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Norbert Kytka, Headquarters PlattlingContact
SAP in production
Today’s demand for mass customization in the context of rapidly changing markets and customer requirements is changing daily business for manufacturing enterprises. T.CON is offering a new information service, with bundled solutions for manufacturing enterprises. Here we have put together a comprehensive overview of SAP in production systems for you, based on our expertise as an SAP Gold Partner. This creates an alternative to visiting our booth at the Hannover Messe. Use our tools and expertise to meet the challenges of modern manufacturing enterprises.
Many of our customers and potential customers like to visit our booth at the trade fair to gather information on relevant topics. Since, sadly, we can’t present our products and services at the Hannover Messe in person this year, we hope this convenient overview of our services will be useful to you instead.
We have covered a range of products and consulting services that are helping companies increase their efficiency as they plan, produce, maintain systems and deliver to customers. With approaches from our T.CON products, you can also start to completely rethink workflows, products and business modules.
If less waste, better reliability, shorter set-up and idle times, and optimum utilization sound good to you, it’s time to digitalize your production systems with MES CAT. MES CAT is fully based on SAP NetWeaver, meaning that data from production and production-related systems from manufacturing plants anywhere in the world can be seamlessly linked together in the information flow of the centralized SAP ERP system, in real time. By installing MES CAT, you give production managers the foundations they need for the future of the company:
a digital business core which you can build on with novel technology from the industrial IoT, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
MES CAT gives you an overview of all production events and workflows and their commercial implications.
This gives you the ideal basis for targeted improvement of your production processes. Manufacturers can access, at any time, a complete record of production components and manufacturing history. You can view and evaluate key production figures at the press of a button – and this means that you can make decisions more quickly, based on solid data. Productivity increases. You optimize utilization of machines, systems and personnel. Furthermore, since the MES applications are offline capable, the availability of the production systems is increased.
In modern production landscapes, machine and process data is generated and collected in bulk. The majority of these IoT datasets are never used – they’re just too big and complex. However, there is a way to evaluate the data and put it to use – with machine learning (ML).
We have a simple, but powerful approach: SMART IOT automatically collects business and production data – e.g. from our MES CAT suite or SAP S/4HANA. We then associate this data with data from the IoT and the plants. Our IOT.CONNECTOR bridges all the gaps between the ERP and MES system, right down to the data capture infrastructure.
This bulk data can be used for optimization. There are various ML procedures that may be suitable, depending on the use case. Your enterprise can quickly determine the economic potential that particular IoT use cases have for you. The spectrum of potential scenarios covers optimized configuration of highly complex plants through to setting up analysis tools, predicting process stability and quality, or energy management.
ENTERPRISE LOGBOOK helps you avoid production problems and keeps production managers and shift leaders from unpleasant surprises. It is a digital shift logbook and interacts closely with MES CAT. It works just like a ship’s log book for sea voyages, which anyone can read at any time to see what happened during the shift. Automatically recorded sensor data and other information is collected here, and manual notes can be added where relevant. Predefined boilerplate text and user-friendly search and filter functions are provided to make it easier for plant operators to compile their notes. The application is optimized for use on mobile devices.
No more unpleasant surprises. Information about shutdowns, quality problems, sensor data, safety incidents and much more is stored in one place, tamper-proof and authoritative. The information can also be digitally signed if required.
No important information can be lost due to a shift change. Production managers can see at a glance whether there are any plant malfunctions, absences or other unexpected interruptions to completing scheduled production orders.
Our human resource planning system PERSONNEL SHIFT PLANNING helps companies avoid production downtime or other problems resulting from personnel shortages. It closes the gaps between SAP tools for HR management, maintenance and production. The tool is tightly integrated with the T.CON MES CAT suite.
PERSONNEL SHIFT PLANNING logs employee information, qualifications, target and actual times and sick leave, linking the data to machines and scheduled production orders. It can also be used for planning e.g. complex multi-shift models where less appropriate planning tools – such as Excel – would be stretched to the limit.
As a result, planning becomes more reliable overall, since companies can avoid HR bottlenecks. If particular skills are missing in the workforce, this can be addressed in plenty of time. You can easily see the effects of absences on production. Production stability increases, since you can now ensure that the right skills are available at the right time for the planned orders. In light of the current skills shortage, PERSONNEL SHIFT PLANNING is the perfect answer to HR bottlenecks. With PERSONNEL SHIFT PLANNING, your enterprise can react promptly to unplanned shortages. At the same time, you can build up a targeted pool of expertise and arrange strategic training to specialize your staff.
Companies using SAP ERP with the PM module can make their maintenance and repair processes more efficient with our mobile maintenance solution, MOBILE MAINTENANCE. Our tools increase the quality of data you use for evaluations and make daily working processes for your maintenance staff much simpler. The result is a noticeable improvement in availability of your plants, combined with a reduction in operative costs. At the same time, technical and economic relationships become more transparent and you have a uniform view of machine statuses and production processes.
Workers in maintenance and production can use MOBILE MAINTENANCE to record qualified data directly on site and transmit it to SAP ERP. They can also access all the necessary data from the ERP backend. The application is completely offline capable, so it’s not a problem if the network goes down. Our application supports all common mobile operating systems and device types.
Do you have questions about maintenance tasks? Just ask MARVIN. Our maintenance bot is a flagship example of how innovative and usable today’s speech-controlled interfaces for maintenance can be.
Chatbots (a portmanteau of “chat” and “robot”) are computer programs that can hold natural language conversations. They are being put to use more and more – and that includes the production industry. Chatbots like MARVIN support production and maintenance workers, acting as smart virtual assistants for their tasks.
Human speech is the most natural form of interaction and there is no learning curve to asking MARVIN: it is an intuitive, accessible way for workers to obtain information from IT systems such as SAP PM/EAM. Just talk to MARVIN in the same way you would with another maintenance worker: “What’s on the list for today?” MARVIN won the 2019 MAINTAINER Award from T. A. Cook.
Innovative technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and smart glasses pave the way for entirely new application scenarios in maintenance and production. The field of maintenance and servicing has particularly rich potential, with numerous use cases where significant added value can be created. By linking AR technology with SAP data you can minimize machine downtime and ensure maintenance is completed as quickly as possible.
This means that companies can avoid time- and cost-intensive maintenance activities, e.g. by using a remote service solution. On-site maintenance workers can work on the machine directly using data from SAP PM, while keeping their hands free. If they’re unable to solve the problem they can speak to experts using the SAP app. Smart glasses such as the HoloLens can be used for live video communication between the engineer and remote experts. Image processing, annotations and data approval are all part of the remote support and guidance the engineer receives.
T.CON has extended these tools by adding access to relevant data and documents from SAP ERP. For example, letting a small number of experts support their less experienced colleagues remotely.
We have also developed a system allowing a person wearing the smart glasses to access MES data. Simply by looking at a QR code through the glasses they can pull up the current status of the machine on the display. In other business process cases the machine outline is sufficient to trigger an MES data query, perhaps to verify the maintenance status. Moving through the plant becomes an AR experience, as every glance at a machine is enriched with information.