If you are involved in the manufacturing industry, you have heard the words “production management” and “quality control” at least once. But what about manufacturing management? In this article, we will explain the differences in the meaning of the language and look at why manufacturing management systems are important, as well as the importance of manufacturing management systems and the benefits of using them.
Difference between production control and manufacturing control
Definition of production control
As I often hear, what is production control? The most common definition is “Managing production (design, procurement, work) from the viewpoint of quality, cost, quantity and delivery date”. In addition to this, we may also add orders and deliveries. In other words, all processes related to production activities are managed for the purpose of optimizing costs and maintaining quality.
“Manufacturing” and “Production”
In contrast, the definition of manufacturing control is not very clear. The reason is that the concepts of “production” and “manufacturing” are often confused. If you dare to define manufacturing control, you can think of it as an image of managing work closer to the manufacturing site, parts manufacturing work, assembly work, metal processing, manufacturing line, and so on. So to speak, it is considered to be used in the sense of controlling the manufacturing site as part of production control.
What is a manufacturing control system?
The manufacturing control system (MES, also called the manufacturing execution system) accumulates and analyzes data such as the operating time of the manufacturing line, the number of products manufactured, and the number of products checked by inspection from the control system of the manufacturing line. By doing so, we take necessary measures such as reviewing the balance between operating hours and the number of manufactured products, reviewing the process to improve manufacturing accuracy, and sending the necessary data to the production management system. So to speak, it is an information system that executes manufacturing control.
Difference between manufacturing control and quality control
What is quality control? This also has a definition.
“A system of means for economically producing products that meet the needs of buyers”
Apparently, In other words, it is the management to meet the customer’s request for the performance and quality of the product (including delivery time and quantity). The primary purpose of quality control is to maintain the quality of our products. In reality, the concepts of manufacturing control and quality control are intricately intertwined, as it is often required to improve quality while lowering costs. Therefore, although it is difficult to make a clear distinction, it may be said that quality control is one of the purposes of manufacturing control.
Two types of quality and the need for data collection
There are two types of quality in the manufacturing industry: design quality and manufacturing quality. Design quality is the target quality, and manufacturing quality is the final quality of the product. It is important to note that quality control is not good, even if a product that exceeds the design quality is produced. To the last, excellent quality control means that there is little variation and the desired quality (design quality) can be achieved. To do this, data such as products, work in process, and dimensions must be collected from the equipment at any time or in a timely manner. You also need to analyze that data to understand what’s happening in the field.
Importance and benefits of manufacturing control system
- The need for automated data collection
Gathering product data is not that difficult in itself. However, as the scale of the production line grows and the production volume increases, 100% inspection cannot be performed. Therefore, we perform sampling inspections, but recently, the approach of automating data collection itself is increasing.
- Data collection automation and manufacturing management system
For example, in dimensional inspection, a camera can be attached to the manufacturing equipment itself and image processing can be performed to obtain the dimensions of the product. Once the data is acquired, the analysis required for manufacturing control or quality control can be performed more accurately than sampling inspection based on this data. The manufacturing control system (MES) mentioned earlier is a system that consistently collects and analyzes these data.
- Manufacturing management system and edge computing
If the product data is an abnormal value, it is often a defect on the manufacturing equipment side. For example, in the process of cutting to cut an object, the wear of the cutting tool causes the dimensions of the machined product to deviate. Also, if the cutting tool is damaged, the machined surface or surface of the product will be scratched. In traditional cutting, skilled field technicians predict the occurrence of wear and tear and change tools in a timely manner.
Today’s cutting machines, on the other hand, are automated and have the ability to automatically detect tool wear and tear. However, as soon as product data indicating tool wear or breakage is detected, the tool must be replaced. In that case, the required speed is often in the unit of milliseconds (1 / 1,000 seconds), and it is not realistic in terms of speed that the cloud server directly acquires data and controls the operation. There is none.
In addition, the time interval for data acquisition is often milliseconds, and since it is always performed while the manufacturing equipment is in operation, a large amount of data is generated. It is not realistic to process such a large amount of data at a speed close to real-time with a cloud server alone.
Also, if you break the system security of a competitor by some means and obtain and analyze the product data, you can find out the production capacity and yield of the competitor’s factory. Therefore, centralized management of large amounts of product data on a single cloud server may not be a good idea in terms of security.
In such a case, part of MES or all of MES can be realized by edge computing. In other words, it is possible to introduce edge computing and perform data acquisition, storage, and analysis on the edge server. And if you only bring the results to the cloud, you can minimize the amount of data flowing through your network while maintaining near real-time speed. This makes it possible to achieve both automation of data collection and analysis, processing speed, and security.
- Data collection automation and labor shortages
Automation of data collection and analysis is also in demand due to labor shortages in recent years. The departments that support MES include the production control department and the production engineering department. In these departments, the production line has traditionally been maintained by the intuition of skilled technicians for many years, but unfortunately, the number of such technicians is decreasing. So by automating the data collection and analysis needed by skilled technicians to make decisions, technicians can focus on decision-making.
The manufacturing management system has great merits
He explained the differences between manufacturing control, production control, and quality control, and the merits of the manufacturing control system. The term “manufacturing control” has come to be used relatively recently and has not yet been clearly defined. When using these terms, it can be explained well by being aware of the difference between “production” and “manufacturing”. In addition, the manufacturing control system has great merits, but of course, it costs a certain amount of initial cost. How about considering the introduction while considering the cost and merit?