It is often said that knowledge is power. For a manufacturer, knowledge is definitely the key to unlocking greater efficiency through asset utilization, traceability and transparency. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, and a lot of relevant and up-to-date data remains stranded in so-called islands of automation while management must make decisions based on outdated reports or estimates.
Manufacturing execution systems (MES) operate at the level between ERP (enterprise resource planning) and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and provide a real-time overview of equipment and inventory utilization.
Raising productivity at DSM Nutritional Products
DSM Nutritional Products is a major supplier of vitamins and carotenoids (natural colorants) for the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries. The company operates a major plant in Village-Neuf in Alsace (France) where vitamins and carotenoids and produced and mixed. The site, which also includes laboratories and research installations, employs around 500 people. About 70 of these work in the domain of premixing vitamins. Premixes are manufactured in direct response to customer orders. There is thus no actual storage of premix on-site.
Shipments must leave the works within a maximum of four weeks following order reception, including the time to deliver the necessary analysis certificates. At the Village-Neuf site, more than 1,000 recipes can be assembled from around 200 raw ingredients. Seven different mixers are available with capacities from 240 up to 8,000 L. The plant’s operation requires reliable planning. The traceability of each production step must be assured and logistics must be accurate.