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38 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2019 IIoT-based Digital MES Manufacturing execution systems (MES) were once controlled with paper and a log- book. The paper travelled with the group of products being made, from process to process, to inform each stage of the operation what setup requirements had to be made. The resul- tant events were then written into a logbook. With the introduction of computerization, nothing really changed other than the process became faster and more efficient. Informa- tion about work orders could be accessed on a computer. Barcodes could be used to eliminate manual records and provide flow control with data captured from machines to show what had been done. It was not a revolution, how- ever, as legacy solutions were set up to follow the historical need rather than carve out the path for the future. The required time-space compression has only now been achieved through the adop- tion of IIoT-based communication, now most strongly represented by the IPC-2591 Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) standard. The break- through is that any and all processes, auto- mated or manual, are now connected to each other and to fac- tory systems in real time with a specifically defined language con- tent that makes them plug-and-play. With native CFX support, data exchange is a mere fraction of the diffi- culty and cost of any other con- nection method. The digital MES is specifically designed to utilize CFX data to create the context of events and opportunities across the plethora of equip- ment and process types, building a true "big- data" digital model of the live manufactur- ing operation. Real-time dashboards, alarms, reports, tracking, flow control, process trace- ability, etc., are all elevated to the next level of accuracy and detail. But the true revolu- tion comes in the way that software—which many now call artificial intelligence or (AI)— can start to make or offer real decisions for changes, supporting continuous micro-correc- tions as issues and opportunities arise, and more importantly, as customers change their delivery requirements. In this way, high-mix, small-lot production can be done without the traditional overhead of lost productivity due to inefficient changeover through the utilization of digital manufacturing engineering. Lean Material Management (Supply Chain) Being the most expensive aspect of manu- facturing, materials have always been over- managed. Any mistake can cause huge quality issues, and shortages can cause serious on- time delivery-related problems. No other area of manufacturing has been allowed to waste money in the way that materials continue to do for most assembly manufacturing oper- ations. Materials have tradition- ally been supplied to manu- facturing in the form of kits, which ensure all materials are present, such that the whole work order can run without the risk of material starvation. The overhead of pushing kits out into manufacturing is essentially narrow- mindedness in the extreme. Even for high- volume manufacturing, it didn't work, as work orders were too big to make kits for, and daily kit requirements were never understood correctly due to material spoilage and attrition. For small- quantity work orders, the oversupply of mate- rials becomes the issue, as most materials are supplied on bulk carriers, the supply of which will far exceed the need to complete the work order in a kit in almost every case. Putting together the attrition and over-supply con- ditions, even computerizations within tradi- tional MES could not keep track of significant

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