Thursday, April 20, 2017

Top 3 drivers for MES in Industry 4.0

By Francisco Almada-Lobo, MESA Member and CEO of Critical Manufacturing

MESA’s 2017 Smart Story Awards is now taking submissions until May 31st.  

In an interview with the winners of the 2016 Smart Story Awards, the top winning story from Critical Manufacturing raised some questions about Industry 4.0. More specifically, attendees wanted to know what are the Industry 4.0 drivers for MES. Here's the full answer:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Two-Factor Authentication – Uses and Misses

By Dirk Sweigart, CISSP, PMP, Cybersecurity Working Group Member

A key part of securing assets is establishing the identity of an individual who wishes to access that asset in some way.  We need to be sure that the person who is making the request is who he or she claims to be.  The asset can be a control system, a building, a VPN or an application, to name a few.  Two-factor authentication is becoming relatively common as a method of confirming that identity.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Shop-Floor Decentralization: Shop Floor Marketplace Emerges

By Francisco Almada-Lobo, MESA Member and CEO of Critical Manufacturing

MESA’s 2017 Smart Story Awards is kicking off the submission period on April 1st and will stay open until May 31st.  

In an interview with the winners of the 2016 Smart Story Awards, the top winning story from Critical Manufacturing raised some questions about the shop floor. More specifically, attendees wanted to know more about shop-floor decentralization. Here's the full answer:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Working Towards an Industrial Ontology Foundry to Facilitate Interoperability

By KC Morris and Serm Kulvatunyou, Systems Integration Division, NIST

Ontologies for industrial problems have been a topic of research for several years.  Recently they are also appearing in activities by consortia groups working on standards.  These efforts, though overlapping, have been disjoint.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a single place, a foundry, to go to find a community-vetted ontology suitable for your industrial needs or at least as a starting point for your work?  That was exactly the topic of the workshop at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) last December when a group of industry, government, and academic researchers met to discuss the possibilities for such a place. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cybersecurity Guidance is Available for Industrial Safety Systems

By Eric Cosman, Cybersecurity Working Group  Co-Chair

Information systems employed in Operations (including industrial control systems) are often subject to very stringent requirements related to information integrity and performance. Functional needs such as these can lead to the identification of secondary requirements and constraints in areas such as cybersecurity. The challenges associated with securing industrial control and related systems have in turn been topics of considerable discussion, debate, and analysis for the past several years. The ISA99 committee and IEC Technical Committee 65 Working Group 10 have developed the 62443 series of standards that provide requirements and guidance on all aspects of the subject. This information is deliberately expressed in broad terms, allowing it to be applied across a wide range of industries and situations.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Internet of Services in Industry 4.0

By Mikes James, Chairman, MESA International Board of Directors
Internet A Series Of Tubes by Jeremy Brooks (CC BY-NC 2.0)



In the fourth blog post of this series, we explore how the internet of services fits with smart manufacturing. There is much talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). However, ‘things’ are just part of the plumbing. We connect devices, giving them, no more than, nominal intelligence. The real innovation is the internet of services. Manufacturers need to think through their business model: how can a product become a service with a long-term revenue stream?

Many manufacturers are recognizing and exploiting the opportunity. For example, Tesla is delivering vehicles with hardware and software which can be upgraded, their cars are sensor ready and software upgrades will provide extra intelligence, delivered via the internet. The customer could pay for the upgrades which then generates extra revenue for Tesla.
Otis is supplying elevators/lifts with sensors which send data into their cloud. The data is analyzed and Otis sells a predictive maintenance services package, again adding a long-term revenue stream.
Additionally, a new catering company in The Netherlands is supplying custom meals to hospitals. Each meal is prepared for the patient based upon data received from the hospital about the patient’s needs. The meals are prepared in an automated plant.

The individualization of mass production and the internet of services add additional revenue. The smart manufacturing plant needs to be flexible and deliver intelligent products. A major misunderstanding is that this is not a cost saving exercise; it’s a new business model to increase revenue and profitability.

It’s important to map out opportunities and match them against the realities of today’s technology. A manufacturer who was heavily investing in a factory of the future did not build this type of strategy. Enthusiastic engineers ordered additive manufacturing machines (3D printing) only to find out they could not connect them to their network using international standards. They paid a heavy price for this error and damaged the initiative’s reputation. It’s worth taking independent advice before completing your new manufacturing strategy.
The best way to avoid these mistakes and build a successful strategy is to learn from other manufacturers in a safe space. MESA is a safe harbor to share best practices and lessons learned so that the industry can collectively rise to Industry 4.0.
Join MESA’s working groups to share with and learn from industry peers and attend MESA’s Fix Event at the North American Conference this May in Cleveland, Ohio. This event is unlike any other in that you can bring questions about what you are trying to fix or what you think might need to be fixed in the future and get answers from MESA experts.  We hope to see you there!




Thursday, February 23, 2017

How Can Tools and Culture Come Together for Lean Transformation?

By Julie Fraser, Founder MESA Analytics Working Group and lifetime MESA member

In the early days of Lean, software was to be avoided at all costs. Clearly that’s no longer the case, and MESA members can vouch for that. In fact, our members find that automation and MES are key enablers for Lean.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Manufacturing in the 4th Industrial Revolution Goes Beyond 5 Senses


By Mikes James, Chairman, MESA International Board of Directors

In the third article of this series, discover the steps required to make the fourth Industrial Revolution a reality.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Use Case Approach to Cybersecurity Whitepapers

By Eric Cosman, Co-Chair of MESA's Cybersecurity Working Group

The Cybersecurity Working Group (CS-WG) was established to provide guidance to MESA members on how to address the information and electronic security of manufacturing operations and control systems. The intent is to provide this information in various forms (e.g., documents, webcasts, presentations) in order to…