IT implementation is rarely straightforward and with scale and the demands for multi-level connectivity and interoperability comes greater complexity. Fortunately, Forcam, suppliers of shop floor networking systems that already support over 60,000 items of manufacturing plant world-wide, have the experience and understanding to resolve these issues.
The company chose the Hannover Trade Fair to launch Forcam Force, the most advanced version of their manufacturing execution system (MES). This is based on state-of-the-art Java programming to achieve connectivity and interoperability linking shop floor operations to enhance productivity, streaming production data directly into SAP/ERP systems for transparent and better informed management of the global enterprise.
Forcam CEO, Franz Gruber explained. “Our clients we operate globally so Forcam Force is a major advance in capability – it takes the issue of big data and the industrial internet of things to make the smart factory promised by Industry 4.0 a truly global phenomenon. We chose to launch first in Europe, from Hannover, and will be rolling this development out to all our operating companies.”
Clients for the new software will typically be multi-national enterprises with manufacturing facilities in several countries, encompassing different time zones and multiple languages. Equally the programme is attractive to smaller scale sub-system and component suppliers keen to gain competitive advantage by enhancing productivity and increasing scope for supply chain integration with prime manufacturers.
Forcam Force delivers transparency for manufacturing processes with high speed data capture, analysis and customised reporting on plant performance, empowering managers to achieve better overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). The system has been shown to increase productivity by 20 to 33 percent to achieve rapid pay-back and a sustained production dividend.
At the workshop level communication to heterogeneous machine types is enabled by Forcam’s customised plug-ins. Forcam has deep experience in resolving the associated IT issues associated with the machine interface including interconnection to legacy equipment.
Each system user is presented with an individually customised dashboard that presents role-relevant information for machine operators, shop supervisors and plant managers. To avoid information overload, each team member is presented with a tailored graphical representation of relevant bench marks and KPIs, so that they can easily interpret data for prompt and effective action.
Live cache, in-memory computing using complex event processing (CEP) is essential to ensure the high speed handling of big data. Productivity, waste reduction and closer quality control are the key benefits of the system, but modules can be added that can also monitor energy and resource usage and provide accurate track and trace data. The latter feature is especially significant in aerospace defence and multi-national industries with extended supply chains.
Forcam has operations providing local technical support in the UK, Europe, USA, China, India, France and other major industrial markets.