Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Smart Manufacturing and the Continuing Need for MES

By Luigi De Bernardini, member of MESA’s Marketing Committee and Smart Manufacturing Working Group

The phrase “smart manufacturing” has been heard everywhere this past year, and has become part of every discussion related to manufacturers’ need for a manufacturing execution system (MES) or manufacturing operations management (MOM). Some might be under the impression that smart manufacturing has done away with the need for MES to support the coordination of operations processes, but in my opinion that is not the case.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Smart Manufacturing Elevator Pitch – Take Two

By Conrad Leiva, MESA International Board Member and chair of MESA's Smart Manufacturing Working Group

In a prior blog post, Rik Geerts explained how MESA International came up with an abbreviated definition for Smart Manufacturing and how he tried it out with a colleague in the food processing industry. I want to share some of the back story on the Working Group side of the story and my own experience trying out the elevator pitch in a totally different industry -- aerospace and defense. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Smart Manufacturing Elevator Pitch, Literally!

By Rik Geerts, member of several MESA International working groups and member of the International Board of Directors. 

I was wearing my MESA International pin this morning in the elevator and one of my colleagues, John the Lead of the Chicken Business Unit, asked me what I was working on at MESA. I told him “Smart Manufacturing.” With big eyes he looked at me and said, “I’m curious, what is Smart Manufacturing?” … I struggled … the elevator door saved me. John said while walking out, “Lets catch-up later Rik!” 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How to Deliver an Executable Manufacturing Strategy for Continuous Process Industry

By Jaco van der Merwe, IME Solutions 

Operations Management is one leg of Production Economics and relates to the deployment and use of resources to transform inputs to useful output. In this, Manufacturing Strategy offers a structured approach to decision-making facilitating economic performance within the operating environment. 

Operations management is defined as the planning, scheduling and control of processes, systems and people to produce final product(s) that comply with quality, environmental, cost, and production output requirements. From this it is clear that operations management is concerned with the tactical action plan whereas manufacturing strategy is concerned with providing longer term guidelines.

This blog describes the use of Time-in-State in deriving an executable manufacturing strategy and subsequently facilitating effective operations management. This blog addresses one of the most challenging environments -- the continuous process industry.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cybersecurity in Manufacturing: What? Why? How? And How Much?

By Chris Hamilton, Cybersecurity Working Group Member
Figure 1- Cybersecurity: Changing Threat Landscape

In your day-to-day routine, how focused are you on topics of cybersecurity?  Do you follow exploits published by SANS, ICS-CERT, etc and relish in unique 0-Day findings? Or, do you passively hear of hacks on the news and think, “I’m glad that wasn’t my company!”  For most of us, the answer would be the latter. However, the scale of attacks on the manufacturing sector and proportional loss to businesses in recent years has demonstrated the necessity of secure integrated control systems. 

The constantly shifting threat landscape can be daunting to follow – and it shows – in fact, the 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report states that, “64% of IT execs think achieving basic compliance will stop most breaches.” With the increasing nation-state threat, breaches are becoming more sophisticated and creating APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) with new levels of potency.  

The “script-kiddies” of yesterday, taking advantage of single exploits, have grown up to become a highly trained, educated and government-sponsored team of professionals.  This team is dedicated to stealing a target’s IP (intellectual property) and/or using that company’s weaknesses to damage an entire industry.  The scale is massive, and the threat is real.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Smart Manufacturing Isn’t So Smart Without Standards

By Simon Frechette, KC Morris, and Yan Lu (NIST)

Manufacturers face ever-increasing demands of variability—greater customization, smaller lot sizes, sudden supply-chain changes and disruptions. Successful manufacturers will need to incorporate new technologies that help them quickly adapt to rapid change and to elevate product quality while optimizing use of energy and other resources. These technologies form the core of emerging “smart” manufacturing systems. 

Smart manufacturing is composed of information-centric systems that maximize the flow and re-use of data throughout an enterprise. Manufacturing enterprises today, both large and small, are made up of disparate components. The ability of these disparate systems to exchange, understand, and exploit product, production, and business data rests critically on information standards. 

Smart Manufacturing Systems (SMS) are driving unprecedented gains in production agility, quality, and efficiency. Smart manufacturing defines a vision of next-generation manufacturing with enhanced capabilities. It is built on IoT and digital technology, but enabled by combining the individual manufacturing technologies.