What is MES (Manufacturing Execution System)?

As the name suggests, MES is mostly implemented for manufacturing systems. The purposes of MES are mainly for report production as well as document processes such as goods records, receipts, maintenance, scheduling, etc. For example, in a manufacturing operation, SCADA plays the main role of process control, while MES takes the job of checking on resources as well as notifying other systems about the progress.

How does MES communicate with SCADA?

Technically, SCADA and MES sit on different levels for a plant process, i.e. MES on top of SCADA. For most automation, SCADA will be directly connected to PLC (which collects from the plant equipment), and perform real-time control as well as diagnosis to the plant process. While MES will be connected on top of SCADA to exchange all necessary plant data.

The possibility of combination

In fact, there are real cases where System Integrators / project engineers somehow “embed” MES within SCADA itself. One of the reasons is to secure more project budget, while the other main reason shall be avoiding any potential conflict between SCADA and MES, especially when they are served by different vendors. In these cases, the projects may only require MES to handle simple tasks such as inventory tracking, as well as some resources reporting. Due to the simple job scopes, one can configure the SCADA/HMI accordingly to achieve the tasks. Most of the time, SCADA is designed to be accessible for operators, and MES for production superiors or even supervisors. Thus, engineers can make use of user roles and multiple clients implementation to configure the SCADA engine to work as a MES simultaneously.

However, it does not mean that MES can be skipped in automation process, it was introduced for reasons. For smaller scale applications though, it would be wise to configure the solution in such SCADA MES combination way.

Download Ecava IGX for FREE today to try implement a SCADA MES combination solution, or view the online demo for different industrial showcases.