Jim Connett, on August 24, 2021, 12:00 PM
The Modeled Process
Do you lack the process controls promised by an MES vendor? Has your legacy MES suffered from a lack of maintenance after the initial model was implemented? Finding it hard to extract analytics from your current MES data set? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you probably have a “muddled” MES and not a “modeled” MES. A model is essentially a plan, a design, a golden path that represents perfection if followed.
MES should be blank slates out of the box and require the input of company-specific information representing the desired process design in order for the software system to execute the manufacturing of materials. The design, aggregation, and maintenance of this information are often referred to as “MES modeling.”
MES Modeling Benefits
- Maximizes the benefits of an MES
- Establishes pre-defined, approved processes that can be enforced by the MES
- Allows for multi-level classification of products for the purposes of data aggregation and categorization
- Efficiently groups similar operations into reusable units
- Organizes process steps into a logical sequence (called flows or routes) which can then be attached to product and/or part model metadata
- Traceability of product and process data which is often required for certifications by ISO (International Standards Organization), government, and private organizations
Aspects of MES Modeling
Modeling can be applied to the following areas (among others):
- Steps – A step (also called an operation) is a single unit of work performed on a material.
- Flows – A flow is a list of one-to-many steps sequentially organized in a logical order so that a material assigned to that flow will exit the flow with the intended result. A flow can be defined to represent a logical area, a process sequence, or a general action.
- Products – A product is a defined type or classification of material that is sellable or consumable once the assigned flow (or flows) are completed. Using an automotive example, a Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, and Toyota Yaris are all defined as Products. It is also possible to have Sub-Products for various styles and options.
- Families – A family is a name used to define a related group of products based on the product metadata. The Camry, Corolla, and Yaris are all part of the Sedan-family of vehicles offered by Toyota. In other words, when you ask to see a Sedan at your Toyota dealership, the salesperson should take you to one of these three products. Similarly, if you ask to see a Truck, the salesperson should take you to a product called the Toyota Tundra. Ask to see a Van, and you should be standing in front of a Toyota Sienna.
- Technologies – An intentionally generalized (abstracted) category that groups together families of products. To complete our automotive example, a Sedan, Truck, and Van can be further grouped into Fuel, Electric, and Hybrid.
- Equipment types – A logical grouping of similarly functioning equipment. For example, all microscopes, all etchers, all polishers, etc.
- Equipment maintenance – The plans for various scheduled preventive maintenance (PMs) actions, such as time- or usage-based PMs.
- SEMI E10 states – The assignment of an equipment’s action to a SEMI E10 state
- Process Recipes – A defined set of process parameters grouped into a named set of instructions that is assigned to a given product at a given process on a given tool.
- Data Collection – The aggregation of actual measured data paired with assigned non-quantitative metadata for the purposes of quality control, analytics, run-to-run actions, and historicity, to only name a few end-results.
These are just a few of the many components that could comprise an MES model. The interaction and synergy of these components allow for product quality, data analysis, and equipment longevity. It’s a lot of detailed work, but the good news is that modeling (and re-modeling) usually results in a significant return on investment.