New manufacturing execution system improves the competitiveness of European industryA new manufacturing execution system architecture has been created in an international project coordinated by Tampere University of Technology. The system brings enhancements in industrial efficiency and reduces the time and effort required by changes made in assembly lines, for example.
During the eScop project, a total of ten European partners from academia and industry came together to create an open, knowledge-driven manufacturing execution system (OKD-MES). This new approach reduces the time and effort required by assembly line changes and makes it possible to combine components from different suppliers.
The architecture has been deployed in several organizations, and most of the components have been made openly available.
Aiming at worldwide standards
Several project partners currently use the eScop technologies, including the Jyväskylä-based Fluidhouse Oy, INCAS Group in Italy and FASTory, which is located at TUT and demonstrates mobile phone assembly.
“The system has enabled us to achieve better awareness of the situation on the production floor and therefore to make better informed decisions. The system is also easy to use, as it entails technically well-known tools and concepts, such as links and web browser-friendly standards,” notes Otto Karhumäki, Technology Director at Fluidhouse Oy.
The Italian-based INCAS Group, specializing in supply chain automation, is using eScop technologies to allow for quick changes in production volumes by adding or removing picking stations as needed. INCAS has also performed quantitative tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the eScop technologies. While benchmarking, INCAS used both systems running in parallel.
“The results show that we can achieve more than 10% in savings when upgrading our software and hardware to the eScop solution,” says INCAS Chief Technology Officer Maurizio Foglia Taverna.
Although the project has officially ended, the former eScop consortium members continue to develop the approach. A W3C community group has been established to enable experts to discuss and further develop the technologies. In fact, they may even have the potential for becoming worldwide standards.
Readily available tools and components
The participating organizations in the eScop project have made most of the components and tools openly available through open source. The Node.js module for MES functions, made available last month, has been downloaded 471 times. Some of the components are commercial property of the project partners.
Among the tools, there are three simulators that were used to represent the use cases in the project. These allowed testing and validation of the eScop architecture. The simulators include a warehousing system at INCAS, an oil lubrication system by Fluidhouse Oy and the FASTory production line at TUT.
“The eScop simulators have proven highly popular. After the FASTory simulator was made available, it prompted over five thousand service invocations from all around the world within a month’s time,” explains the project’s Technical Coordinator Andrei Lobov from Tampere University of Technology.
The eScop project
eScop, i.e. Embedded systems Service-based Control for Open manufacturing and Process automation, was a three-year (2013–2016) ARTEMIS JU project that involved ten European partners and was coordinated by FAST Laboratory at Tampere University of Technology.
The aim of the project was to create a service-oriented framework that allows building and simulating factory and process control systems. This approach is called an open, knowledge-driven manufacturing executing system.