Real Life Examples of Manufacturing Assets Directly Connected to SAP
Coordinating worldwide distribution of manufacturing and auditing processes for a portfolio of some 15,000 products is a great challenge. ebmpapst, a manufacturer of ventilator and drive technologies, has controlled its global production via software since 2009. Hence, its employees are informed at all times about what production step is currently being carried out and which steps still have to be performed. The result is a more efficient and resource-friendly manufacturing environment.
As an SAP employee, what sticks out to me is that SAP ME (the MES layer which is fully integrated with SAP ERP) controls all manufacturing steps in manual assembly as well as automated equipment like soldering lines.
This setup helps ebmpapst to optimize their processes through very well thought out user interfaces that present exactly the needed information to the shop floor operator. This setup enables a paperless manufacturing environment that always makes sure that all manufacturing operations are performed according to the correct version of instructions.
The system allows active and automatic process control by verifying whether the right tools and materials have been manually set up for assembly or automatically set up for manufacturing equipment directly from the manufacturing order.
Real time transparency provides full visibility of floor stock, capturing the “as built” situation of products, and visualizing the current situation with KPIs like First Pass Yield, OEE, etc. in timely and accurate dashboards.
To make the system as user friendly as possible, the setup of orders and each assembly step are recorded using mobile devices. By scanning barcodes information, serial numbers are captured in real time keeping manual efforts at a minimum.
When automated equipment is used to perform production or assembly steps, the PLCs directly communicate with SAP reading order specific information used in the process and providing actual values in addition to “as built” information back to the SAP system.
The automated equipment communicates with SAP using OPC, flat files, XML files or SOAP Web services with all relevant information controlling manufacturing pushed to the shop floor equipment. This architecture keeps all information in one system rather than spreading parameters, process details, codes etc. across multiple systems.
The example of ebmpapst shows how a global production network can be managed and controlled in a concise manner by setting up integrated systems with a well-organized data structure.
To learn more, check out this video: Discover Industry 4.0 at ebmpapst.
As a Solution Manager for SAP, Johannes Papst´s main focus is to align SAP solutions with today´s business needs especially in the Industrial Machinery and Components Industry. Johannes has over 20 years of experience with software for the discrete manufacturing industry. His main area of focus is manufacturing processes and working will small and medium businesses.