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MES: The Plant Floor Data Translator

Jul 4, 2024

With so many functions, it’s no wonder that all this disparate plant information must be standardized so that an MES application can easily interpret it. After translation and organization of the data, MES applications provide the operators and supervisors information to optimize operations.

Without a structured MES enablement approach, however, the process of collecting valid data is onerous. The information gathered for presentation to the MES applications is not limited to a single line or even plant—most MES programs are intended for implementation at numerous facilities. If the data isn’t standardized, funneled and consistent from each line and piece of equipment, the potential for inconsistency and errors expand.

A major challenge to MES enablement is obsolete PLCs. Obsolete PLCs are often unable to meet the Ethernet communication requirements of a new MES system. In many cases, the unit itself is too aged and cannot be modified to provide the necessary data. In such cases, it is necessary to upgrade or replace the antiquated controller to allow reliable connection to the system.

A plan for enablement

The most important step to standardize and enable plant floor data for the MES application is developing a plan for the collection of the data that includes all the facilities that will access the MES applications. The plan must address the physical connections, the software concentration strategy, the rules for measurement of KPIs and a process for addressing outliers.

This plan can be challenging and, therefore, can benefit from insights provided by a partner integration firm. If you choose to work with a partner for the plan and eventual implementation, your partner should have a deep understanding of all the data devices and process equipment found on your plant floor and know how to extract the data from each. Additionally, the partner should have the scale to address the project as it rolls out to the multiple facilities.

Matt Ruth is President and CEO at Avanceon, a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association  (CSIA). For more information about Avanceon, visit its profile on the CSIA Industrial Automation Exchange.

Original Article: https://www.automationworld.com/communication/article/33009692/mes-the-plant-floor-data-translator

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