VIDEO: Tawanese Manufacturing: Machine Tools and MES
Many companies use manufacturing execution systems (MES) as part of a strategy to optimize their plant’s organization, accountability and productivity, using products from Rockwell, Memex, or Siemens, for example.
But how many design and implement their own MES, and sell the system to other companies in the supply chain? That’s what Fair Friend Group did, catching the attention of the industrial software giant, Siemens.
Fair Friend Group (FFG) is one of the largest machining center manufacturing conglomerates in the world. Rooted in Taiwan with the companies Feeler, Sanco, Equiptop, Ecoca, and Waida Feeler, FFG’s strategy has been to cultivate their market in China before expanding worldwide. Today, FFG manages 37 brands and 50 manufacturing centers in over 10 countries. They produce precision machining centers, turning centers, grinding machines, and transfer machines. Many machine tool brands from Italy, Japan, and Germany fall under the FFG umbrella, including Sigma, SNK, Honsberg and Modul.
FFG and Siemens Announce Collaboration
Recently, FFG and Siemens announced a collaboration in Digital Enterprise and Automation. FFG’s focus on machine control software, including product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing operations management (MOM), and MES.
In the deal, Siemens technology will be integrated into FFG machine tools, and FFG will also use Siemens software at their plants.
Speaking about the joint memorandum of understanding, Jimmy Chu said: “As a leading international manufacturer of machine tools and globally active business, FFG is constantly looking to meet the challenges of digitalization and to convert the business to a digital company. Siemens’ global setup, with its all-encompassing and pioneering Digital Enterprise concept and its leading future-oriented technologies for Intelligent Manufacturing and the Factory of the Future, is therefore an excellent partner for FFG. The future-oriented strategies of both companies complement each other perfectly."
What is MES?
MES is a tool for tracking and documenting a manufacturing process. In some ways, MES connects with PLM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to help collect the data needed to get an accurate tracking of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). MES collect data sometimes using a barcode or RFID tag, or directly from the machines using IIoT sensor data.
Examples of how data flows between MES in the greater software ecosystem include test results from MES to PLM; part definitions, work orders, routings and equipment settings from PLM to MES; To ERP, MES can output production performance data, waste/scrap rate data, material consumption and part counts. From ERP, MES can intake production planning or order requirements, for example.
Watch the video for a brief word from Chairman Dr. Jimmy Chu and footage of their extensive Taichung facility.