Stefan Loelkes, CSO
In today’s fiercely competitive global manufacturing arena, manufacturers must compete on an international level in their journey toward Industry 4.0. To stay ahead in this race, manufacturers need to ensure their machines are always operating within controlled limits, there is no unplanned downtime, no raw material is ever wasted, yields are precisely how they should be, and energy costs are continually optimized. In addition, manufacturers are expected to comply with a multitude of quality standards and complex regulatory requirements.
However, aspiring smart factories will remain a far-fetched vision if operated using the standard back-office planning systems. As a result, it is paramount to have all factory data visible anytime and anywhere to help manufacturers identify and prioritize the improvement opportunities of their factories. Without this near-real-time data insight, inaccurate schedules can result in impractical production plans, longer production cycle times, and crammed in-processes. To allow production companies to gain insight into production operations for more informed decision-making, MPDV, a family-owned business headquartered in Germany, was established. Today, with more than 40 years of experience in the manufacturing environment, MPDV has extensive expertise in supporting the transformation of manufacturers of any size into smart factories. With implementation teams in 3 continents and 15 offices worldwide, MPDV is a proven leader in the MES field.
Ditching the old and monolithic manufacturing execution systems (MES), MPDV rolled out HYDRA, its modular and platform-based MES product. With its extensive spectrum of capabilities, HYDRA can fully cover the requirements of the VDI guideline 5600 (based on IEC 62264 and ANSI/ ISA-95) as well as IIoT interoperability demands. “Our HYDRA MES system takes into account the needs of modern manufacturing companies—scalability, flexibility, value for money, and usability,” comments Stefan Loelkes, the chief sales officer at MPDV USA in Orland Park, IL. HYDRA ensures a 360-degree view of all resources involved in production and can seamlessly map overlapping processes, acting as a missing link between the shop floor and the manufacturing company’s ERP system. With an MES such as HYDRA, manufacturing companies can ensure their responsiveness and competency as they race toward Industry 4.0.
When it comes to the client onboarding process, MPDV’s HYDRA is ready to be used “out of the box” (OOTB).
Our HYDRA MES system takes into account the needs of modern manufacturing companies— scalability, flexibility, value for money, and usability
Experienced clients usually prefer an OOTB approach and choose to book additional training and services from MPDV on an as-needed basis. For more complex cases, MPDV takes a consultative approach to determine whether each client’s requirements can be met with the standard MES HYDRA solution or if enhancements are needed. A classical implementation team from MPDV then supports the client during the deployment process. With its 22 modules, HYDRA excels when used in classical manufacturing projects that involve topics such as assessing shop floor status, scheduling, and process value setting and monitoring. Quality assurance together with tracking and tracing of material batches is often a mandatory part of the MES implementation. In addition, human resource aspects of scheduling based on qualifications and the handling of complex shift models in larger factories can be part of a HYDRA implementation.
Highlighting one instance, Loelkes talks about MPDV’s recent partnership with ALLGAIER, a leading supplier of metal structures to automotive OEMs. The company wanted to gain greater insight into machine efficiencies in order to improve the overall production workflow. ALLGAIER implemented HYDRA to collect and analyze standstill data from their factory machines. After implementation, the shop floor and machine data, along with shop floor scheduling details, were interlinked to facilitate order evaluation and optimization of machine assignment. As a next step, the client extended its application of HYDRA by adding modules such as material and production logistics (MPL), in-production inspection, and process data collection. With HYDRA, tasks like order processing, and machine status and production quantities reporting became automated. “We were able to gain a transparent view of orders and improve our performance in the long term with HYDRA with superior machine data. To date, HYDRA continues to help us define standardized operative KPIs across the group,” says Patrick Wolf, IT Manager at ALLGAIER.
In its journey, MPDV has grown from a two-person team to a 500-employee medium-size business with 1300 success stories worldwide. For the future, MPDV has a clear vision to create smart factories where the manufacturer can feed big data into MPDV’s platform as part of the machine learning eco-system in order to predict production quality, monitor shop floor activity, enable predictive maintenance of equipment, and much more. To that end, MPDV has formed a joint subsidiary called AIMES (Artificial Intelligence for Manufacturing Excellence Solutions) in collaboration with Perfect Pattern, an industrial AI company, to develop and provide software components to bolster artificial intelligence in the realm of manufacturing. MPDV is also ready to launch the second version of its EDGE computing suite to enable better IoT data collection on smart factory floors.