Critical Manufacturing has officially released version 7 (V7) of its modern Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for Industry 4.0. This Augmented MES release delivers four new modules: Augmented Reality, Experiments Management, Weigh and Dispense, and BI Cards. This latest version takes the already feature rich, modular solution to new levels; enhancing users’ experiences; speeding new product introduction (NPI); improving safety, reliability and visibility of processes and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Critical Manufacturing (CM) MES V7 is the most comprehensive and advanced MES solution currently available in the marketplace. It is designed to provide a pathway to smart manufacturing with Industry 4.0 technologies for innovative, high-tech discrete manufacturers and now offers unlimited possibilities for efficiency, productivity, mobility and data visualization through an Augmented MES experience.
The new Augmented Reality (AR) module is at the core of the new release, and advances the Industry 4.0 roadmap further beyond the Factory Digital Twin and Connect IoT equipment and automation modules. AR breaks new ground by providing manufacturing employees with a new and engaging immersive experience, using data from throughout the MES. It can provide operators with everything they need, including process information, production steps, materials and work instructions.
Users can easily access and view full traceability records, product specifications and order details as well as equipment information such as in-process lots, overall equipment efficiency (OEE), mean time to repair (MTTR), cycle times, maintenance schedules, repair instructions, and much more. It can even help prevent counterfeit components. The user simply points the AR device, such as a tablet, smartphone or AR glasses at the product or machine, and the module will provide needed real-time information superimposed on a live camera image of the production operation, equipment or product.
Francisco Almada Lobo, Critical Manufacturing CEO commented: “Until now, Augmented Reality has been associated with very limited manufacturing scenarios, such as equipment maintenance. Our new AR module goes way beyond that, providing manufacturers with unlimited possibilities to seize productivity and efficiency gains, and for the first time utilize comprehensive data from across the entire MES. Also, with CM’s new AR module, there is a relatively low investment, as readily available tablets and smartphones can be used as an alternative to more expensive AR headsets and glasses.”
Another major highlight of the V7 release is the Experiments Management module, which provides engineers with a way to identify and implement process and product improvements through a controlled, closed-loop process. They can perform Design of Experiments (DoE) with multiple input variables, reducing time spent on this activity, and then seamlessly and transparently execute and monitor experiments side-by-side on the shop floor. This augments companies’ approach to continuous improvement, which will be needed as their journey to smart manufacturing progresses. The potential this module offers to increase understanding and knowledge of the effect of process variables translates into improved quality and reliability of processes and products. Experiments Management has the potential to lower both development and production costs as well as help speed new product introductions (NPI).
The new Weigh and Dispense module has been designed to help manufacturers, particularly in the MedTech industry, achieve complete and strict adherence to safety regulations and recipes. It offers tight control of both manual and automated weighing, dispensing and filling operations with automated label printing. All measurements are recorded in the automated electronic Batch Record (eBR) for total traceability and straightforward production of regulatory compliance documentation to GxP / FDA requirements.
Weigh and Dispense integrates with electronic scales and dispensing machinery and is fully integrated within the Critical Manufacturing MES for full end-to-end process and history. Its use ensures accurate data collection, with the removal of manual methods and paper records, as many digital transformation programs envision. Alongside ensuring accurate data and batch formulation, the module also provides details to the operator of product handling requirements such as glasses, gloves or masks. Overall, this module offers MedTech manufacturers ways to increase product safety, quality and consistency while boosting productivity.
Last but not least, the BI Cards module gives powerful performance visibility with quick and easy creation and sharing of customised KPI views and production dashboards. System users can rapidly create attractive displays with easy-to-use widgets and, because the module is fully integrated with the MES, information is updated in real-time. The module removes the need for advanced IT skills or expensive, customised software, instead giving assigned users who best understand the processes the power to create the displays they need.