Manufacturing Operations Management | CRA Notice


ARC held its second Virtual European Industry Forum on 17-18 May. As part of the Forum, the traditional session on Manufacturing Operations Management was organized in cooperation with MESA Europe and its Africa chapter. MESA Europe gave a keynote on the new MESA model, connecting the digital threads of long business processes to those of supporting processes, asset lifecycles and enabling technologies. Ian Caister, who started his own company, explained how he designs and implements bespoke IIoT solutions for a wide variety of needs from SMS, limited by bandwidth and budget, combining serverless cloud services with customized state-of-the-art devices based on proven modular hardware architectures. Solutions Architect at Saudi Aramco Shashikant Ramsangar explained how the company took a strategic approach combining ISA 95 concepts, corporate vision and business goals into an architecture that can be adapted to new needs such as sustainability and made possible by new technologies such as AR/VR or 3D printing.

Keynote speech and MESA presentations

MESA Europe President Uwe Kueppers led the way with a presentation on the newly released update of the MESA model. The model helps companies implement manufacturing operations management by providing a generally applicable structure. The idea of ​​the digital thread is applied to so-called ‘long business processes’, such as ‘discovering’, ‘creating’, ‘making’ or ‘selling’. The new MESA model proposes to ask which life cycles, for example “product or production”, intersect with other life cycles such as “digital twin or quality”, and how these interactions are important for business objectives before selecting supporting technologies. The result will be to focus attention and deliver actionable insights so organizations can make improvements that impact business results. A few publications on the new model are available and many more will follow. MESA invites its member companies to participate in this effort.

4IR for the “little guy”

Ian Caister offered practical solutions for SMBs, which are often constrained by budget, IT infrastructure, application knowledge, limited bandwidth, intermittent connectivity, and remote or mobile assets. The use cases mentioned by Ian are:

  • The need to monitor the health, charge levels and condition of batteries in industrial applications such as forklifts or refrigerated trucks.
  • Monitor and adapt conditions when cell cultures at customer sites used for biological crop protection require corrective action.

Ian solved the cloud-related piece of the puzzle by using serverless or “auto-scaling” cloud services that only incur costs when dataflow or dashboards are used. The cloud architecture is classic with a “cold path” for historical analysis and a “hot path” with instant reporting. Configuring and deploying such applications requires knowledge and experience and is usually done by an integrator. A typical cost per connection plus dashboard is around $10 per month, which is incredibly low.

The hardware side of the puzzle has been solved in a novel way and involves bespoke edge gateways designed to meet the needs of the right-sized network interfaces, protocols, temporary storage and aggregation capabilities. With this “just right” design, costs remain around €100 per device. Cleverly, the devices are combinations of proven components and designs, and feature a level of module-level standardization, which accounts for controlled cost, production scalability, and device reliability, comparable to mass customization. consumer products. Responding to a question from the audience, Ian explained that reliability has not been assessed in detail.

Only a few failures among hundreds of installations over several years were observed, and all of them were related to external factors. Combine this with ThyssenKrupp Material IoT solutions for poorly instrumented and automated small industrial sites, and you have a complete smart manufacturing strategy for SMEs.

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Keywords: ARC European Industry Forum, Manufacturing Operations Management, MESA Model, Industry 4 for SMEs, Strategic Approach to Multinationals, ARC Advisory Group.

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