One of my customers back in the 90s established an OEE office and placed an OEE engineer in each plant. OEE, of course is the popular abbreviation for Overall Equipment Effectiveness—a sum of ratios that places a numerical value on “true” productivity. I’ve always harbored some reservations about OEE, especially as a comparative metric, because of the inherent variability of inputs. Automated data collection and modern data base analytics are a solution.
A press release and email conversation with Parsec came my way this week. It sets the stage by pointing to the pressure to increase quality and quantity, while reducing costs, leading manufacturers to seek a deeper understanding of trends and patterns and new ways to drive efficiency. The very nature of OEE is to identify the percentage of manufacturing time that is truly productive. It is the key metric for measuring the performance of an operation, but many companies measure it incorrectly, or don’t measure it at all.
In the latest example of its efforts to help manufacturers maximize performance while reducing costs and complexity, Parsec launched its real-time Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Performance Management solution.
Most OEE measurement systems capture data from a single source and offer reports that may be visually appealing but actually contain very little substance. Other OEE systems capture lots of data but fail to give operators the necessary tools to act on that data. The TrakSYS OEE Performance Management solution collects and aggregates data from multiple sources, leveraging existing assets, resources and infrastructure, and provides insight into areas of the operation that need improvement with the tools to take action.
“We are challenging manufacturers to go beyond OEE measurement and to begin thinking about performance management,” said Gregory Newman, Parsec vice president of marketing. “Our TrakSYS OEE Performance Management solution pinpoints the root causes of poor performance and closes the loop by providing actionable intelligence and the tools necessary to fix the bottlenecks and improve productivity.”
The Power to Perform
When designing the TrakSYS OEE Performance Management solution, Parsec took into account three key criteria for measuring OEE: Availability, Performance and Quality. Availability, or downtime loss, encompasses changeovers, sanitation/cleaning, breakdowns, startup/shutdown, facility problems, etc. Performance, or speed loss, includes running a production system at a speed lower than the theoretical run rate, and short stop failures such as jams and overloads. Quality, or defect loss, is defined as production and startup rejects, process defects, reduction in yield, and products that need to be reworked to conform to quality standards. As part of the solution, Parsec created a variety of standard dashboards and reports as well as the ability to customize reports through powerful web-based configuration tools.
“Our goal is to empower manufacturers to unlock unseen potential with their existing infrastructure,” added Newman. “Even small tweaks can save a plant millions of dollars each year.”
TrakSYS is an integrated platform that contains all of the functionality of a full manufacturing execution system (MES) in one package. The modular nature of TrakSYS brings flexibility to deploy only the functions that are required, without a major software upgrade. TrakSYS business solutions include OEE, SPC, e-records, maintenance, traceability, workflow, batch processing, sustainability, labor, and more.
The major manufacturing management software trend of the year is modular. Let’s make it easier to buy, install, configure, and use. The latest company with a major upgrade is Parsec. The company has announced launch of the latest version of its modular manufacturing management software: TrakSYS. A unified, 100% web-based platform with multiple, fully-integrated modules, TrakSYS can be used as a full manufacturing execution system (MES), or deployed to solve one or more business challenges — from performance and quality to e-records, maintenance, workflow, and more.
TrakSYS gathers critical operations data from machines and people, and delivers insights to help operations run more productively, safely and profitably. Leveraging 30 years of experience in delivering manufacturing solutions, Parsec designed this version of TrakSYS to simplify manufacturing operations in a variety of industries – from pharmaceutical and packaged goods to food and beverage, automotive and more.
“Manufacturing is complex, but your software shouldn’t be,” said Eddy Azad, CEO for Parsec. “The key advantage of TrakSYS lies in its flexibility. TrakSYS has all of the power of traditional MES, without the ‘weight’ and cost. Manufacturers can simply turn on the features they want at any time and customize a solution that specifically addresses their needs.”
Manufacturing Management – Simplified
Under the strain of increased regulations for accurate, accessible electronic recordkeeping, manufacturers need a real-time view of manufacturing operations. The pressure to increase quality and quantity, while reducing costs, also has manufacturers seeking a deeper understanding of trends and patterns and new ways to drive efficiency. Custom software and traditional MES solutions can be used to address these concerns, but they are costly and complicated to manage.
Azad, explains, “It’s all about making software easier to use and more cost-effective to deploy, maintain and scale.”
One Platform, Many Applications
TrakSYS is an integrated platform that contains all of the functionality in one package. The modular nature of TrakSYS brings complete flexibility to deploy only the functions that are required, without a major software upgrade. TrakSYS business solutions include OEE, SPC, e-records, maintenance, traceability, workflow, batch processing, sustainability, labor and more.
“Whether a factory has one line or 100, uses manual or automated production processes, relies on PLCs or an IIoT infrastructure, TrakSYS can help. We designed this powerful version of our proven software with the idea that software should help manufacturers to do their job, not become the job,” added Azad.
The latest version of TrakSYS is now available.
Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) exists to help manufacturers manage the execution layer of a manufacturing enterprise. MES unfortunately can be quite complex. Moving a company from spreadsheet-driven execution to a specifically written application can take years of effort by a team of engineers.
Understandably that makes companies, especially medium sized ones, leery of even contemplating a move to the modern era.
Application developers, aware of this roadblock, have rushed to develop and deploy solutions that are easier to purchase and implement.
Enter Rockwell Automation’s latest entry into this arena. It has developed scalable and application-specific products to address this need. Solutions can start at the machine or work-area level with a single application and with minimal infrastructure requirements, and scale to an integrated MES solution as ROI is realized.
Rockwell Automation has released the following applications, with more to come in the future:
FactoryTalk Production Application – The FactoryTalk Production application addresses the challenges associated with enforcing processes in manufacturing. This application integrates with ERP, and tracks the order and recipe parameters necessary for production. The Production application supports end-to-end production management within a facility, offering a platform for continuous improvement.
FactoryTalk Quality Application – The newly expanded Quality application allows manufacturers to model and enforce their plant’s in-process quality regimens at a scalable rate. Manufacturers can use the Quality application on a project basis and scale up when value is proven. The application can be expanded to include other functionality within the FactoryTalk ProductionCentre MES system or run as a standalone.
FactoryTalk Performance Application – Performance is a modular application that assists manufacturing companies with factory efficiency and production improvement. By providing visibility into the operations performance, this application allows for lean and continuous improvement, preventive manufacturing, improved asset utilization and operational intelligence.
Each expanded MES application is implemented on thin clients for a modern user experience and reduced IT infrastructure cost. Users can add on each application to their current framework, helping protect their current investments while realizing these additional benefits.
Mike Boudreaux, director of performance and reliability monitoring for Emerson Process Management, has published an important article in Plant Services magazine discussing some limitations of the Purdue Model incorporating the Industrial Internet of Things. There are many more applications (safety, environmental, energy, reliability) that can be solved outside the control system. They just are not described within the current model.
Interestingly, about the same time I saw a blog post at Emerson Process Experts quoting Emerson Process Chief Strategic Officer Peter Zornio discussing the same topic.
I’ve been thinking about this for years. Mike’s article (which I recommend you read–now) brought the thoughts into focus.
Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture Model
The Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture Model has guided manufacturing enterprises and their suppliers for 25 years. The model is usually represented by a pyramid shape. I’ve used a diagram from Wikipedia that just uses circles and arrows.
This model describes various “levels” of applications and controls in a manufacturing enterprise. It describes components from the physical levels of the plant (Level 0) through control equipment and strategies (Level 2).
Level 3 describes the manufacturing control level. These are applications that “control” operations. This level once was labelled Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). The trade association for this level–MESA International–now labels this “Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions” to maintain the MES part but describe an increased role for applications at this level. The ISA95 Standard for Enterprise Control labels this level as Manufacturing Operations Management. It is quite common now to hear the phrase Operations Management referring to the various applications that inhabit this level. This is also the domain of Manufacturing IT professionals.
Level 4 is the domain of Enterprise Business Planning, or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. It’s the domain of corporate IT.
Hierarchical Data Flow
The Purdue Model also describes a data flow model. That may or may not have been the idea, but it does. The assumption of the model that sensors and other data-serving field devices are connected to the control system. The control system serves the dual purpose of controlling processes or machines as well as serving massaged data to the operations management level of applications. In turn, level 3 applications feed information to the enterprise business system level.
Alternative Data Flow
What Mike is describing, and I’ve tried sketching at various times, is a parallel diagram that shows data flow outside the control system. He rightly observes that the Industrial Internet of Things greatly expands the Purdue Model.
So I went to the white board. Here’s a sketch of some things I’ve been thinking about. What do you think? Steal it if you want. Or incorporate it into your own ideas. I’m not an analyst that gets six-figure contracts to think up this stuff. If you want to hire me to help you expand your business around the ideas, well that would be good.
I have some basic assumptions at this time:
- Data is not hierarchical
- Data has many sources and many clients
- Eventually we can expect smart systems automatically moving data and initiating applications
Perhaps 25 years ago we could consider a hierarchical data structure. Today we have moved to a federated data structure. There are data repositories all over the enterprise. We just need a standardized method of publish/subscribe so that the app that needs data can find it–and trust it.
Now some have written that technology means the end of Level 3. Of course it doesn’t. Enterprises still need all that work done. What it does mean the end of is silos of data behind unbreachable walls. It also means that there are many opportunities for new apps and connections. Once we blow away the static nature of the model, the way to innovation is cleared.
Perhaps the future will get closer to a model that I’m writing a series of white papers to describe. Growing from the OpenO&M Initiative, the Open Industrial Interoperability Ecosystem model looks interesting. I’ve just about finished an executive summary white paper that I’ll link to my Webpage. The longer description white paper is in process. More on that later. And look for an article in Uptime magazine.
Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB CEO
I was not able to attend ABB’s Automation and Power World this year. Too many places to go at the same time.
However, someone I trust, Mehul Shah of LNS Research, was there and wrote his observations on the LNS blog.
Mehul focuses on software and linked it to the Internet of Things. “The conference also featured a prime focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), as a panel was presented on stage, containing key event sponsor Microsoft, ABB, and an ABB customer. The trio provided insight and examples into how the IoT trend is impacting the industry.”
Highlighting ABB’s solution in the IoT space, Spiesshofer discussed the following key areas of focus
• Intelligent devices
• Control systems
• Advanced communication infrastructure
• Enterprise software
• Analytics solutions
“A notable fact that was highlighted at conference was that—to my surprise—more than 50% of what ABB’s currently offers is software related. ABB had made a few major acquisition over the last decade to build its software offering. The most impactful was the acquisition of Ventyx for $1 billion in 2010. This gave ABB a major boost in asset, operations, energy, and workforce management solutions in some of the asset intensive industries. ABB has also made some other acquisitions such as Insert Key Solutions and Mincom to build its Enterprise Asset Management software offerings. It seems clear the company understands the importance of its software business to remain competitive, and has also developed a separate Enterprise Software group that houses some of these acquisitions.”
Interesting that the investments were in software applications. Several years ago a CEO told me that software was important to his company—and that there was software in most of the company’s hardware products. That was correct—but my point was software business, not technology. ABB seems to have kept emphasis on software business even while Spiesshofer has been divesting some of the acquisitions made under previous CEO Joe Hogan.
• It was impressive to see the effort that ABB has invested to bring its acquisitions under one brand.
• ABB has taken a first step in building a technology roadmap by bringing some of the software offerings together as part of the Enterprise Software group. LNS sees this as a big step in the right direction strategically, and should prove of great benefit to current ABB customers as well as prospects.
• However, ABB currently has important software products that remain outside of its Enterprise Software group and it remains to be seen if these solutions will receive the required attention, especially when considering the breadth of ABB’s portfolio. Two examples of this are the company’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES) offering, and the aforementioned Decathlon for Data Centers.
• ABB has a full-fledged MES offering with some good customers currently leveraging this MES across discrete, process, and batch industries.
• ABB might have some ground to cover in MES compared to some of its closest competitors in this space. Companies like GE, Siemens, Schneider Electric and Rockwell Automation have been heavily focused on the software business with many announcing reorganizations to increase resources allocated to software over the past several years and.
• Another area we would like to hear from ABB is around their offerings in IoT. While there were number of products that were categorized as IoT solution, ABB will need a holistic offering and vision around how their industrial clients can leverage these solutions to drive value.
• To answer the question, yes—ABB can compete effectively in the software business. But there is still some grounds to cover. ABB has had a lot of critical parts of the software business for quite a while and has been slower than many of its competitors in pulling it all together.
I agree with Mehul for the most part. I knew ABB had an MES offering, and I’ve interviewed Marc Leroux many times over the years. But it always seemed a little under the covers. The same with the Ventyx acquisition. It was easy to forget about it as it didn’t seem to get the promotion it deserved.
ABB is such a diverse conglomerate that sometimes it’s hard to know what it focuses on. I always followed the automation—primarily process automation. Several years ago, I think at Hannover but maybe SPS in Nuremberg, ABB executives explained the factory automation offering and the added emphasis the company was placing on it. But there are so many things and so few promotional dollars.
Also a few years ago, ABB decided to add its Power users to its Automation user group conference—hence Automation and Power World. However, the first two of those featured much more power and much less automation. It looks as if the company is striking a balance at the conference. But the Power division is still a laggard in performance.
ABB is a strong company, but it has much work to do in order to reach peak performance.