES Hydra uses SAP NetWeaver integration technologies, the solution bears the “Powered by SAP NetWeaver” certificate.