Articles

MES and the IPAV System
by Dale Whitfield, May 2013

What's the difference?

IPAV is not another Manufacturing Execution System. Its a combined hardware and software solution.

The IPAV System is completely stand-alone. There is no reliance on existing systems or installed hardware. IPAV is installed with its own sensors and IO hardware that gathers data at each machine on a production line. Inputs can be taken from existing PLCs where necessary but this is not required.

The IPAV solution is a combination of hardware that monitors the production process and its connection to custom software. To make this even simpler to install and maintain, the system uses industrial proprietary wireless to communicate between all the installed devices.

Its all about Improving Productivity

Any system like this is all about improving efficiency and productivity. To do that involves various levels of employees in the chain. Not just management. MES is primarily a management tool.

IPAV blurs the distinction between management and machine operator control of production efficiency. Operators can make use of our unique Productive Downtime which lets them know when time is available to stop their machine without impacting on line efficiency. Its that simple.

Operators are at the sharp end. They are the ones who can accurately let management know the Causes for Downtime. We allow Downtime Causes to be customised for each machine, on each line, in each installation. Operators also know how long any particular downtime stoppage is likely to take. We let them enter this time and communicate it to all other operators on the production line. Now the Operators are sharing information and letting each other know that there is additional time available to them for maintenance or cleaning during production.

For management, the state of the production is constantly visible. The the current bottleneck is displayed constantly. The overall state of the Production Line is clearly visible at a glance. This allows higher level decisions to be made that can impact on productivity.

Overlaps with MES

IPAV integrates the areas that cover Business and Operations Processes.

There are overlaps like OEE, Line Efficiency and Machine Efficiency. But in a sense, as important as these numbers might be to some, these are almost a by-product of the system. IPAV calculates and displays these but allows a much deeper level of analysis of the production process.

IPAV allows you to react to problems as they occur. If in doubt, replay it with the built-in record/playback system. Watch what happened in the build-up to where a specific problem occurred and be smarter about dealing with it in the future.

IPAV aims to improve productivity

  • It aids in real-time management and tracking of the production process.

  • Designed specifically for coupled manufacturing.

  • OEE and productivity reporting is only part of what we do.

  • Introduce new algorithms and methods for highlighting areas of concern.

  • Involves Operators and notifies them of Productive Downtime.

Who Benefits?

MES is primarily a management tool.

IPAV is a tool for both management and operators.

The time taken to react and to communicate solutions to problems is reduced by allowing operators to participate in the decision-making. Operators have immediate and direct control over improvements in efficiency and productivity. There's an incentive for operators because their actions can directly improve productivity.

The benefits are clearly to both management and operators.

Operators handle the detail of productivity by dealing with machine stops and the utilisation of Productive Downtime that results.

Management can make decisions based on the visualisation that is supplied by desktop software.

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