Blog Post

Excelerate 2017: Day Two Highlights


On day two of Excelerate, eight lively sessions helped participants continue the journey toward the digital thread. Attendees explored Smart Manufacturing best practices with iBASEt experts like Conrad Levia, heard use cases from Solumina users including BAE Systems, Textron, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Cirrus Aircraft and Lockheed Martin, and attended insightful presentations from our partners Hexagon and ATS Global. Read on for recaps of the day’s sessions.

Session One:


“Progress on the Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 Journey”
Conrad Leiva, Vice President of Product Strategy & Alliance, iBASEt

Our own Conrad Leiva started off the day by introducing some market data about top business priorities and manufacturing initiatives in the industry. Gartner studies show that leaders are investing more in IT to support growth initiatives in the recent years. Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing is one of the strategic initiatives many organizations are looking at. Leiva believes that the Consumer Internet of Things is paving the way to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

With equipment getting smarter and connectivity getting easier, it enables us to take automation to the next level. The IIoT will connect Smart Machines in the Smart Factory. Both IIoT and Digital Manufacturing are important building blocks of Smart Manufacturing. According to MESA International, Smart Manufacturing is the intelligent, real-time orchestration and optimization of business, physical and digital processes within factories and across the entire value chain.

Leiva presented a to-do List on the journey to Smart Manufacturing:

  • Review business structure for future market strategy
  • Establish evolution milestones for the journey
  • Nurture new culture around new vision
  • Build partnerships to support the new vision
  • Evolve the information technology infrastructure

To conclude the session, Leiva explained how Manufacturing Intelligence can enhance Execution Intelligence. iBASEt has been working on Manufacturing Intelligence data warehouse so that MI can feed the Business Intelligence. All the data collection, organizational metrics reporting and performance against goals/KPIs can be easily accessible on the new dashboards and reports in iBASEt MI.

Session Two:


“Building Blocks to Connected Manufacturing Processes”
Joshua Stugart, Senior System Analyst, BAE Systems

Joshua Stugart shared BAE Systems’ journey with Solumina to support the connection of digital processes on the road to Smart Manufacturing. Among the issues discussed include deployments across multiple BAE facilities, system support, enhancements over the product lifecycle, and lessons learned to this point.

He outlined both strengths and opportunities:

  • Enhancements give credibility to the project’s drive to meet business needs
  • Communication (You can never over-communicate)


  • Not all functions of your business are always aligned, larger roadmaps exist, making collaboration difficult
  • Immediate decisions affect longer-term strategy
  • More configurations mean a greater delta to be migrated when updating to Solumina G8

After collaborating with iBASEt, a number of steps were taken by BAE, including:

  • Stepping back to keep the larger picture in mind
  • Creating an alliance and awareness across functional towers and streamlining/consolidating efforts
  • Leveraging collective wants and needs to help drive business roadmaps and investments

Additionally, Stugart reviewed a number of specific use cases and applications while giving some final observations on the journey to date:

  • We are similar in operations; “we all make bread”
  • Processes, even between companies, are eerily similar
  • Equipment may be different makes, models, or versions, but functionality is similar
  • Inputs and outputs are typically similar, but formats vary

What Information is Needed:

  • Key pieces of manufacturing-based information processed
  • Common interfaces to interact with systems
  • Secure transmission
  • Data integrity

What Makes this Achievable:

  • Machines performing compliant tasks per project
  • Removing human variables
  • Removing costs associated with non-value added tasks
  • Improving quality

Session Three:


“The Role of Automation Integration in the Digital Thread”

Martin Kelman, Senior MES Consultant, ATS Global

Martin Kelman’s presentation detailed the breakthrough work at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in the UK, in which both ATS and iBASEt are involved in an R&D project (along with Ubisense and Siemens). The project puts the Digital Thread in play on an assembly line for electronics, where each board going down the line can have a different configuration.

Instead of setting up the assembly line in the traditional way (going to each machine, loading the programs, and then running a hundred or a thousand boards through the line), the line may be configured for 20, 30, 40, or more products, identifying the type of product on the circuit board. The equipment on the line then recognizes the board and loads the appropriate programs to it. A complex project, it is a multi-vendor solution, where different vendors are focused on RFID, hardware, middleware, the MES system, or other complementary systems.

This kind of automation integration will take the Digital Thread to expected levels of execution. It also points to a number of areas (e.g., the use of multiple vendors, the efficacy of universal versus proprietary standards) that genuine digital development will entail.

Session Four:


“Modernizing Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Management System”
Ron Dolin, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Los Alamos National Laboratory

One of the nation’s legendary national laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence. While serving this goal, the lab has also housed some of the nation’s most renowned scientists, including J. Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Feynman. On day two of Excelerate, Ron Dolin explained how LANL modernized its manufacturing management system, in part through the implementation of iBASEt’s Solumina for Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

The LANL Production Agency (PA) evolved its manufacturing capability through R&D, leading to limited production. Over time, multiple product lines were independently established. This resulted in nonstandard traveler utilization, NCR management, objective evidence gathering and review, and data management.

As the LANL PA matured, the need for a robust Manufacturing Management Systems (MMS) became increasingly acute as production requirements and regulations became more severe, cycle times needed to improve, and standardization across product lines became imperative for efficiency and effectiveness.

With this in mind, several goals were established:

  • Establish a single MMS used consistently throughout the LANL PA
  • Establish a comprehensive MMS capable of meeting future production schedules
  • Deliver a validated MMS
  • Develop a digital data management foundation

The ultimate data management system LANL PA developed has an MMS at its core. The MMS is simultaneously a data provider and data consumer. Data moves into and out of the MMS tools via networks, with bandwidth and availability impacting productivity. Data availability governs the flow of product along manufacturing lines, while data management defines the post-production utility of manufacturing data.

Dolin further discussed data availability dependencies, the impact of data availability on plant productivity, and data management issues. He concluded with a series of lessons learned from the modernization project:

  • Solumina was the best MES for LANL PA’s goals and objectives
  • Digital data acquisition is “a big deal”
  • To achieve project goals, work instructions need to be integrated into the MES
  • Knowledge/Interface/Transmission (KIT) systems are the glue that marries MRP with MES
  • COTS implemented As-Is is key—change business practices in the company
  • Defined roles and responsibilities between MRP and MES are crucial, but not standardized
  • Dynamic digital product acceptances interface is a part of KIT that has to be developed
  • Developing a robust data management system is foundational (i.e., much bigger than MMS)

Session Five:


“Benefits and Return of Implementing Integrated MES”
Matt Valdez, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Matt Valdez, of Lockheed Martin, presented his experience with implementing the Solumina out-of-the-box solution in less than twelve months at their Pinellas Park site. By minimizing configurations/customization, limiting interfaces and integrating external databases and data sources, they were able to go-live very quickly. Valdez also shared their facility infrastructure where they have rolling carts or pole-arm-mounted dual monitors.

As is with many new initiatives and business transformations, the initial investment might seem quite costly, but Valdez is expecting an exponential return in just five years. Some of the cost savings are already seen in automatic labor collection, documentation control reduction, non-conformances, real-time tool tracking, opportunistic batching and more.

Valdez is pleased to announce that they released, manufactured and shipped products on their first day of deployment. He shared that they have positive shop-floor acceptance overall. Valdez strongly believes that building trust and involvement throughout the process is the key to implementation success.

Session Six:


“Integrating Inspection and Quality Intelligence into the Digital Thread”
Zvonimir Kotnik, Business Unit Manager, Portable, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

Kotnik talked about how quality should not be a barrier to productivity, but instead, quality should drive productivity. Kotnik explained how Hexagon fits into manufacturing DATA lifecycle, S-T-A-R.

  • S for SENSING: Hexagon provides sensing (data collection) devices/technologies to enable them to quickly and reliably “sense” or detect problems within manufacturing processes in real-time.
  • T for THINKING: Hexagon transforms data into structured information using enterprise data management platforms to interpret the process and provide actionable information.
  • A for ACTING: Using actionable information, Hexagon has the ability to implement decisions in real-time, hence enabling process improvements in real-time.
  • R for REAL WORLD: By approaching Quality Control as closed loop and real time response process, Hexagon is minimizing disruption in production processes.

Kotnik then went on to explain how Hexagon and iBASEt’s Solumina work together to provide real-time response by bringing solutions for Sensing, Thinking and Acting to create a new way to operate across manufacturing operations and supply chain. With Hexagon and iBASEt’s partnership, we are enabling our customers to work at the speed they need to compete successfully in the fast-changing world.

Session Seven:


“Lessons Learned from Solumina G7 to G8 Upgrade”
Michelle Roemer, Vice President, IT/Senior Director, IT, Cirrus Aircraft

Michelle Roemer discussed Cirrus Aircraft’s manufacturing overview and MES business objectives along with some production details for specific Cirrus aircraft. The overall production goal was to achieve a scalable system to meet production business requirements.

Roemer made a business case for upgrading from Solumina G7 to G8, citing both overall and specific departmental improvements. After establishing an upgrade project timeline and implementation, she detailed lessons learned and shared along three key dimensions: the integrated project team, test coverage, and end user preparation.

Roemer defined the post implementation challenge as “accelerating the path to benefits realization,” and gave recommendations as how to achieve this process. She offered additional details about Cirrus’ Solumina Competency Center and what to do to facilitate process optimization.

Session Eight:


“Benefits of Rapid MES Deployment”
Marilynn Tucker, PMO project manager, Textron Unmanned Systems

Textron’s Marilynn Tucker pointed out that it is important to set business goals and know what you want to accomplish, and spelled out what Textron wanted to do in terms of expected business outcomes:

  • Increase efficiencies and productivity on the shop floor
  • Improve defect tracking and reporting
  • Increase visibility across operations
  • Establish paperless work orders and instructions, and reduce time looking for work instructions or waiting on corrections and repair instructions
  • Enforce best practices across manufacturing

Her second point was the importance of having a plan. Textron’s had four phases:

Phase 1:

  • Paperless shop floor—pilot area
  • Non-conformance tracking

Phase 2:

  • Integrated non-conformance
  • Receiving inspection, SP6

Phase 3:

  • Business area roll-out

Phase 4:

  • BOM integration and MBOM processing
  • Supplier quality, first article inspection (FAI)

Tucker detailed MES touchpoints for each phase, as well as the integration of MES, ERP, and PLM.

Her final point was to stick to the plan. At Textron, deployment planning called out eight objectives:

  • Use OOB functionality and adapt processes accordingly
  • Use an incremental approach; start pilot area
  • Simplify processes
  • Keep the deployment business outcome-focused
  • Move forward, then expand business processes
  • Reduce the risk normally associated with large deployments
  • Provide faster time to value
  • Improve business processes now

She concluded the presentation with lessons learned in relation to troubleshooting, and eight points about how to make a rapid deployment successful:

  • Gather the right team; balance business SMEs and IT personnel
  • Define the right scope
  • Get and keep executive buy-in
  • Look for ways to use OOB functionality as much as possible
  • Use configuration over customization
  • Fight status-quo assertions
  • Communicate frequently with business areas and make them part of the solution
  • Create a strong partnership with the vendor

Excelerate 2017 – Navigating the Digital Enterprise

If you missed the day one recap, and Excelerate 2017 video, you can always view it here. iBASEt is committed to providing the resources and education that can help make the Digital Thread a reality across complex manufacturing as Industry 4.0 continues to evolve into the standard.


ibaset featuredcustomers