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Manufacturing Execution Systems

MES isn't a specific technology, but more of a general description for many components. A good way to look at MES is as a bridge between ERP and the production environment. ERP takes the order and plans production while PLC, HMI, SCADA and of course people do the actual production work. MES keeps those systems in step - providing instructions to the production environment and reporting progress back up to management and sales (and in some cases even customers).

MES can be implemented in many ways and can include many different technologies. In a fully integrated system, the MES will automatically process new orders as they are scheduled by your ERP (or APS) and will process data from HMI/SCADA systems back into ERP and Business Information systems. Often, custom dashboards will display WIP and planned jobs on large displays throughout the shop floor. These displays keep production workers informed and help plant managers take quick status checks without having to return to their offices.


Key Technologies

  • ERP >

    ERP is the core component of modern manufacturing systems. Read More
  • MES >

    MES extends the traditional network to the shop floor. Read More
  • APS >

    Advanced Planning & Scheduling is the next evolution of MRP. Read More
  • PLM >

    Product Lifecycle Management helps merge engineering and ERP Read More
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Event Driven Systems

ERP systems are "data-driven", in other words an ERP system responds to the data being input. By contrast, MES is event-drive, or data is created in response to events. User intervention in an MES is typically limited to the recording or approving of an event - labor entry on a job or assigning a reason for machine downtime. This keeps MES interfaces very simple and often only requires handheld computers or tables for all user functions.

An MES will receive orders from ERP and deliver them to shop floor interfaces (PCs, PLCs, HMI, DNC). As work is performed the events triggered by labor entry, bar code/RFID movements and/or HMI/SCADA systems are captured by the MES to be recorded and reported back to the ERP, Executive Dashboards or even customer portals. MES provides a clear view of what is happening, where it is happening and with proper configuration even why it is happening.

Common Components of MES

MES can be as simple or complex as your environment requires. Most start out with one component and grow as your needs evolve. Some of the common components found in MES today are:

  • Bar Code
  • Digital Signage
  • Labor Collection Terminals
  • Downtime Reporting
  • Nesting/Material Optimization
  • RFID
  • Executive Dashboard
  • Machine Monitoring
  • Quality Control/SPC
  • Shop Travelers/Document Control
  • Automated Material Handling
  • DNC
  • Industrial Vision Systems
  • Work Instruction/Recipe Management
  • Product Data Management


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