Steel software (MES)
The Steel software was initially developed for a client specializing in iron shaping. This software, whose name derives from that field, now offers a wide range of functionalities that go beyond its original purpose. The software features turn it to a fully adaptable and scalable MES (Manufacturing Execution System) and much more.
This software provides comprehensive tracking capabilities throughout the entire manufacturing process. It efficiently monitors every step in production, including the creation of orders and their associated data. Users can access a list of all created orders for review and have the option to initiate their processing. Once verified, these orders transition into work orders, which are assigned to specific machines for processing by production managers. Once the work orders are completed, they are dispatched.
Using the MES software, each production step is recorded and linked to the work order, making it easier to control and monitor the manufacturing process. It also quickly identifies any issues or delays and tracks resources for each work order, which improves manufacturing efficiency and product quality.
Picture 1. Work order flow
The initial mission was to make the process of shaping and preparing goods for distribution easier, more efficient, and remarkably user-friendly. Steel software reduces human error possibility and significantly speeds up the system itself.
Customizable capabilities of Steel software make it useful for all types of manufacturing sectors and operations in diverse industries.
Picture 2. Client orders schedule and production statuses
This software comprises several key components:
- Armature (order and position creation) - hardware - machine communication
- Warehouse tracking
- SAP-ERP-MES integration process
- Smart Workforce & Machine Management
- Real-time production tracking
- Work order management machine learning
- AutoCAD Import module
The "Armature" module in the application simplifies the creation of new orders by integrating essential data from SAP, like client names and client quotations. After generating an order, the user can sketch positions (shapes) of goods for processing. This is done on a digital canvas, allowing users to arrange lines systematically to match the desired client-specified shapes.
Each position requires input details such as diameter, quantity, and weight group. This data is vital for order recapitulation, providing an overview of required goods and total order weight.
To enhance productivity, there is an added feature that allows users to copy previously made positions, reducing repetitive tasks and simplifying the design process. All created orders are listed on a single page, offering features like editing, copying, and overview functions. The application simplifies order management with filters based on key criteria like client, construction site, and creator. Once validated, the positions are sent to processing. The production manager can assign them as work orders to machines that are going to process them.
A hardware device is connected to each machine, enabling it to receive data from the app, such as position information and processing work orders. This device is versatile and can work with machines from various manufacturers and types. It guides the machine in performing tasks in an organized manner. If an error occurs during processing, the hardware device detects it and notifies the production manager through the app for timely resolution.
Picture 3. Digital canvas
Real-time production tracking
Every stage of the production process is closely monitored in real-time. When work orders are sent for production, they appear on the app in the order they were received. Work orders can be rearranged by dragging and dropping them as needed. As work orders progress, a continuously updating progress bar provides real-time tracking without requiring manual page refresh.
The app also tracks machines, printers, and worker shifts. This keeps the production manager informed about which work order each machine is handling including the type of material, whether a printer is actively printing labeling cards, and which worker is operating each machine. Device statuses are always visible, even when they are not in use.
Picture 4. Processing progress tracking platform
The Steel application goes beyond processing. By scanning UHF RFID tags and attaching them to goods, it has an integrated comprehensive monitoring of goods movement, from import to export, ensuring that the warehouse's state is always up-to-date with accurate inventory details. This level of insight allows for quick error identification and correction, even in the case of complex warehousing scenarios. Moreover, in the context of multiple warehouses, finding the right type of goods becomes an easy and fast process, thanks to the continuous tracking by these tags and its data being displayed on the mobile app. The worker can just open the mobile app on his phone and find where the goods are exactly located while on the move and doesn't need to contact the higher ups about its information.
Picture 5. Goods export data
SAP-ERP-MES integration process
A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a software system that keeps a close eye on the entire manufacturing process, from raw materials to finished products. It acts as a bridge between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and process control systems, providing valuable data to help decision-makers improve efficiency and optimize production on the factory floor.
The Steel app is a MES sofftware at its core.
It collects important information from SAP on a daily basis such as:
- Client lists
- Client quotations
- Article / goods types and data
- Supply orders
- Goods delivery dates and content
The app also conveys important information back to SAP:
- Received goods amount information
- Warehouse / storage state
- Work order completion statuses
- Dispatch notes, including the quantity, type and lot of the material used thus ensuring traceability
Steel software is fully adaptable to any type of ERP software system, not just SAP.
Smart workforce & machine management
Safety and accountability are paramount in the Steel app design. The processing machines are accessible only to authorized personnel, who use specially crafted RFID key cards to operate them. This not only prevents unsupervised use but also enables real-time tracking of processed goods. The resulting data is stored in a comprehensive database, providing directors with insightful reports on work and machine processing efficiency, empowering them for informed decision-making. The report range can span from days to months.
Picture 6. Goods processing per worker report (monthly)
Picture 7. Goods processing per machine report (weekly)
Work order management machine learning
By collecting extensive work order management data, implementing machine learning will allow the application to acquire valuable insights, such as:
- Work order Assignment Patterns: Machine learning helps the app predict what specific machine will the production managers assign work orders to
- Predicting Processing Times: By studying past data, the application can estimate how long it will take to complete a work order, considering factors like the processing machine, work order complexity, and the efficiency of the worker assigned to the machine.
After sufficient data collection, the application excels in its core functions. It will efficiently manage, organize, and allocate work orders to ensure they are completed well in advance of their deadlines. This optimization is based on factors like the machine's material processing capabilities, machine availability, and work order priority. Integrating machine learning enhances operational efficiency, ensuring timely work order fulfillment. As the app continues to optimize, over time, it will fine-tune itself resulting in even greater efficiency and shorter execution time.
AutoCAD import module
ACI, short for AutoCAD Importer, is a versatile module designed to simplify and streamline the user's AutoCAD drawing workflow. With ACI, users can upload their AutoCAD drawings and receive real-time feedback on quick and accurate corrections that are essential before sending the designed positions to the machines for processing.
One of ACI's standout features is its ability to carry out corrections and edits interactively within the app's user-friendly interface. This approach eliminates the need to make local edits and subsequently reupload the AutoCAD file, thus saving valuable time. Instead of manually transferring positions from AutoCAD to the app, product managers can efficiently upload the same AutoCAD file through the ACI module, resulting in significant time savings.
Furthermore, ACI offers the convenience of handling multiple positions contained within a single file, further enhancing efficiency. Additionally, the module has the option to include a comprehensive recapitulation table, detailing the material types and quantities required to fulfill the work order. This approach not only streamlines the design process but also optimizes material management, ensuring a more efficient and productive workflow.
OPTIMIZATION FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
With the importance of minimizing waste using the cutting-edge optimization feature, the Steel application calculates the most efficient sequence for reducing unusable waste. This thoughtful approach not only minimizes environmental impact but also allows for the reuse of leftovers, promoting sustainability within the industry.
Picture 8. Optimization results
Steel software is fully customizable to meet the specific needs and desires of future clients. The goal is to ensure that the software perfectly fits the clients industry, production processes and product types while making sure it is functional, reliable, secure, maintainable, scalable and that it performs well.