Best Practices kicks off the New Year with a bunch of acronyms: MES, QMS and PLM.
Germany-based Rehau Automotive is replacing its legacy systems on those areas with Siemens products in all 15 plants around the world.
And what is the Siemens system called? MOM. That stands for manufacturing operations management.
This is a major move, dubbed a "lighthouse project" for Rehau Automotive and a unique moment in the company's history, according to Helmut Ansorge, a member of Rehau Automotive's executive board.
Rehau Automotive makes a wide range of plastic products, including bumpers, fenders, water and air management modules and sealing systems. It's part of Rehau A.G. + Co., the big (and family-owned) company also known for its plastic construction products like pipe and tubing, and windows and doors. Rehau's motto is "Unlimited Polymer Solutions."
But, as this story of Best Practices shows, even a large, multinational manufacturing company, can evolve over time to the point its plants don't communicate well with each other. That can happen on the people side and on the electronic communication side. That certainly doesn't foster Industry 4.0.
"Over the last decade, we developed homegrown, individual solutions for every site," Ansorge said. "As time went on, the complexity of these legacy systems made it difficult for us to keep growing and maintain our competitive edge. This new integrated software system will give us the ability to standardize all processes and logistics in a lean way in order to develop and deliver the highest-quality products across a network of 15 plants."
OK, here are the definitions of those alphabet-soup acronyms at the top of the story. MES is manufacturing execution system. QMS is quality management system. And PLM is product lifecycle management. In short, everything is about connecting together a factory, or in Rehau Automotive's case, a network of them.
Siemens created a special template for Rehau Automotive, integrating it all together. It includes Simatic IT UADM, the company's MES solution; IBS QMS Professional software; Simatic IT Preactor APS, an advanced planning and scheduling system for manufacturing; and Simatic WinCC supervisory control and acquisition system and operator interface on the shop floor.
All the data is integrated into Siemens Teamcenter software, as well as into Rehau's existing enterprise resource planning the enterprise reporting system. That lets all engineering changes be available immediately on the shop floor and integrates engineering into the management system for noncomforming parts.
Urban August, senior vice president and managing director for Siemens PLM Software, called Rehau's decision "a bold move that could set them apart in their industry."
"Industry 4.0 is a pressing topic for a lot of discrete manufacturers. This is especially true for automotive suppliers who deliver just in time or sometimes even just in sequence," August said.
Siemens PLM Software, a unit of Siemens A.G.'s Digital Factory Division, is headquartered in Plano, Texas. It has more than 140,000 customers worldwide.
Industry 4.0 is certainly important. At the Fakuma trade show last October in Friedrichshafen, Germany, it was the main topic at injection molding machinery companies, more so than technological innovations.
Expect to hear much more about it at NPE this year.