For companies to properly utilize MES, matching the functionality of the original MES design to its real life operations is important. By understanding the various types of MES and their differences, manufacturers can zero in on their company’s specific needs to select a suitable and effective platform. This blog discusses what the five categories of MES:
- Continuous Process MES
Continuous Process MES is centered around the use of multiple monitoring tools for per-second basis tracking. Recipes and process parameters are continuously monitored, demanding intimate linkage to machines for data collection of millions of data values within a SCADA system. Traceability demands, however, will go no further than a per-lot basis. Processes are hardwired into the control screens to maintain a standard.
- Pharmaceutical MES
While this MES type still requires per-second basis monitoring, Pharmaceutical MES also requires lot and sub-lot traceability, and highly controlled software development, testing and validation processes due to heavy regulatory demands. Documentation requirements, for example, have to satisfy the rigor of U.S FDA standards. These systems must cater to proper protocol to ensure compliance to the FDA’s right to audit and access MES records at any time.
- Consumer Electronics
With everything designed around circuit board assembly, consumer electronics encompass a completely different world in manufacturing. Robots work at breakneck speed, placing components on boards. Defect rates must be kept below 20 parts per million. Most of these process and functions can only be managed by this specific MES type.
- Automotive MES
Automotive MES is a highly specialized form. It emphasizes front-end simulation and process and tool validation. This type of system comprises of assembly lines that follow highly scripted routings moving at a much slower pace per part than within Consumer Electronics. Lines are also set up for multiple modes with variable outputs and traceability is handled via built-in production device chips.
- Complex Discrete MES
Complex Discrete MES is tailored around the shop floor technician. Involving visual instruction and numerous forms of data collection, this MES category often only works with one product. Instead of working with dozens to millions of products, Complex Discrete MES will focus on only one plane, one submarine, or one MRI machine. With this manufacturing type, many design changes are incorporated throughout the design and manufacturing processes. Serial tracking is also unique to this MES type.
Vendors operating within a vertical platform may wish to expand into other types of MES. Here, the usual approach is to generalize product and customize their manufacturing solutions to match their environment. Many enterprise software vendors seek to carry their advantage in certain markets into MES. For example, a large ERP, PLM or CRM vendor who has achieved success with generic tools will acquire a MES vendor in hopes of carrying a standardized philosophy into the new market. However, how valuable is an MES system that integrates CRM databases, yet doesn’t adequately tackle the intricacies of MES? Not very…
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