Understanding ISA 95: A Must for the Manufacturing Evangelist

Posted by Nick Schleich on August 28, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

In this post, I would like to share ideas relating to operations management and software development within the problem domain of manufacturing. For this discussion, I will draw on my experience in an industrial / manufacturing engineering capacity within various discrete manufacturing organizations, as a quality engineer for a leading HMI vendor, and as a software developer for control system firms. The ISA 95 specification can assist in this discussion. As many are aware, the ISA 95 specification encompasses the modeling of the maintenance, quality, logistics, and pro... Continue Reading

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How Recipes and Specs Impact Your Entire Company – Part 2

Posted by John Clemons on August 22, 2012 @ 7:37 am

The last time we talked about recipes and specifications I made a big point that while only a few people in the company were responsible for managing recipes and specifications, almost every single person in the company used some data from the recipes and specifications at some time or the other. I hope you’ve had some time to think about this.  And, I bet you’ve come to the conclusion that I may not be 100% correct in that everyone in the company uses the recipes and specifications from time to time, but you realize that there are a lot more people that use the recipes and specifications than you ever thought about before. So, this time, I’d like to talk about one other aspect of the recipes and specifications that is very important.  And, I’d like to frame it in terms of some questions. Continue Reading

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4 Steps to Keep Your DCS Migration Docs Current

Posted by Bruce Brandt on August 15, 2012 @ 9:34 am

I sat through a demo the other day of a software application that extracts all the information from your control system and puts it into an offline readable format that the user can query to create custom reports. While it is a wonderfully done package, it would be absolutely useless in many of the plants I’ve visited recently. Most of those plants are in the process of migrating their existing obsolete systems to a platform with current technology. While you might think a package like the one I saw would be perfect for documenting the before state of the migration, in reality it only covers the DCS or PLC in a lot of facilities. The problem is the number of things exter... Continue Reading

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How Recipes and Specs Impact Your Entire Company – Part 1

Posted by John Clemons on August 8, 2012 @ 8:16 am

Everyone knows recipes and specifications. They know that they have them and they use them and so on. And, they know that they have a group or department, probably part of R&D, that’s ultimately responsible for all the recipes and specifications. But, what most people probably don’t know is how widespread the use of the recipes and specifications are throughout the company. While it’s true that only a very small number of people in R&D can actually change a recipe or specification, the number of people in the company that use recipes and specifications is quite large. Continue Reading

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How Agile Are You? Software Development In MES

Posted by Tom Gill on August 7, 2012 @ 9:47 am

Over the last few years, MES (manufacturing execution system) packages have appeared that provide the database framework and programming interfaces to collect, process and provide standardized information links between the production floor below and the ERP (enterprise resource planning) business system above. Even so called “configurable” packages usually require extensive custom coding since the built-in functional capabilities are usually insufficient to handle all but the simplest manufacturing processes and integration to current installed information systems. The reality... Continue Reading

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