Initial Assessment ofManufacturing ExecutionSystems : Development of a methodology to definebusiness needs and functional requirements
Abstract: A key component of the smart factories that industry 4.0 introduce is the MES (manufacturing executionsystem). The MES lies above the actual shop floor in the enterprise system hierarchy and is not in directcontact with the actual production, in the way PLC (programmable logic control) or SCADA (supervisorycontrol and data acquisition) systems are. MES guide, initiate, respond to and reports on the productionactivities as well as distribute information to other company IT systems, bridging the gap between thecontrol systems of the shop floor and the information systems on an enterprise level. MES is a class ofinformation systems built to support shop floor processes and improve the integration to other departmentsof the enterprise by incorporating these systems into the overall IT-architecture. The main goal of an MESis to improve and optimize the production management functions and increase visibility into themanufacturing process. The role of the MES is defined by industry standards that identify what functionalities and dataflows anMES should include, and how it is intended to be integrated with other information systems. However, littleresearch has been focused on adopting these standards in actual MES implementation projects. The MESA(manufacturing executions system association) is presenting a standardized definition of MES as well as 2models of the, according to the standard, 11 key MES functionalities. The ISA-95 (IEC/ISO 62264)standard identifies sub-systems of an MES and defines the boundaries between the ERP, MES and otherautomation and IT systems. Company parameters such as manufacturing environment, production modeland plant type all affect the business needs and what MES functionalities are of priority. Hence, for an MESimplementation project, a business-specific evaluation must be performed. Prior research in the area is presenting a high-level workflow and best-practices of an MES implementationproject. By combining this workflow with the general software implementation standard ISO/IEC 12588(ISO/IEC 15288: System engineering – System lifecycle process), a methodology for performing the initialassessment of a company’s MES needs and business requirements is built. In the methodology models fromMESA and ISA-95 are applied to ensure an industry-accepted terminology and process. The objective ofthe methodology is to provide a standardized way to make an initial assessment of a company’s MES needsand specify system requirements. The methodology is validated through a study performed at discretemanufacturing line. The overall needs and specific functional requirements are identified through the methodology and arepresented according to a URS (user requirements specification) for an MES. The requirements areprioritizing according to MoSCoW analysis. Additional validation of the methodology must be performedto further evaluate the suitability of using the methodology for initial assessments of businesses’ MES needs.
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