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Deploy MES in advance to welcome the era of additive manufacturing mass production

What is MES

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is the overall management and control system of enterprise production. In recent years, intelligent manufacturing has become the focus of attention. As an important promoter of intelligent manufacturing, MES has also received extensive attention and has triggered an upsurge in applications. Through the application of MES, a large number of companies have solved the problem of managing the “black box” of the production site, realized the tracking and tracing of materials, the visualization of the production process, the closed-loop control of the production process, etc., and achieved the improvement of product quality, personnel efficiency, and inventory reduction. , Shorten the delivery cycle and other business goals. It can be said that MES has become an inevitable choice for enterprises to build smart factories and realize digital transformation.

Why does additive manufacturing need MES?

After more than 30 years of development, additive manufacturing has evolved from an emerging technology to a revolutionary technology that can challenge traditional manufacturing processes. The next few years will be the key time for additive manufacturing to enter the room and become one of the mainstream manufacturing technologies. To complete the transition from design verification to mass production of terminal parts, additive manufacturing companies must find a way to maximize the use of various 3D Printing equipment in the factory, manage the production process more efficiently, and increase productivity. Expand the scale of operations, increase market share, and achieve better profitability. In order to meet these challenges, it is necessary to introduce additive MES, a software that can control the end-to-end additive manufacturing process. Currently, leading companies have begun to make arrangements for accelerating mass production. It is foreseeable that in the near future, the demand for software in additive manufacturing will shift from design and process software evenly sharing the world to a three-pronged state of design, process, and process management software. As a system designed to record, control, and automate the entire additive manufacturing process, Additive MES can help users save materials and manpower, improve printing quality, reduce production costs, and achieve end-to-end production process visualization and automation. So, for additive MES, what are the most core functions?

Six core functions of additive MES 1 Order management and tracking

Order management are the foundation of MES, because all subsequent processes are related to orders. Order management can help companies centrally manage all orders and form a complete digital clue in the entire production process. Through real-time status tracking, it can ensure that orders can be delivered on time.

2 Automated document preparation

Document preparation is an integral part of the additive manufacturing process. For mass production, in order to minimize human error and improve production efficiency, it is necessary to reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks. Therefore, in the additive MES, the focus on file preparation will shift from the completeness of functions to the degree of automation. With the blessing of artificial intelligence, indispensable functions such as automatic recognition of part types, automatic search for ideal placement angles for parts, automatic addition of supports, and high-density 2D/3D automatic layout have become easy.

3 Equipment management

Collects and analyzes data in real time during the production process, can clearly understand the equipment status, production progress, and make risk warnings for potential problems in the production process, and even give predictive equipment maintenance suggestions. The Industrial Internet of Things makes it possible to collect and process massive, real-time, and high-frequency data. As more and more devices begin to adopt industrial protocols such as OPC-UA and MTConnect, additive MES also needs to integrate industrial IoT capabilities. The Industrial Internet of Things gives the factory a pair of insights, and clearly reveals many hidden micro-information in the production process. In addition, the automation of post-processing is also a major obstacle for additive manufacturing to mass production. Therefore, in addition to 3D printers, the management of post-processing equipment such as heat treatment, powder cleaning, and dyeing can also not be ignored. Additive MES integrates industrial IoT capabilities to enable massive, real-time, and high-frequency data collection.

4 Automated production scheduling

The traditional manual scheduling cannot be adjusted in time according to the dynamic changes of orders, equipment, and materials, and cannot adapt to the increase. Flexible production requirements for material manufacturing. Automated production scheduling needs to arrange production tasks to multiple devices based on the delivery date. The scheduling result also needs to be dynamically changed according to the priority of the order and the real-time status of the equipment. For orders with delivery risks, a warning can be issued and dynamic insertion of orders can be carried out. If the additive MES can be fully integrated with the device through the Industrial Internet of Things, it can also issue instructions directly to the device. For additive manufacturing, which often uses distributed production, this can significantly improve the operational efficiency of the factory. Automated scheduling can significantly improve the operational efficiency of additive manufacturing

plants5 Complete traceability

Traceability is essential for mass production. A typical way is to generate traceable QR codes for every link of the production process, whether it is 3D Printing, post-processing, quality inspection, and delivery, including orders, parts, materials, and equipment information. Once a defect is found in a certain link, the source of the problem and its scope of influence can be found immediately by analyzing the relevant information, so that the production status can be seen at a glance. 6 Powerful analysis and reporting capabilities Additive MES needs to analyze every step of the production process, and see various real-time and historical data in production through flexibly configured Kanban and reports. Comprehensive analysis tools can provide indicators about equipment performance and material usage, allowing users to make decisions based on data, find and eliminate bottlenecks in the process, and ultimately improve productivity. 

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