M2M Rollout Article on Rose Integration and Memex Automation in IT Business Canada

Brian Jackson writes an excellent article in IT Business Canada, that discusses how Memex Automation helped Rose Integration and is titled:

How M2M rollout led to a big productivity boost for one Ontario manufacturer

As the article starts of, “When Ryan Bishop took on his new job as operations manager at Carleton Place, Ont.-based Rose Integration in the summer of 2010 he had a plan on how to keep tabs on the manufacturer’s shop floor productivity – every hour the machine operators would write the number of parts they made on a white board and the foreman would photograph the numbers and type them into a spreadsheet.”

David McPhail was quoted in the article, ““I take every signal I can get off that machine that tells me if it’s running and if it’s not, why it’s not,” says David McPhail, CEO of Memex Automation. “We walk into a plant full of equipment and we don’t care about the vintage, the type, the model, we can connect to it.”

Brian Jackson ends his article with, “In fact, Memex has become Bishop’s new night supervisor. He has alerts sent to his phone if a machine is seeing too much down time. Then he can call in to inquire about why that’s happening and get his workers back on track.”

That’s a great way to think about what we do at Memex – we watch your systems so you don’t have to.

Below is a video of Rose Integration:

To see the full blog post, please click here.

Control Costs with Shop Floor Monitoring

Taken from the Okuma Blog, Jeff Estes digs deeper into why machine monitoring is the key to finding where the productivity problems are so you can find and resolve them.

Profits can sneak out your door silently, unseen. But today we have tools that can help you determine where your productivity problems are, so you find and resolve them. The key is to perform shop floor monitoring and operations monitoring in addition to machine monitoring. By doing this you can view key performance indicators like parts output and quality – factors that are critical to measure so you can control your costs.

Dig Into Dashboard Data

When a job takes longer than planned, you can spend a lot of time chasing people down to try and unravel the mystery about why this is happening. Or you can quickly find out where the problem is coming from in real time, from one centralized dashboard right at your desk. Check out this video to see how to use a shop floor monitoring dashboard to pinpoint issues that may be reducing your productivity. In our example, we see:

• An Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of 22%. (Yes, this is bad!)
• Performance is only 67%. (Why?)

By digging deeper into the dashboard data, clues emerge about these problem areas. Perhaps there’s an operator that needs more training, or there’s a problem with the material or process. Having a view of where the problem comes from allows you to solve it or prevent it. Shop floor monitoring tools like those available from Memex and dataZen (members of Partners in THINC) allow you to focus your energy in the right place, so you can increase your productivity.

How are you monitoring your shop floor? Feel free to comment below, or contact us, or your local distributor, to find out how you can use shop floor monitoring. And send us your ideas for future video blogs – we’re here to help!

Jeff Estes is Director of Partners in THINC, Okuma America Corporation.

To see the full blog entry, please click here.

The Last Meter

Written by Dave Edstrom

What is the last metre?

The last metre, or last meter if you live in the United States, is the combination of technical, and sometimes business, challenges involved to make the final connection of a device to the Internet.   A device would be any device from a multi-million dollar machine tool to an inexpensive sensor.

Many have heard of “the last mile problem” as it relates to the challenge of connecting a house to the Internet.  Solving “the last mile problem” can be quite complicated and costly with legal right of ways, homeowner associations, and local politics and of course homeowner concerns.   Solving the last metre is exponentially more complex because of the number and types of machines and devices on the manufacturing floor.  At Memex, we know how to solve the last metre on the manufacturing floor and we know our methodologies and toolkits can provide the platform to solve the last metre problem in a variety of non-manufacturing industries.

Why is the last metre important?

As the old saying goes, the great thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from, and there are more standards coming every day. It is widely believed that only 2 to 3 percent of all shops or plants monitor their manufacturing floor.  The reason for this very low number is the complexity and cost of connecting to the wide range of machine tools and manufacturing equipment. Without the ability to connect and get data from these devices, the ability to improve plant operations is completely stymied.  When shops or plants are asked what their current utilization percent are, the number is typically 65 to 70 percent.  When these plants are actually measured, the real number is 30 to 35 percent.

As Lord Kelvin so simply, yet elegantly stated, “you cannot manage what you cannot measure.”

Where and how is the last metre being solved?

With a wide range of protocols and expensive proprietary options, it has only been the largest of companies that have attempted to solve the last metre problem.  Even then, these companies typically find out that it is much more costly and expensive than they initially planned.  Too many companies end up with one-off solutions where they are forever locked into a very specific and usually expensive solution.

Memex Automation is solving the last metre problem in an open way that leaves the customer with choices today and choices tomorrow.

How does Memex Automation solve the last metre?

For 22 years, Memex Automation has been building a robust portfolio of products with the clear understanding of the last metre challenges.  In order to address the plethora of machine tools and manufacturing devices on the plant floor, we created a sophisticated platform independent toolkit, made of software and hardware, with decades of experience in manufacturing that could be utilized to connect the millions of legacy machine tools around the globe.

The ability to connect to machine tools depends on how they are configured.  With an MTConnect enabled machine tool, it is basically plug-n-play.  For most companies, the most challenging connection is with a legacy machine tool.  With a legacy machine tool, there likely is no MTConnect or OPC option, making connection a complicated task.  However, at Memex, it’s a simple three-step process with the platform of software and hardware tools:

  1. We connect your machine tool to your network using a Universal Machine Interface (UMI).
  2. We connect the UMI to our “Signal Conditioner” software to interpret your machine’s information.
  3. We convert this information to the format you need, such as MTConnect, to make it easily readable and available on the network.

How does Memex Automation solve the last metre with devices that are not machine tools?

With our deep expertise with manufacturing and MTConnect, we know what needs to be done to convert other devices, protocols and systems using an adapter that will then send it to an MTConnect agent.

Does Memex Automation ONLY address the last metre?

Absolutely not!

Memex provides a complete set of connectivity solutions for addressing the last metre challenge as well as a complete Manufacturing Execution System (MES) called MERLIN, as well as other hardware and software products to help manufacturing from the shop floor to the top floor.  Memex has a communications platform to connect any manufacturing machine.

About Dave Edstrom

Dave Edstrom, CTO, was President and Chairman of the Board of the MTConnect Institute for the last three and a half years and prior to that, the Chief Technologist for Global Software at Sun Microsystems.  In October 2006, while working at Sun Microsystems, Edstrom and Dr. David Patterson of the University of California at Berkeley, laid out the MTConnect vision at The Association For Manufacturing Technology’s Annual Meeting.  Mr. Edstrom is the author of the book “MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know.”

The MTConnect standard is an open source royalty-free standard that is intended to foster greater interoperability between devices and software applications.  By establishing an open and extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment and systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange and understand each other’s data.  MERLIN incorporates the MTConnect standard in its universal machine interface, enabling all machines to communicate XML in real-time.  MERLIN contextualizes the data to measure plant-wide capacity utilization in real-time.

Memex Automation Wins 2013 PEM Award for Best Company Under 50 Employees

This is extremely impressive!

I am very, very fortunate to have joined the Memex Automation team!

In presenting the award the judging panel focused on Memex Automation’s outstanding ability to serve customers. Judges are also this year’s award sponsors: FLIR Canada, Siemens Canada Ltd., Fluke Electronics Canada LP as well as PEM Magazine staff.

Memex Automation’s latest award also recognizes its ability to provide rapid customer Return On Investment (ROI) for its flagship product MERLIN. MERLIN boosts productivity, profits and efficiency for manufacturers by monitoring the performance of machine tools. 

01
Rehana Begg, Editor, PEM Plant Engineering & Maintenance Magazine, and John Rattray, VP Sales and Marketing, Memex Automation.

Press Release:

Memex Automation receives PEM Plant Engineering & Maintenance Magazine Award

Burlington, ON, Canada – April 15, 2014 – Astrix Networks Inc. (TSX-V: OEE) operating under the trade name Memex Automation Inc., the global leader of manufacturing Machine to Machine (M2M) productivity solutions, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the 2013 PEM Plant Engineering & Maintenance Award for Best Company Under 50 Employees. Sponsored this year by FLIR Canada, Siemens Canada Ltd., and Fluke Electronics Canada LP, the PEM Maintenance Awards were first introduced in 1999 with the mandate of acknowledging and rewarding excellence in industrial technology.

Memex Automation’s latest award is based on its ability to prove customer Return On Investment (ROI) for its flagship product MERLIN. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is the measurement of plant-wide capacity utilization, and MERLIN generates OEE in real-time, enterprise-wide, machine by machine. In one instance, MERLIN increased OEE from 40% to 82% across 30 machines in a custom manufacturing company. In another example, MERLIN’s productivity boost cut a major aerospace manufacturer’s work order completion time from 35 days to just 5 days – a 700% improvement.

“The MERLIN product team is extremely proud of our 2013 PEM award,” said David McPhail, Memex Automation’s CEO. “Plant Engineering & Maintenance Magazine is well-read and well-respected by industrial engineers, plant operations and maintenance professionals and this endorsement of our technology will further fuel our sales growth and customer success.”

MERLIN lets customers know exactly where they can improve manufacturing operations in order to operate faster, and more efficiently.  When manufacturing shop floor team members address production bottlenecks with MERLIN, they can improve throughput, and increase overall profitability.

About PEM Plant Engineering and Maintenance Magazine

During the past 30 years, PEM Plant Engineering and Maintenance Magazine has evolved and kept pace with industry growth. Today PEM is Canada’s total reliability magazine for industrial engineers, plant operations and maintenance professionals. Its mission is to provide readers on the shop floor with the information they need to increase manufacturing production and equipment uptime, integrate new technology, reduce operating costs, manage groups of skilled professionals in an industrial setting and encourage career development. For more information, please visit: www.pem-mag.com.

About Memex Automation Inc.

Memex Automation (TSX-V:OEE) is the global leader of manufacturing Machine to Machine (M2M) productivity solutions and the measurement of Overall Equipment Effectiveness in real-time (“OEE”). In 2013, Frost & Sullivan awarded MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) its Technology Innovation Leadership Award, and Microsoft picked MERLIN to be its mid-market ERP machine connectivity solution. Mazak, North America’s largest original equipment manufacturer of machine tools purchased MERLIN to manage its Florence, KY, plant and offers MERLIN on its price list. For more information, please visit: www.memex.ca

Memex Automation Joins Partners in THINC

This is a BIG deal.  Okuma are great partners. For Immediate ReleaseContact: Julie Murphy, Marketing Manager Okuma America Corporation 704-504-6324 or 704-547-4930 jmurphy@okuma.com

Memex Automation Joins Partners in THINC 

Okuma America Corporation announces that Memex Automation has joined Partners in THINC. Memex Automation joins 40+ other members that provide solutions to end-users and enhance productivity while maintaining lean operations.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 1, 2014) – Okuma America Corporation, a world leader in CNC machine tools, is pleased to announce that Memex Automation, the operating company of Astrix Automation Inc. (TSX-V: OEE) and maker of the MERLIN Manufacturing Execution System, an innovative shop floor productivity solution, has joined Partners in THINC.

Memex Automation, headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, specializes in networking machine tools to management information systems. This communication allows for productivity, plant- wide visibility and other statistics to be sent digitally anywhere in the world. Memex Automation solutions are used by a variety of Okuma customers throughout a variety of industries. Their applications are designed to interface with a wide range of controllers and data including the open-architecture Okuma THINC®-OSP control.

Benefits of Memex Automation solutions include:

  • Manufacturing Execution System which improves profitability, reduces waste and
    ensures compliance with regulations
  • MERLIN machine monitoring typically increases shop floor efficiency by 10% or more
  • Direct Numerical Control allows for simultaneous upload and download of multiple CNC
    controls
  • MERLIN offers an M2M communications platform for enabling information from
    machines to be utilized for improving machining operations
    “We are excited to announce our new partnership with Memex Automation. Their expertise and dedication to helping manufacturers obtain the highest level of profitability possible through real time productivity information tools, makes them a great addition to Partners in THINC.” says Jeff Estes, Director of Partners in THINC.
    For more information on Memex Automation and other members of Partners in THINC, visit http://www.okuma.com/partners-in-thinc.
Okuma America Corporation
11900 Westhall Drive • Charlotte, North Carolina 28278 • Phone: (704) 588-7000 • Fax: (704) 588-6503 • www.Okuma.com ISO 9001:2008 Registered Quality System
About Okuma America Corporation:

Okuma America Corporation is the U.S.-based sales and service affiliate of Okuma Corporation, a world leader in CNC (computer numeric control) machine tools, founded in 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. The company is the industry’s only single-source provider, with the CNC machine, drive, motors, encoders, spindle and CNC control all manufactured by Okuma. Okuma’s innovative and reliable technology, paired with comprehensive, localized service protection, allows users to run continuously with confidence – maximizing profitability. Along with its industry- leading distribution network (largest in the Americas), and Partners in THINC®, Okuma facilitates quality, productivity and efficiency, empowering the customer and enabling competitive advantage in today’s demanding manufacturing environment. For more information, visit www.okuma.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @OkumaAmerica.

About Partners in THINC:

Partners in THINC is a collaboration network of more than 40 industry leaders who come together to solve problems and explore new productivity ideas for real-world manufacturers. With the open architecture, PC-based THINC®- OSP control as its nucleus, Partners in THINC brings specialized equipment, expertise and a commitment to provide the best possible integrated solutions to the end-user. For more information, visit www.okuma.com/partners-in- thinc.

About Memex Automation:

Memex Automation (TSX-V:OEE) is the leader of the measurement of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (“OEE”) in
real-time. OEE is the measurement of plant-wide capacity utilization. MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) generates OEE enterprise-wide, machine by machine. Frost & Sullivan awarded MERLIN its 2013 Technology Innovation Leadership Award. In 2013, Microsoft picked MERLIN to be its mid-market ERP machine connectivity solution. MERLIN incorporates the MTConnect standard, an open source royalty free XML protocol, and it solves the last meter connectivity problem faced by 97% of manufacturers. For more information, please visit: www.memex.ca.

To go to Dave’s blog, please click here.

Memex Automation Engages Investor Relations Firms

We, at Memex Automation, engaged a couple of companies to help us with investor relations and shareholder communications.  These are exciting times with a world of opportunities in front of us!
The full press release is below:

Memex Automation Engages Investor Relations Firms

BURLINGTON, ON- (Marketwired – Mar 26, 2014) – Astrix Networks Inc. (TSX VENTURE: OEE) operating under the trade name Memex Automation Inc. (“Memex” or the “Company”), the global leader of manufacturing M2M productivity solutions, is pleased to announce that it has engaged Investor Cubed Inc. (“Investor Cubed”) and Proactive Investors (“Proactive”), to provide investor relations and shareholder communications services effective immediately. Both Investor Cubed and Proactive will focus on increasing investor awareness in their respective verticals, introducing Memex to its network of investment advisors, investment dealers, institutions and other financial professionals.

In connection with these engagements, Investor Cubed has been awarded a consulting contract for a term of fifteen months on a fee for services basis, $5,000 per month, and granted options to purchase 250,000 shares of Memex at a price of twenty cents per share. Proactive subscribed for $24,500 of the previously announced private placement at 14 cents per share and has been engaged for a term of one year on a contract of the same total value. The Investor Cubed options will vest quarterly in four batches of 62,500 each during the term of the contract starting September 19, 2014. The contract may be cancelled at the end of a quarter under certain conditions. Any options not vested will terminate upon the cancellation of the contract. The options are governed by the provisions of the Company’s stock option plan and the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange.

“As a new public company, we’re committed to building both our core business and our public company profile at the same time,” said David McPhail, CEO. “The simultaneous appointment of Investor Cubed and Proactive enables us to reach investors, brokers, dealers and institutional investors succinctly, globally. Whereas Investor Cubed is well positioned in Canada, Proactive gets us into New York, London and Frankfurt, Sydney and SE Asia. Our product, MERLIN, sells and markets globally. Now we are marketing our stock globally,” he said.

“We are very pleased to be working with ‘OEE’ as they represent the best of manufacturing productivity in the machine to management (M2M) industrial Internet space,” said Neil Simon, Investor Cubed’s CEO. “This company is a unique opportunity for investors in the small cap sector who are interested in the Industrial Internet and its application within manufacturing. I see the company becoming the RedHat of the Industrial Internet,” he said.

“I find OEE to be an interesting company,” said Ian McLelland, President, Proactive Investors. “It’s interesting because they use the Internet securely to show manufacturers how to make more production and profit with the same labor and equipment. For example, Mazak, North America’s largest machine tool builder based in Florence, KY, within an 800,000 square foot plant, published in the March online edition of Modern Machine Shop a 17% improvement in production equipment utilization after installing the company’s solution, MERLIN. That’s impressive. I believe my following in New York, London, Sydney and SE Asia will understand that value,” he said.

About Investor Cubed Inc.

Investor Cubed provides specialized consulting services to a select group of leading emerging and mid-capitalization companies, with an objective of taking our clients to the next level. Investor Cubed assists these companies in gaining exposure to an established national network of financial industry professionals. This broad network includes investment advisors, bank owned investment dealers and leading independent financial firms. In addition, Investor Cubed provides traditional investor relations services including tailored national marketing and communications strategies. For more information, please visit: www.investor3.ca

About Proactive Investor Service

Proactive Investors is a leading multi-media news organization, investor portal and events management business with offices in New York, Sydney, Toronto, Frankfurt and London.

Proactive Investors operates five financial websites in four languages providing breaking news, comment and analysis on hundreds of listed companies across the globe daily. Proactive is one of the fastest growing financial media portals in the world. The group also operates hugely successful “investor forums” where three or four companies present to an audience of high net worth sophisticated investors, fund managers, hedge funds, private client brokers and analysts.

Globally, Proactive traffic continues to race ahead as private and professional investors continue to rank the group as one of the leading free sources of breaking news, in-depth comment and analysis and CEO interviews on companies listed on stock exchanges across the globe. In March 2010, total visitors to Proactive Investors websites eclipsed 1 million. Proactive provides content to many of the world’s largest news amalgamators, financial websites, and news tracking services, and also provides commentary to dozens of other leading specialist investor focused websites. For more information, please visit: www.proactiveinvestors.com

About Memex Automation Inc.

Memex Automation (TSX VENTURE: OEE) is the leader of the measurement of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (“OEE”) in real-time. OEE is the measurement of plant-wide capacity utilization. MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) generates OEE enterprise-wide, machine by machine. Frost & Sullivan awarded MERLIN its 2013 Technology Innovation Leadership Award. In 2013, Microsoft picked MERLIN to be its mid-market ERP machine connectivity solution. Mazak, North America’s largest original equipment manufacturer of machine tools, purchased MERLIN to manage its plant and now offers it on its price list.
For more information, please visit: www.memex.ca

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

Contact Information

For further information please contact:

Memex Automation Inc.
Thomas Smeenk
Telephone: 905-536-3138
Email: Thomas.Smeenk@Memex.ca
www.memex.ca

Investor Cubed Inc.
Neil Simon
Telephone: 647-258-3311
Email: Nsimon@investor3.ca
www.investor3.ca

Proactive Investors
Sam Kiri
Telephone: 647-342-2932
Email: sam@proactiveinvestors.com
www.proactiveinvestors.com

To see the full press release, please click here.

To go to Dave Edstrom’s blog, please click here.

Mazak and Memex Data Driven Manufacturing Article in Modern Machine Shop

March 22, 2014 – There is no better writer in manufacturing than Mark Albert of Modern Machine Shop and certainly no better MTConnect advocate.

Modern Machine Shop has an excellent article titled, Data-Driven Manufacturing Moves Ahead at Mazak”that discusses Mazak utilizing MTConnect at Mazak’s North American Headquarters and Technology Center in Florence, Ky.

This is a great quote in the article by Brian Papke, President of Mazak USA:  “This total embrace of MTConnect was intended to make a statement,” Mr. Papke says. “We wanted to be a leader in both promoting and implementing MTConnect. We wanted our example to show the country the importance of moving toward data-driven manufacturing. MTConnect is an essential part of what makes data-driven manufacturing possible.”

Every machine tool monitoring company went after this business that I can think of and Memex Automation ended up winning by a landslide.  Below is a snippet of the article that discusses our solutions at Memex, called MERLIN:

Since November, all of these machines have been connected to the machine monitoring system, which uses MERLIN MES monitoring software developed by Memex Automation (Burlington, Ontario). MERLIN (Manufacturing Execution Real-time Lean Information Network) is a manufacturing execution system and machine-to-machine communications platform. Memex has been providing network connectivity, DNC software and machine monitoring systems since 1992 and has offered MTConnect-compatible versions of its MERLIN machine monitoring and manufacturing execution systems since 2010.

Dave McPhail, President and Chairman of the Board for Memex Automation stated the value proposition below:

“Rather than offering an expensive, custom installation for every client, we’ve produced a packaged, machine-to-machine toolkit adaptable by all manufacturers. The technological breakthrough here is that MERLIN is an MTConnect-based hardware and software module that does not require programming or setting up of PLCs. The MES leverages a company’s existing investment in plant, equipment and enterprise software,” says David McPhail, president and CEO of Memex Automation.”

Neil Desrosiers of Mazak stated the history of the task force and why Memex’s MERLIN was selected:

“This supplier was selected after a task force headed by Neil Desrosiers, Mazak’s developer of digital solutions, evaluated numerous commercial monitoring systems. This task force included IT personnel, machine operators, shopfloor supervisors and managers from the machining department. Two factors tipped the choice to MERLIN. The most important of these was the apparent ease with which reports could be configured for various users within the company. The other was the ability to store collected data and archived reports locally on a dedicated network server rather than on remote storage accessible on the Internet (the “cloud”), a concession to security concerns raised by the IT team.”

Ben Schwawe, VP of Manufacturing at the Florence, KY Mazak facility stated:

“The machine monitoring system appears to be a good example of this sort of technology. In operation since November, the system has yielded significant benefits, initially by uncovering some easily fixed inefficiencies and practices. Mr. Schawe says that these fixes have increased uptime by 6.2 percent across the 15 machines that are fully integrated into the system. “This was that low-hanging fruit, so to speak,” he says. “We’ve also recognized some opportunities to make additional gains from efforts such as putting greater emphasis on having replacements for worn tools ready to go.” Taken together, these efforts have yielded a 17 percent improvement in utilization for the monitored machines so far.

But over and above these benefits is the advantage of having a system that takes the guesswork out of tracking machine utilization. “We can tell at a glance how we are doing, and the basis is in real-time data,” Mr. Schawe explains.”

This is a true inflection point in not only MTConnect, but in Mazak’s and Memex Automation’s history.

Thanks to Mark Albert for writing this fantastic article!

– Dave Edstrom

To go directly to Dave Edstrom’s blog, please click here.

Photons and Electrons

Photons and Electrons is Dave Edstrom’s personal blog about technology and some of his personal interests.

Dave is the CEO/CTO of Virtual Photons Electrons, and was most recently the President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute from May 2010 to January 2014, as well as co-architect of MTInsight. Dave has now joined the senior management team at Memex Automation as the Chief Technology Officer and we are absolutely thrilled to have him on board.

Check out his blog at: http://photonsandelectrons.blogspot.ca/

 

Improving Your Manufacturing Capacity

Imagine improving your manufacturing capacity by 10 to 50 percent. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? A lot of manufacturing companies think they’ve eked out every last ounce of capacity from their shop floor. Truth is, most have little or no understanding of how the equipment on the floor is truly functioning.

For a manufacturing business to be truly effective, they must be integrated “from the shop floor to the top floor.” In other words, they need to know as much about what is going on at the machine level as they do at the financial level.

If I were to take you on a tour of the business systems of a manufacturer who is fully integrated, here are a few of the things you’d see:

  • The transfer of production orders from the ERP system to the machine is streamlined and automated via an “electronic traveler” that sends results, including part counts, run times, down times with reason codes, and quality information, back to the ERP system.
  • Automated data collection directly from any and all types of machines via machine to machine connectivity tools, including emails, reporting and alerts.
  • Dashboard metrics provide instant visibility and machine alerts for the entire shop floor to see so that problems such as machine breakdown or parts rejection can be dealt with immediately.
  • Executives and shop floor managers can monitor and benchmark productivity KPIs in real-time.
  • Production orders flow seamlessly from the ERP system through to the machine or work center on the shop floor, and results are sent back to ERP in real-time.
  • Operations running smoothly with vertical and horizontal integration; vertically shop floor to top floor and horizontally throughout the complete plant so all production teams are informed.

The bottom line benefits are impressive. Rose Integration, a precision machining operation with 30 machines, increased overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) across the shop floor from 40 percent to 82 percent in just 18 months. Magellan, an aerospace manufacturer, increased their machining time by 100 hours per month per machine.

Memex believes so strongly in the benefits of shop floor to top floor integration that we’ve partnered with Microsoft to bring you the Dynamics AX Connector. This utility supports a bi-synchronous import and export of work orders and respective operational information between Microsoft’s Dynamic AX 2012 and the shop floor.

John Rattray, V.P., Memex Automation Inc.

Memex Automation, partners with Microsoft, were invited to be a guest blogger on their site Dynamics Cafe. Visit their site to see the guest blog.

Top 10 Reasons to Select an MES

In my last post, I talked about how a Manufacturing Execution System, or MES, can improve manufacturing capacity by 10 to 50 percent. That’s because most manufacturers, even those who think they run a pretty tight ship, don’t really know what is happening on the shop floor. An MES system provides them with objective, automated, evidence-based data collection that gives them real-time insight into shop floor metrics.

If you’re looking to add MES to your business systems, you need to do your homework. While a vendor may call their application MES or claim it has MES capabilities, not all applications are created equal. Here are the 10 questions to consider when evaluating MES applications.

1.  Does the MES system provide the right information in real-time to all key manufacturing stakeholders?

2.  Does the MES show the manufacturing decision-maker how the current conditions on the plant floor can be optimized to improve production output?

3.  Does the MES track a true Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metric, or is it just reporting a machine-level utilization metric?

4.  Does the MES provide real-time feedback of requirement changes, helping to reduce process error and improve uptime?

5.  Can the vendor explain how their MES system can reduce waste, re-work and scrap, and how it will allow faster setup times?

6.  Will the MES system help to capture more accurate cost information, such as costs related to labor, scrap, downtime, and tooling?

7.  Can the MES access information and data across all types of machines and workstations on the shop floor, not just those that are PLC-controlled?

8.  Does the MES system link seamlessly to the business system? Does it provide for two-way bi-synchronous communication using an electronic traveler?

9.  Is the MES system scalable, and does it use advanced database tools for business intelligence reporting?

10.  Can the MES vendor demonstrate a direct benefit in ROI by improving manufacturing efficiency?

Increasing capacity utilization in a manufacturing plant is all about effective communications between the shop floor and the top floor, and this is where the MES system shines.  By monitoring all of a plant’s machines, not only will productivity and profitability be boosted, but the payback to the bottom line can be realized in just a matter of months.  In the long run, MES is a time-saving, money-generating solution that starts with an understanding of what is happening at the machine level.  Memex connects its MES package, MERLIN, directly from the shop floor to Microsoft’s Dynamic AX 2012 in a bi-synchronous communication of work orders and respective operational information.  To learn more, visit us at www.memex.ca.

John Rattray, V.P., Memex Automation Inc., jrattray@memex.ca