Steve Monaghan, VP, Ian Burns, President and Dirk Sweigart, Director - MES Solutions
Whether it is due to the Internet of Things (IoT) or the steadily declining cost of electronic gadgets, manufacturing companies are rushing to equip managers, supervisors, and operators with mobile devices for increased efficiency, and productivity. Adding to that trend is the rapid integration of information and operations technologies followed by their migration to the cloud which further enables the use of manufacturing execution systems (MES) within a plant. Optimal plant floor operation demands an accurate understanding of the data flowing through the MES and contextualizing it to generate actionable information. Backed by an in-depth knowledge of plant floor automation, process control systems, and the safety aspects of the production line, Applied Control Engineering, Inc. (ACE) streamlines the MES with data contextualization for driving enhanced manufacturing decisions. “Rather than simply manipulating data, we understand that data, contextualize it, and make it available to the right people for improved process decisions,” states Ian Burns, President of ACE.
Having been established in the MES landscape as an independent control systems integrator and engineering services company since 1991, ACE offers a range of budget-friendly plant floor automation services to help clients effectively meet their customers’ needs. From data capture, generating key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to batch processing and production tracking, ACE is fully equipped to streamline coordination and automation of various technologies across the MES space. For clients requiring electronic batch records (EBR), ACE’s solutions accumulate the appropriate batch data, including data from the control systems, and make it available to their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
ACE provides documentation and training which enables the clients to bring their employees up to speed on plant floor automation processes for seamless execution of manufacturing projects. ACE’s service set boasts a flexible yet disciplined blend of traditional waterfall and agile development mechanisms for project execution that enables clients to easily grasp the value of the systems being delivered and supply feedback for efficient project implementation.
Rather than simply manipulating data, we understand that data, contextualize it, and make it available to the right people for improved process decisions
ACE takes great pride in establishing a strong partnership with their clients to understand their processes and their employees. The company also leverages a healthy partnership with major suppliers in the MES space, interacts with them to evaluate their suite of offerings, and pick the best-fit services for their customers. “We build a relationship with our clients to learn about their products, technical support and sales, and their customers for providing the best MES services while keeping our engineers on the job happy,” says Dirk Sweigart, Director of MES Solutions, ACE. The company begins its client engagement process with a comprehensive workshop to gain knowledge on the client’s requirements and the limitations of their processes control systems. ACE’s experience-rich team then streamlines the information flowing across the client’s MES with intuitive visuals of the solution being constructed.
Recently, one of ACE’s clients, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, with numerous packaging and production lines, faced an uphill task of identifying production losses and mitigating the bottlenecks caused by them. ACE’s team structured and converted the large volume of MES data into valuable information, empowering the client with a comprehensive data set to analyze and run multiple manufacturing improvement projects. This enabled the client to efficiently manage their engineering budget to fund priority improvements resulting in increased throughput and higher yields. ACE’s Vice President, Steve Monaghan recalls, “Our service provided insights into the client’s MES data, allowing them to seamlessly execute projects across multiple production and packaging lines.”
Moving forward, ACE will continue to boost manufacturing efficiency and savings with robust cybersecurity and advanced networking capabilities for pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and chemical industries across the globe.