Domain Consultants in the Innovation and Transformation Group within the Manufacturing business unit of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Factory 4.0 is a game changer and will be upon us within next 20 years
The question is how it will change the current processes and what all it could do for us? There is no doubt that automation and information technology integration has been part of the manufacturing processes and smart factories are the future. But the granularity of its impact is still being defined by industry experts. Some concepts of Factory 4.0 are in practice and some are being evolved.
Factory 4.0 means, impacting the manufacturing processes, of a plant that are governed by the manufacturing execution system (MES). MES is a control system to execute, monitor, track and report operations taking place on the plant floor in real time. Assume that you are a MES expert who is endowed with intricate detail of it. You establish MES and make the factory run on it. What are your thoughts on the evolution of MES with factory 4.0? How is the Internet of Things (IoT) going to impact your work?
In the world of cut throat competition between brands, the manufacturing systems are expected to provide a better value to customer with minimum lead times. MES are good and evolving. These are going to be smarter and wiser. MES and Internet of Things can open new possibilities in the factory processes; empowering the management and control of processes in detail, improving accuracy of planning with real time data and eliminating pervasive faults across the manufacturing value chain.
IoT is a transformative, disruptive technology. It can enable MES to securely connect smart things, quickly manage processes and easily analyze data. Ultimately transforming the current manufacturing landscape. The reconfiguration of MES with factory 4.0 can be coined as Manufacturing Execution System 4.0 (MES 4.0).
Does it mean MES 4.0 is different from the original MES? How will the present processes of MES change? To what extent MES needs configuration? Can MES 4.0 really happen?
MES4.0 will happen. How it will impact the current state of MES can only be predicted.
MES works along the four pillars of manufacturing (PQIM), production management, inventory management, maintenance management and quality management under the guidance of ISA95 model. Integrating the four pillars with smart objects to do smart work can make a MES driven factory ‘A Smart Factory’. It conceptualizes the MES 4.0 as well.
MES 4.0 can be structured with an analysis of the eight activities areas – resource management, detailed scheduling, tracking, analysis, dispatching, definition, data collection, and execution management of the four functional areas (pillars) PQIM with Internet of Things. The analysis can answer our most of the questions. It can, specially, tell us about as-is state of MES and to-be state of MES 4.0
The good news is, the analysis is already underway. Let the curious among you be more curious. Keep the curiosity and your anticipation alive till the next blog comes with more updates on Factory 4.0.
- Click here for additional information on the IIC Smart Factory Task Group
- Click here for the Smart Factory Edition of the Journal of innovation