By John Meulemeester, MESA Commercial Leader
I have visited literally hundreds of production plants, from producing radios, cars and bricks to soup and chemical ingredients. I can tell you, there is hardly such a thing as a “standard production line in a factory”. If you know one company that has an ‘identical’ production line in two plants, please let me know.
I compare this to music. Universally limited to only 12 notes… it creates an infinite number of “songs and symphonies”.
The “notes” for any plant are the thousands of different software packages, robots, IIOT devices, Interfaces, network architectures and strategies, switches and routers, drones, 3D printers, AI – and big data approaches. And worse than in music, the factory notes change constantly. On top of that, every vendor tells you “for this problem, this is the best choice”.
It’s like me telling you, “the loveliest note in music is F# and the best song is…”
Like music, everything must fit somehow in the “plant symphony”. The old, the new, the to-be-expected.
And here, there is you: the manager that needs to make a decision of how and what to install in the plant.
That's where this nonprofit comes to the rescue: www.MESA.org
MESA is hundreds of very motivated, volunteer manufacturing experts, extracting patterns from all these different songs and symphonies (plants). They will be able to guide you to dance or silently enjoy a classical piece of music.
MESA is your beacon of practical knowledge patterns where you can meet and talk to your peers about manufacturing.
Goals and approaches. The big picture. The patterns that you could invoke.
Here you will not get any advice about using a PLC, a SCADA, an IIOT framework, or something else. You will not be told which MES system is the best.
Instead, you will learn about best practices -- what members experienced that works, how it works and why it could work for you.
MESA defines Smart Manufacturing as “the intelligent, real-time orchestration and optimization of business, physical and digital processes within factories and across the entire value chain. Resources and processes are automated, integrated, monitored and continuously evaluated based on all available information as close to real-time as possible." This is a symphony of challenges and choices, and it IS achievable.
If you have any questions about MESA membership and included benefits, please feel free to call me or send an email. I look forward to helping build MESA’s already impressive network with new faces and areas of expertise.
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