Improved Decision Making Quality with Real-Time Data

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Managers in enterprises need automated systems to make the right decision, and by taking control of the work process they are able to ensure their policies are executed. Nowadays most managers make decisions based on the reports submitted by the IT department and production department. Without the production line being connected to the IT system, it is not easy for the managers to make precise decisions. Nevertheless, the good news is that as the open standards of IT, OT, and CT are getting more recognized and accepted in recent years, and the spirit and application of Industry 4.0 becomes mature, all the global leading enterprises are actively implementing Industry 4.0 and enterprise war room to their premises to provide comprehensive real-time information to enhance competitiveness.

 

Piece systems together makes maintenance difficult

Enterprise war room, is a facility to identify the critical path of operation and monitor it in a visualized way. Ideally the management level need to keep a close eye on four major business critical issues- change of the market, price fluctuations of main raw materials, increase and decrease of key inventory, delays in accounts receivable; as well as other four major production efficiency of the equipment- delivery rate, production rate, capacity utilization rate, equipment availability rate. Data and signals will be tracked and analyzed among the layers between the production site and enterprise IT systems.

Normally ERP only shows the performance result as the reference for future decision-making. However, in an industry which time and cost are of the essence (e.g. electronics manufacturing), pre-planning plays a more important role than the analysis of aftermath.

Most business owners choose MES system to improve productivity, but many of them spend a fortune without achieving the expected goal because the MES system is not connected to the data from the production equipment. Besides, most of the enterprise war room solution on the market is pieced by Business Intelligence Note 1 and SCADA Note 2 software, not only costly, but also requires plenty of customized programming effort, as result making maintenance difficult.  

 

 

Software for enterprise war room application development

The iX Developer is the professional visualization software developed by Beijer Electronics. The performance and stability were proven over the years by millions of sets industrial control units sold along with this state-of-the-art software.

The iX Developer has more than 200 built-in PLC protocols, which covers the connectivity to all major brands of PLC all over the world. In addition, iX Developer also has all the mainstream open standards which IT engineers are familiar with, including MQTT, Restful API, Web Service, FTP Server, OPC UA Server and Client, SQLite and Java script. With the protocols and standards equipped with iX Developer, we are able to connect the data in the machines, whether old or new, to the enterprise war room. IT engineers then can use the built-in C# runtime engine to make programs to send data into ERP, MES or PLM system, thus completing the integration work which is often considered the most difficult part of building a smart manufacturing plant.

 

Take Beijer Electronics’ own factory as an example. We use a barcode scanner connected to an iX runtime embedded X2 Pro HMI to read the work order number, and a series of SQLite queries will be triggered in the C# code of iX program. The C# scripted program extracts data from our ERP database and shows the relevant information about the work order such as planned quantity, production parameters, types and quantities of raw material…etc on the screen. Once the operator confirms the information on the screen is correct, the production parameters are sent to the controller for production automatically. In the meantime the execution status of the orders is displayed on the enterprise war room, allowing the decision makers to get insights at a glance with the visualized information.

 

The IIoT solution for smart manufacturing by Beijer Electronics is highly suitable for the integration of operational data (status, formula, parameters, production quantity, etc.) of environmental safety, production equipment and machine tools. What’s more beneficial is that the whole engineering process does not require any modification to the controller program inside the existing equipment, or customization to the current enterprise system. All you need to do is connecting data with our ready-for-use controller protocols and the open IT standards in iX Developer.

 

 

Note 1: Business intelligence means taking the systematic data in ERP, MRS, PLM system, or unstructured data such as CSV, TXT, etc, to a data warehouse or data supermarket after Extraction, Transformation, and Loading of the data. Then through OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) technology to integrate the data into a multidimensional structure (cube) to improve query speed.

Note 2: The SCADA system is made up of a data acquisition system and a data transmission system to provide centralized monitoring and control for process inputs and outputs. The SCADA system is designed to collect on-site information, and transmit it to a computer system, and display this information in the form of images or texts.