The smart factory with Opera MES

OPERA is a complete, engineered and configurable MES software product that fully covers the functional areas of Production, Quality, Material and Maintenance, as requested by the international standards. Its main task is to manage and deliver real time information about the progress of the production plan.

For example, the operators can interact – through web-based interfaces – with the system to receive, in real time, instructions about the correct execution of a task, to monitor the production process, the process parameters, etc… In addition to this, the system also delivers information about the job execution, lots consumed/produced, products conformities, maintenance data, in order to totally avoid paperwork, by digitalizing any information.

Why is MES important in the Industry 4.0 world?

The Industry 4.0 concept identifies the fourth Industrial Revolution: a technological innovation process that will allow manufacturing companies to produce in a more automatized and connected manner through an integrated infrastructure composed of assets, machines, people, mobile devices and IT systems. These systems are able to communicate with each other, both inside and outside the company.  This will represent a new plant ‘Operating System’ able to manage and control the manufacturing operations in real time, by optimizing processes and resources, analyzing performances and reducing errors and wastes, for production process’ continuous improvement.

MES software

In this new scenario, MES (Manufacturing Execution System) represents a fundamental tool towards the full plant digitalization. In fact, MES provides real time information for the management and the monitoring of the entire production process, from the Sales Order up to the delivery of the finished good. MES is the missing link between the decision level made of business applications (ERP-LEVEL) and the execution level (PLANT-LEVEL).

Opera MES provides…

Production management

OPERA Production is the heart of the MES system, where you can define the company model (plants/departments/cost centers…), the production model, the product (production cycle/bill of materials/articles …), all the productive resources (employees, work centers, machines, equipment, tools, causals…) and all the automatic data acquisition procedures (direct and indirect activities, machine setup, machine downtime, quantity produced, scrap, reworks, etc.).

OPERA Workflow Manager allows the management of all workstations and of the related collection procedures. OPERA Management Console allows the management and historical analysis of the acquired data in real time for a complete management and supervision of the production process.

We can summarize the logical flow in 4 macro phases: Planning and Scheduling, Dispatching and Data Acquisition, Paperless Manufacturing and Real-Time Production Supervision. The “paperless” document management is a very important function for digitizing all the information related to the production process. In the production module, OPERA allows you to view and upload in real time any type of information such as documentation, images and photos, videos that the system can be associated with any procedure/activity/resource.

 

Planning & scheduling

It is possible to elaborate a production plan thanks to the finite capacity scheduler and once the optimal scheduling has been defined, the activities to be performed will be electronically dispatched and displayed on the various workstations within the factory. Therefore, each workstation will be online and interactive for the management and execution of the work. In absence of a scheduler but with a simply manual production scheduler, the activities will be assigned automatically to the work center or to the single workstation on machine board and then starts the execution phase.

Material management

In manufacturing environments, the main objective for the material management is to guarantee a correct and punctual material supply to the factory, by minimizing material transfers’ costs, and to physically organize and optimize the warehouse.

Opera MES Material Management module manages in real time the inflows and outflows from/to the warehouse together with all material movements in production, with the aim to provide the user with an updated visibility of the material availability.

The main benefits of this module are:

  • Stock level reduction: very often, when the warehouse is not correctly managed, it is not possible to know exactly where a lot of product is and what its remaining quantities are. Being able to know the actual stock level in the warehouse allows companies to reduce unnecessary stocks according to products’ needs.
  • Times reduction and increase of efficiency: knowing exactly where a lot is, allows material movements times to be reduced and guarantees a punctual material supply to plant departments.
  • Traceability: the complete management of materials and the recording of material flows is necessary to track and trace products as well as lots.

Device connection

The “device connection” function allows the interconnection with all the online machines/equipment in the plant for the automatic acquisition of production data, quality data, process data, etc. Normally in companies, there are machines of different type, brand, model but the system is able to manage the connection to all, through standard interfacing procedures or machine-specific connectors. OPERA system acts as an operating system and communicates with the machine in a bidirectional mode: it allows automatic acquisition of data related to the production process (times, quantities produced, scrap, downtime, causal, energy consumption, etc.) and also allows sending to the machines the necessary data for the execution of the production process (e.g. process parameters, setup operating instructions, instructions on the article to be produced, etc.)

 

Quality & process control

OPERA guarantees the product conformity through the managing and acquisition of the quality checks in the production. The system allows the definition of quality tests on raw materials, semi-finished and finished goods; electronic tests dispatching and real time data acquisition and monitoring for an immediate reaction to possible problems. An accurate analysis of the results (lots status, tests results, tools used, operators involved, non-compliance reasons recorded, etc.) enables the determination of the main reasons affecting products defects and the identification of the best corrective actions to guarantee the quality of both products and manufacturing processes. OPERA MES manages both attribute tests (visual inspection) and instrumental tests (values measurement). The main functionalities are:

  • Quality tests definition on raw materials, semi-finished and finished goods
  • Dispatching and execution of the quality tests
  • Real time quality checks data acquisition (manually and/or automatically)
  • Quality data real time monitoring
  • Quality data report and historical analysis

With Process Control, for each production order/lot it is possible to set a constant control of the productive process values. Through a direct connection with devices, control systems and/or measurement tools, the system collects and records process values, highlighting the process variables, with the aim of promptly and quickly eliminating the ‘special causes’ that mostly affect the quality of the product, then trying to take corrective actions to remove them one by one.

For this purpose, OPERA uses control charts, allowing the monitoring of the chart values and the immediate identification in case the process is out of control, as well as trigging “errors” and events (plant downtime, quality control request, maintenance request, etc.), in order to promptly solve the process criticalities detected. LOTS

Tracking and Tracing are procedures used by companies to recreate the genealogy of a product, recording every single component of the product, to guarantee its quality, while managing any non-compliance situations. Tracking makes it possible to track the lots of materials used in the production of the finished product, from the origin of the product to its distribution. Traceability, on the other hand, is the reverse path and allows, given a finished product, to trace the data of the compound detected during the production phases, to allow the recall of the product. OPERA allows to record, during the progress of processing, millions of records that report every moment of “life” of the product. The main features are:

  • Monitoring of raw (or semi-finished) materials quantities consumed
  • Collecting information related to the quantities produced in production
  • Generating new lots to identify the material produced
  • Monitoring of the components stock levels on the machine

 

Maintenance management

OPERA manages and controls all the maintenance activities performed on the company assets, in particular the assets involved in the production process such as machines/equipment/tools and other work instruments. The primary objective is to ensure the availability of production resources, trying to avoid breakdowns and/or incidental breakages that can affect the productivity, as well as maintaining a good technological level of the plants and above all reducing the losses for the management of the plant and related maintenance costs to zero.

OPERA maintenance is managed on 4 different aspects in a transversal way with the other functional areas of production, quality and materials.