MES and ERP Software Integration
Many of our longtime managers at IQMS dislike the word “integration” in regards to our ERP product line. They feel that the word integration has long been used by the software industry to describe the “bolting” together of software (such as MES offerings) that was not designed to work together out of the gate. But the EnterpriseIQ manufacturing ERP software by IQMS has always encompassed MES functionality as part of its core.
As early as 1993, IQMS developed a native production monitoring module that utilized simple contact closures at each machine to indicate that the machine had just made a part. Because the system knew which parts were running in each machine through the finite schedule tool, it was a simple calculation to identify the amount of raw material, labor and direct overhead that was consumed with each cycle.
Additionally, the Bill of Materials (BOM)/routing master maintained the standard rate of production so the monitoring system could display colors that let users know if the machine was running at standard, slow or fast. If no cycles were received by a defined time threshold, the machine was declared down. Downtime intervals were recorded along with user entered reason codes. The idea of native production machine monitoring by an ERP vendor with no third parties was unheard of then and still is today.
Today’s EnterpriseIQ MES offerings consist of RealTime™ Production Monitoring, RealTime™ Process Monitoring, Preventative Maintenance and Statistical Process Control (SPC) Data Collection and Gage Tracking.
The Production Monitoring module now utilizes wired, wireless or PLC-based communications with machines and controllers. The software has matured over the years based on customer input with more than 17,000 machines of all types being monitored 24/7. Multiple real-time views include part production, OEE factors, setup control, raw material staging, reject reporting and overall plant performance. The finite schedule for each machine is updated with every cycle. Optional lightsticks can be mounted to the machines to display the status colors including an indication when the current work order is complete to avoid overruns. Real-time information can be accessed directly from EnterpriseIQ, the ShopData module, RTStations or Android-based phones and tablets.
The Process Monitoring module allows IP-based connections to PLCs, controllers and other IP or serial devices. It allows for “hands-off” process data capture and analysis through the data historian and SPC module. Data is stored by part number, work order and lot number to provide quick access and traceability. Recipes and setup profiles can be stored and automatically sent to the machine when the job is set up in the first position of the finite schedule. Process information can be accessed from RT Charts, ShopData, Smart Page, RTStations or other browser based hand-held devices.
The Preventative Maintenance module provides a complete maintenance program for machines, tools, dies, auxiliary equipment, gages and facilities. It uses real-time information to track cycles and run hours on tools, machines and other auxiliary equipment. It shares data with purchasing, accounting, inventory and labor reporting modules to provide true maintenance costs and control. Preventative Maintenance information can be accessed directly from EnterpriseIQ, the ShopData module, RTStations or Android-based phones and tablets.
The SPC Data Collection and Gage Tracking module provides variable and attribute analysis with real-time control and trend charts, SPC x-bar-R, X-MR, p-np and histograms. Features also include analysis through Cpk and Ppk and gage repeatability and reproducibility (R&R). The Quick Inspection function allow users to easily enter data from EnterpriseIQ, Process Monitoring, ShopData, AssemblyData, RTStations or Android-based phones and tablets including the use of measurement gages or devices with a data port.
All EnterpriseIQ MES modules, machine monitoring hardware and the RTStation were designed, written and manufactured by IQMS with extensive input from our customers based on their needs. Simply calling them integrated doesn’t really explain the uniqueness of the EnterpriseIQ execution system.