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JUL-AUG 2018

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INTECH JULY/AUGUST 2018 31 AUTOMATION IT MESA President Mike Yost also notes that the more recent conversations about smart manu- facturing, which relies on digital data and infor- mation, have played a key role. "It's sharpening the focus on what we've been doing for three decades," he says. This resurgence in interest in MES is borne out in recent research that MESA conducted in part- nership with LNS Research. Andrew C. Hughes, LNS principle analyst, said in a presentation at MESA's annual North American conference, "We're talking to quite a lot of companies that are thinking of implementing MES for the first time simply because they've realized that man- ufacturing data has to be part of their business." Companies that are trying to become more digi- tal in the next two to three years—however they define that—are saying that MES is becoming a strategic part of that effort, he added. Smart manufacturing connection Still, "within manufacturing there's the sense we've been doing this forever," Clemons says, referring to the digital monitoring and control of plant floor processes. In a way, the concept of "smart manufacturing" is a misnomer, he says. "We've always been doing smart manufactur- ing; we haven't been doing dumb manufactur- ing," Clemons asserts. "From the very beginning MES has always been smart manufacturing, be- cause it's always been about solving real prob- lems on the factory floor." Many manufacturers, he argues, started their smart manufacturing journey years ago—before we even called it smart manufacturing—by imple- menting MES or manufacturing operations man- agement systems. For good measure, he points out that one could argue that the evolution of digital manufacturing can be traced back further, to computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM), or even further to the introduction of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) on the factory floor. Much of the debate about MES' role in smart manufacturing revolves around attempts to de scribe the new technologies, which can be dif- ficult considering all the constituencies. MES is broadly and hierarchically understood to be the "middle layer" in the technology stack, between plant-level process controls, such as PLCs, dis - tributed control systems, and supervisory control and data acquisition, and the business systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP). As MES technology has evolved, the bound- aries between those layers have shifted. Many vendors seeking differentiation incorporated capabilities that were not originally part of MES. At the same time, other vendors offered vertical systems, such as those focused on quality, while insisting that these applications are something different from MES. "I tell everybody there are many different ways to do anything you want in the MES space, and any given product that you buy overlaps with a dozen other products," Clemons says. For exam - ple, a manufacturer can buy a quality applica- tion, or can obtain quality components by buy- ing a broader solution from Siemens, Rockwell, or SAP. Also, most of the control systems claim to offer quality components. For the record, MESA's view is that "MES is not really intended to be any particular software so- lution; in most cases it's not even a single solu- tion," Clemons explains. "In the broadest defini- tion, MES is any kind of operational system that allows you to run the manufacturing plant from receiving to shipping." That includes "intel- ligence, reporting and analytics, and touching into supply chain and other areas," Yost adds. This conversation about what MES is and does may seem academic, but it sits at the crux of un- derstanding the future of smart manufacturing. One company's realization That is what Trelleborg AB discovered as it launched its "production intelligence" (PI or π) initiative. (The company adopted "PI" as an umbrella term, otherwise known as smart man- ufacturing, Industry 4.0, or IIoT.) MES fits into the computer hierarchy as defined in the widely used ANSI/ ISA-95 Enterprise-Control System Integration series of standards. ISA-95 is all about the automation interface between enterprise and control systems, and MES is part of this interface. ISA-95 provides normalization, including standard terminology and structure for the interface between enterprise and control systems. ISA-95 is fundamental for manufacturing automa - tion and has been adopted worldwide as IEC/ISO 62264. It is also being adopted for new Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things applications. Key ISA-95 functions are: • defines in detail a model of the enterprise, including manufacturing con - trol functions and business functions, and its information exchange • provides common terminology for the description and understanding of the enterprise, including manufacturing control functions and business process functions, and its information exchange • defines electronic information exchange between the manufacturing control functions and other enterprise functions, including data models and exchange definitions Further enhancing adoption, the B2MML XML implementation of ISA- 95 provides a set of XML schemas written using the World Wide Web Consortium's XML Schema Definition (XSD) language that implement the data models in the ISA-95 standards. n MES and ANSI/ISA-95 hierarchy

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