Smart operations management: Emerson touts new software as MES replacement
Emerson Process Management says it has greatly expanded manufacturers’ ability to monitor, control, and improve production processes with the release of a new “smart” operations management software suite.
The new package, called Syncade, was officially unveiled at the recent ARC Strategy Forum. Needham, Mass.-based analyst firm ARC Advisory Group sponsors the annual event that focuses on exploring strategies for improving production operations. This year’s forum was held the first week in February in Orlando.
Emerson’s Syncade announcement was one of several that highlighted manufacturers’ growing desire for systems that allow people across the enterprise—including office workers and company executives—to get near real-time updates on plant-floor activities. (
.) Having this type of information, among other things, enables faster corrective action to avoid situations that could jeopardize the timely fulfillment of customer orders.
At the ARC forum, Tom Snead, president of the systems and solutions division of Emerson Process Management, referred to the release of the Syncade suite as “another exciting step in realizing the fully intelligent digital plant.”
Emerson started touting the intelligent digital plant concept several years ago when it introduced its PlantWeb architecture. According to Emerson, PlantWeb offers the ability to employ “predictive intelligence” in the management of production processes by installing control devices equipped with microprocessors and embedded software that monitor how production equipment is performing and report that status back to higher-level systems.
Smarter operators: Emerson Process Management says its new Syncade software suite offers a configurable workspace through which individual users can subscribe to the key modules and data sources they need to perform their jobs.
By connecting various pieces of the Syncade suite to a PlantWeb network, Snead, said, manufacturers can gain a whole new range of options for monitoring and improving business performance.
Snead described Syncade as a modular software suite that could serve as a replacement for traditional manufacturing execution systems (MES) that many manufacturers now use to collect information about production processes.
The modules in Syncade address a wide range of production-related functions, including:
Of great significance to plant managers and company executives, is an operations dashboard feature that offers a configurable workspace through which individual users can subscribe to the key modules and data sources they need to perform their jobs. A message broker also is available for the easy configuration of interfaces to other systems—such as ERP or laboratory information management systems—that might contain information that would be helpful in making decisions about when or how to alter production processes. There also is a process analyzer that allows for consolidating data from multiple systems and source to get a clear picture of how the business is performing and evaluate opportunities for improvement.
Global pharmaceutical maker Bristol-Meyers Squibb is deploying Syncade as part of a broad-scale adoption of Emerson technology at a new facility it’s bringing online in Devens, Mass.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is investing $750 million in the construction of this Large Scale Cell Culture facility, which will support a variety of products. Groundbreaking on the plant took place in March 2007, and it’s expected to be fully operational in 2011.
The plant’s adoption of Emerson technology is expected to include the PlantWeb architecture, components from the Syncade suite and Emerson’s Delta V digital automation system, and a network of intelligent field devices.
Once the plant is operational Bristol-Myers Squibb expects to use the Syncade suite for a variety of processes, including:
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Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.