What Kind of MES Do You Need?

Posted by John Clemons on October 8, 2013 @ 8:58 am

Asking yourself a few questions about what your manufacturing execution system needs to do can help sort out a large and complex project.

shutterstock_135182663I often have people ask me questions like, “Which MES should we use?” Or, “What kind of MES should we get?” My short answer is always, “What kind of MES do you need?” That’s always the best place to start, asking yourself what you need. What are your requirements? What are the business needs? That usually starts a much longer discussion on MESs in general and then gets into ... Continue Reading

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Network Architecture Of The Future: It’s Now

Posted by Robert Henderson on October 1, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

Plan your process networks long before you need them.

We have all seen the situation: a new piece of equipment has to be connected to some network right now, because the facility manager has labeled it critical and it must appear on the monthly reports. So it gets tied into the nearest network, or perhaps an odd gateway is installed to connect it to an existing system, or maybe we have to install an extra communications module to let it talk over some other protocol. Next month, we go through a similar process when a new interlock between unconnected equipment needs to be installed, so we rig something up to get from A to B. Follow this process for a few years and the process control network diagrams begin to look like spaghetti. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can future-proof your networks by building a detaile... Continue Reading

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New Ideas for Quality Management – Part 6

Posted by John Clemons on September 26, 2013 @ 7:29 am

As I promised last time, I’m finally wrapping up this topic on the management of manufacturing quality. If you’ve been following all this, you’ll know that there are lots of cool new ideas out there and lots of cool new technology as well. It all means that you can have a pretty big impact on the shop floor and a pretty big impact on the bottom line for your company. Long RoadWhat I thought I’d do with this post is try to wrap up this topic, and try to give you a bit of a road map on how to make some changes and how to get from where you are to where you want to be. But, before I start I guess I need to mention a few things... Continue Reading

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Planning I&E Activities For Control System Migration Projects

Posted by Shane Hudson on September 24, 2013 @ 10:34 am

While some of these elements may seem relatively minor, dealing with them early in the planning process keeps them from becoming major problems.

A comprehensive—hardware and software—control system migration project normally involves some combination of the following engineering activities:
  • Control systemControl system database development
  • Control logic and function block programming
  • Batch programming
  • HMI graphical user interface development
  • HMI alarming, and
  • I&E (instrumentation and electr... Continue Reading

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IT Support of Industrial Control Networks

Posted by Jason Montroy on September 20, 2013 @ 6:37 am

Ask most plant personnel what they think of IT support for their industrial control systems (ICS) and you’re likely to receive a barrage of complaints in response. But why?

Jason Montroy discusses the relationship of IT and OT, and suggests how networks can support remote monitoring and services.

It’s no secret these days that information technologies (IT) and operations technologies (OT) are continually merging. In the past, two different groups built and managed the dichotomy: OT ran the plant; IT managed the plant’s information. Today, modern OT resides within IT networks. While it’s still clear... Continue Reading

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