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The end of IT silos al a MES – What factory IT must look like in the future

Published: · Last updated: · 2 min reading time

The Hannover Fair 2019 has shown it: Today’s manufacturing companies no longer want an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) application, but a factory IT solution that ensures that they remain fit for the future even in the age of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). More and more companies realize that anyone who does not have digital data-based production control today will be swept off the market tomorrow.

Because: the benefits and advantages of digital production can be measured concretely: Krones AG, for instance, has been able to increase its productivity by eleven percent over only four months with its digitization strategy. The Swiss furniture manufacturer Peka-Metall achieved 20 percent higher productivity.

Digitization and the departure from conventional MES is not an end in itself: modern digital factory monitoring ultimately enhances competitiveness and site security. This is why open, and cloud-enabled platform solutions are becoming more and more popular in the industrial B2B sector, as they are in the B2C area.

From the IT silo to the open IIoT platform – as once from mobile phone to smartphone

Why is an open and cloud-capable IIoT platform better? Because manufacturing companies for the upcoming third decade need flexible and freely expandable solutions that allow them to optimize their productivity now and in the future. The time of traditional closed IT silos as an MES is over.

Figuratively speaking, this development from MES IT silos to open IIoT platforms is comparable to the event from mobile phones to smartphones: mobile phones enabled users to make phone calls and write text messages. With smartphones, however, they have all the freedom of the Internet in their hands and can add new apps and solutions at any time.

Simple, fast, open – what a platform for IIoT must be able to do

The introduction of a digital platform solution for factory IT need not be complicated or expensive. The simpler the solution, the higher the acceptance within the company. And starter kits and pilot projects help to make even the first steps efficient.

  • SIMPLE – Most notable for production managers in the first step: The IIoT platform solution must firstly provide simple networking of machines on an IT platform and networking of shop and top floor (ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning).
  • FAST – The real-time speed of digital factory monitoring is essential for everyone involved. The platform solution must be able to generate digital mirror images of the production on the computer. The production managers can work with this information to virtually analyze and realistically optimize critical figures such as the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and the controlling department can work with facts from the factory.
  • FLEXIBLE – After all, companies with an open Industry 4.0 platform remain flexible today and in the future if the solution can offer open application interfaces (OPEN API). This allows companies to create their factory IT architecture and remain open to new apps today and in the future.

About the author

With a global mindset and entrepreneurial spirit, Sandy Abraham works with and across the organization to execute on integrated marketing programs and to initiate compelling new operational models. Sandy loves pugs, travel, automotive engineering, the aerospace industry, and smart design.

Sandy Abraham

Marketing & Brand Management