MES project execution: 3 mistakes to avoid

Posted by William Zupon on July 16, 2014 @ 10:08 am

Here are a few basic guidelines to help ensure your next MES project is successful.

For those of you who have had the opportunity to work on a manufacturing execution system (MES) implementation project, you know they can be very large and complex. Consequently, there are many things that can go wrong if not properly executed. An MES project, in addition to its project specific functionality, provides the link between plant floor control systems and corporate level business systems. I have seen a very simple transaction manager with limited capability, as well as complex multi-location MES installations. Both were called MES. The exact boundaries of the MES will most likely depend on the customer and the current systems they have in place. An MES installation can be custom developed, or “off-the-shelf” MES software packages can be purchased from many different supplier... Continue Reading

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Enterprise batch records: Data collection

Posted by John Clemons on July 9, 2014 @ 10:53 am

A commonly asked question about enterprise batch records is how do you get data into them? Many devices can be recruited for this, and once they are set up the benefits reap themselves. I’ve talked before about enterprise batch records and I’ve received a good bit of feedback on the topic. Much thanks to everyone that’s shared their thoughts and ideas on the subject. One of the questions that I get a lot is about how you get all that data into the enterprise batch records. So, I thought I’d spend a little time talking about data collection. When someone asks me about getting data into the enterprise batch records, the first thing I tell them is that they’re right. It’s a big chore getting all the data into the enterprise batch records, and the enterprise batch records are only as valuable as the data that they contain. So, it’s not easy getting the data into the ent... Continue Reading

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Project delays: Identify the issue and keep the customer happy

Posted by Bruce Brandt on July 1, 2014 @ 10:01 am

Every person working on a project should be able to answer these five questions: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? If you have ever studied the newspaper business, then you have probably learned that every story must answer these five questions: Who did the deed? What did they do? When did they do it? Where did it happen? Why did they do it? The same is true of working on projects; every person working on the project must be able to answer those same five questions about their role on the project in order to be successful. They should also be able to answer those questions for the other people on the project to prevent gaps and overlap. So let’s break this down a bit. There’s very little difference in saying to a customer “I forgot” and “It’s someone else’s mistake”—in their mind, the “who” is you. Either way you have a disappointed and often unhappy custome... Continue Reading

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Cyber security: Trusting your source for drivers, software tools

Posted by Bruce Billedeaux on June 24, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

Some of the most published cyber security events have been traced back to malicious content embedded on a trusted user's laptop through an e-mail or downloaded document. Is your process control network safe? Its two o’clock in the morning and the control system is down. Production has stopped. An automation technician has just arrived. He is reviewing the system status as we read this post. He finds the issue in a few minutes. He knows the solution, but needs to reload the controller. Unfortunately, he finds that this new laptop does not have the right drivers. He is stuck. He goes to the manufacturer’s website to get the new drivers, but since its 2:00 a.m., the website is “under maintenance.” He feels intense pressure to get the plant up and running. He scours the web for the driver and finally finds it at a “divers.ru” website. A warning pops up in his browser saying th... Continue Reading

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The value of field engineers

Posted by Mike Robb on June 18, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

A good field engineer can help improve the process controls based on knowledge and experience, potentially saving money by being able to quickly diagnose problems.

Have you ever worked on a process that was designed based on a computer simulation model? The model can be a very effective design tool to predict how mechanical systems will react with one another. These predications can then be used to help with the design process to allow you to make control philosophy changes and correct problem areas within the control scheme. The models are typically used to assist in the feasibility of large scale process control changes to validate a new control philosophy but can be an expensive investment. There are also limitations—the model can only account for the variables that you know, and the more variables that are present the longer the model will take to ... Continue Reading

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