Factory FACTS Information Systems


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Factory FACTS is not a fixed set of software or hardware. It is a flexible set of building blocks that is tailored to each customer’s current and future needs to achieve the most cost effective solution. FACTS can utilize commercial software and hardware platforms, as well as, our own proprietary systems in whatever combination is most appropriate for the application. Additionally, FACTS is ready, willing, and able to work with the customer’s existing systems at any and all levels. FACTS’ familiarity with the processes, equipment, and factory floor environment makes FACTS uniquely qualified to plan and implement Shop Floor Information Systems that are cost effective and that work! The FACTS approach derives the shop floor and management information as a by-product of the automation. This leads to information systems that are cost effective with information that is accurate and timely. Contact FACTS to arrange a time when we can discuss your specific requirements.

Integrated Architecture

The architecture described in the following provides a comprehensive information network that will enhance your manufacturing operations. It will provide cost effective, accurate, timely information from the shop floor to help manage the manufacturing operation more effectively, improve quality, provide complete product genealogy, and help to evaluate and optimize the individual manufacturing processes. This architecture is based on implementing an integrated process control and information management system.

Level 1: Process Control and Operator Interface (HMI)

This level directly controls the process and interacts with the operator so it is the key to the entire network scheme. The integration of the control of the overall process provides increased productivity and improved quality while reducing both scrap and labor. These systems will not only provide for normal operator interface functions, but will also serve as a data conduit to the upper level business systems. The information for the upper level systems is a byproduct of automating the process.
The key functions of this level are:

  • Integrated control of the complete processing line
  • Local trend plots for all key process parameters
  • SQC charts for all key process parameters
  • Schedule download through the HMI
  • All specified process data is passed to the Level 2 system for storage
  • Barcode support through local HMI
  • MES reporting to upper levels from the HMI
  • CTQ (Critical to Quality) data to Level 4 Quality System
  • Controlled Document Interface and Display

The potential users of these systems are:

  • Machine operators
  • Production Supervisors
  • Maintenance Personnel
  • Engineering Support

Level 2: Process and Product Analysis & Reporting

This level provides centralized logging and storing of data from the factory processes for ‘Real Time’ or future analysis. Continuous time sampled Product, Process, and Quality Data from the factory process systems would be stored on this database server. This data would be available throughout the plant via the Office/Business network for real time and/or historical Product and Process analysis. Configurable standard reports can be used to demonstrate and improve quality, reduce costs, diagnose machine or process problems, and to streamline and optimize the entire process. This system provides historical and real time analysis and reporting.

The key functions of this level are:

  • Product and process analysis
  • Long term storage of process and product parameters
  • Trend plots of any live or historical data
  • SQC charts of any live or historical data
  • Logging of any defined event that affects the
  • process or product
  • XY plots of any logged parameters
  • Network Access of data available enterprise wide
  • Alarm logging
  • Real Time user interface

The potential users of these systems are:

  • Process Engineers
  • Maintenance Engineers
  • Quality Assurance Department

Level 3: MES/WIP Database Server

This level uses the Level 1 information to automatically provide the lot or process step information to the upper Level 4 ERP systems. This system can be used to track all product throughout its production cycle. This system has a definition/model of the complete manufacturing process. It is therefore able to track the progress of each part thru each process and assure that the proper components are used and that the correct process steps followed.

The WIP, Work in Process, server will maintain complete product traceablity on the factory floor. It will provide for real-time manufacturing resource tracking, work-in-progress tracking, and inventory control. All necessary data required by the upper level ERP/MRP systems will be supplied on a batch summary basis. This may be hourly, by shift, or as required.

The material is tracked from raw materials inventory through work in process finally to finished goods inventory. This tracking produces a description of what has been completed, status of a lot or batch; remaining time for the operation, hold time for materials, and operation yields for specific operations. The status of all jobs or lots may be viewed in ‘Real Time’.

Level 4: Factory Management Information Systems (ERP & MIS)

This level consists of the commercial packages that provide ERP, Quality System services, Maintenance System services, and Document Control system services. The scope of supply by FACTS includes exchanging appropriate data and documents with these systems but does not include supplying them.

The key functions of this level are:

  • Production Planning
  • Scheduling
  • Quality Tracking and Reporting
  • Labor Reporting
  • Costing Analysis
  • Maintenance Scheduling and Reporting
  • Document control

The potential users of these systems are Enterprise wide, and would include:

  • Purchasing Department
  • Scheduling Department
  • Engineering Department
  • Maintenance Department
  • Production Management
  • Plant Management