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GE Digital launches new version of manufacturing execution system

GE Digital has launched the latest version of its manufacturing execution system software, Production Manager.

The company says the new version of Production Manager addresses important issues where existing plant floor IT systems are inconsistent across plants and, therefore, managers can’t re-use configurations, leverage expertise, or lower overall MES costs.

The software completely digitizes paper-based processes so companies can increase production output per person, reduce reporting and administration, decrease defects and material required, and ensure up-to-date routes and work instructions. 

Formerly called Proficy for Manufacturing Discrete, GE’s new Production Manager is a discrete MES system that manages all aspects of production.

It is adaptable to multiple manufacturing environments ranging from the production of long-cycle, complex products engineered to order, to discrete products being configured to order.

Matthew Wells, vice president of digital product management for GE Digital, says: “Many companies face issues of efficiency and yield.

“Production Manager has been developed in GE’s own manufacturing businesses where we addressed these issues. It incorporates our best manufacturing practices, high-performance technologies and more than 25 years of MES expertise.”

The key features of Production Manager include:

Route Management: Obtain from or deliver to enterprise level systems route definitions. Provides the definition, operations and detailed steps associated with the routes.

Order Dispatch: Prioritize jobs for operators to work on and release jobs into the dispatch process.

Personnel and Machine Qualification Management: Ability to configure the qualifications and/or certification levels of equipment and personnel to ensure the right people and/or equipment can perform the operations (i.e. executing the jobs).

Labor Tracking (Clock On/Off): Track labor for cost accounting purposes, which includes using production labor standards downloaded from PLM/ERP solutions such as takt, set up and cycle times.

Work Instructions: Define manufacturing instructions to execute a job. These instructions can include workflow based process steps and/or supporting documents.

Document Management: Manage the documents utilized within the production process. Capabilities include the creation, modification, and revision control of the documents.

CNC Integration (Predator): Upload CNC documents from Predator into our MES. Allows operator to select document and push program to CNC machine.

Flexible and extendable Web Based UI: The Operator Interface allows for customization in a visual Integrated Development Environment interface.

GE Digital says that, by digitizing work processes, Production Manager enables the entire manufacturing workforce, including operators, production supervisors, manufacturing engineers and quality engineers to produce products faster, more efficiently, and consistently.

And, it has been designed to handle environments where more than 100,000 routes, hundreds of thousands of documents, and tens of thousands of quality specs are required to support products being produced.

At one of GE Aviation’s manufacturing plants, Production Manager has helped to increase productivity by 1.95 per cent through data-driven process optimization.

Flexible and easy route change management ensures operators are working on highest priority tasks to optimize production.

Decrease rework/defects due to unqualified operators helps manufactures to understand true manufacturing labor costs on orders.

Increased labor efficiency with up-to date work instructions helps reduce administrative tasks due to digitized documents.

Wells says: “Ultimately, the value of Production Manager is reduced labor and material cost, and improved contribution margins and on-time delivery.

“These allow all manufacturers to stay competitive today and ensure success tomorrow.”

New acquisition 

In a separate development, GE Digital has acquired a startup company called IQP to boost its Predix industrial internet platform.

In a post on LinkedIn, GE Digital CEO William Ruh says IQP is “a code-free application development environment that enhances the drag-and-drop capabilities of Predix Studio”.

Predix is a platform for connecting industrial machines to a network. Developers can then create apps to manage and utilise the data collected through the network.

A variety of applications are now available through the Predix Catalog, under categories such as analytics, operations and artificial intelligence.

Setting new standards 

GE Digital is continuing to build its Predix industrial internet platform and will adopt something called Open19 standards.

GE Digital is said to be fastest growing business unit within its parent company General Electric, with forecasts suggesting it will go from its current annual revenue levels of around $6 billion to $15 by 2020.

Open19 refers to a data centre hardware infrastructure which uses open standards, and is supported by LinkedIn and HPE.

Essentially, what GE Digital will do is pre-load server computers with the Predix platform – which includes hardware and software – and install them within the Open19 hardware infrastructure.

GE Digital is now one of the top 10 software companies in the world.

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