MES on the edge in aeronautics

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are facing the fact that the concept of Smart Factory is becoming more a matter of present needs for manufacturers than a future wish. We will explore an overview of the latest technological advances and challenges in the manufacturing industry, which is trending towards the concept of Smart Factory and the advanced version of MES: an integral manufacturing operations management toolkit, capable of making and executing consistent decisions at different scales and different time horizons, ensuring compliance and continuously enhancing quality.

Currently, any legacy MES is designed for handling basic aspects related to the production floor, while being used by virtually all manufacturing workers with any kind of role in a factory. This system should, when connected to the industrial network and systems, provide visibility from the manufacturing floor to the different levels of the company, in a bottom-up stream. However, in most manufacturing industries, MES ends up functioning as a simple raw data collector, and as a manufacturer, you are lucky if you can fully exploit the amount of data collected.

Generally speaking, based on the description above, there are four main areas of competence which should feed directly from these MES outputs: manufacturing execution performance management (efficiency, availability and waste/scrap), quality, traceability and planning. To maximize this information feed, the manufacturing industry will have to deal with some significant challenges in order to fully develop the concept of Smart Factory. The manufacturing framework is becoming an extremely dynamic and flexible environment under continuous development. That is why legacy MES, given its current capabilities, has become obsolete faced with the upcoming requirements of Industry 4.0. This paper will discuss the potential rise of next-generation MES, beneficiating from emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence or Smart Networks for wearables and mobile devices.

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