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Use IIoT data sensibly with an MES

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If the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the technological future of production, do you still need traditional systems such as an MES? We explain what use both technologies have, what the differences are and why you benefit most from a combination of both.

Table of contents

1. What is IIoT and how can it be used in production?

Put simply, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the endeavor to connect processes, people, machines, sensors and more using the internet. The various players exchange data in order to work together in a single digital network.

An application example: A classic application example of IIoT is predictive maintenance. In this scenario, sensors are attached to systems or machines to continuously record data such as temperature, vibration, noise or energy consumption. The data is then analyzed to identify patterns that may indicate an impending failure or the need for maintenance.

Thanks to this early detection of problems, maintenance work can be better planned and carried out before a machine breaks down. This prevents costly breakdowns and helps you to extend the service life of the machines.

2 What is an MES and what function does it fulfill?

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) support production planning and control. They provide a digital image of production and monitor manufacturing processes in real time. The system is fed with operating and machine data, among other things. An MES helps with resource planning, quality assurance, documentation and often offers analysis functions to improve performance.

So while IIoT focuses on networking and data acquisition, an MES concentrates on processing and using this data to optimize and control production processes. Both technologies complement each other to create an efficient and intelligent manufacturing environment.

Back to the application example: Here, the IIoT was used for predictive maintenance in the manufacturing industry. In this scenario, an MES would play a central role: In the context of IIoT, the MES integrates the collected data from the sensors and performs the following functions:

  • Data integration and analysis: The MES collects and analyzes the data transmitted by the IIoT sensors. It can detect when machines are running outside of optimal parameters, which could indicate an imminent need for maintenance.

  • Maintenance planning and controlThe MES plans plant maintenance based on the analysis results. It can automatically generate maintenance orders and forward them to the responsible personnel.

  • Production planningThe MES dynamically adjusts the production plan to take maintenance work into account. As a result, production is affected as little as possible by maintenance.

  • Resource managementThe MES not only monitors the machine resources and their maintenance, but also the availability of other resources such as personnel, spare parts or tools required for maintenance.

  • Quality managementThe MES also ensures product quality. Correctly maintained and adjusted machines lead to fewer deviations and errors in products.

  • Documentation and reportingThe MES documents maintenance activities and provides reports for analyzing and continuously improving production processes.

Whitepaper: How much you can save with an MES

Before any investment, it is worthwhile to perform a return-of-investment (ROI) calculation. However, when implementing an ME system, it can be complicated to accurately quantify the benefits and potential savings. This white paper gives you concrete recommendations for action to arrive at meaningful numbers. It identifies success factors to ensure that your MES implementation leads to the desired results.

Cover page to the whitepaper: This is how much you can save with MES - a cost-benefit analysis, illustrated on a tablet.

3. What are the advantages of combining IIoT and MES?

Combining IIoT and MES has a number of advantages for you:

  1. Increased system availability: With predictive maintenance, users can identify potential problems at an early stage and rectify them before your systems fail or produce incorrectly. The MES helps to integrate maintenance work efficiently into the production process.
  2. Optimized production efficiency: IIoT sensors provide real-time data about your machine performance and production processes. The MES uses this information to optimize processes, identify and avoid bottlenecks and increase overall efficiency.
  3. Improved product quality: As your systems constantly monitor production processes and machine performance, you can identify and rectify quality problems more quickly. This leads to consistently higher product quality.
  4. Reduced operating costs: If you identify and rectify problems at an early stage, you will have to carry out fewer expensive emergency repairs and put up with unplanned downtime. At the same time, optimization helps to reduce material and energy costs.
  5. Improved decision making: The combination of MES and IIoT provides a wealth of data and analytics to help you make informed decisions about processes and investments.
  6. Flexibility and scalability: A modern MES is the prerequisite for integrating new IIoT devices and sensors more easily and collecting additional data.
  7. Transparency and traceability: The combination of IIoT and MES enables complete transparency of your production processes. Every step in the manufacturing process can be tracked. This is particularly important in industries with special traceability requirements (e.g. the pharmaceutical industry).

Overall, you can modernize your production processes, increase efficiency, reduce costs and increase your competitiveness if you combine IIoT and MES in your company.

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