Miao Fang , pp. 96. COM/School of Computing, 2012.
Context. Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are information systems that manage manufacturing processes in factories. The execution of MES processes requires non-enterprise integration, which integrates MES applications, services, and automation systems within the factories.
Objectives. We aim at developing a modeling approach that can be used to represent and execute MES processes. Having such an approach would help MES vendors to reduce the development cost to reconfigure systems, in order to achieve better business flexibility.
Methods. In order to understand the state of the art of manufacturing modeling techniques, we perform a systematic literature review (SLR) in scientific article sources, including IEEE Xplore, ACM Digital Library, Compendex, Inspec, and Springer Link. In consideration of the criteria in modeling and executing MES processes, we evaluate the selected process modeling techniques. Based on the result of evaluation, we propose a three-view-based approach to support process execution. We develop a prototype to prove that an MES process can be executed by following our approach. We also conduct semi-structured interviews in industry to validate whether our proposed approach achieves the objectives.
Results. In the SLR, 24 primary studies are selected. Our analysis reveals that existing modeling techniques have limitations to enable process execution. To overcome the limitation, we propose a three-view-based approach, which has an MES process view, an abstract plant view to represent the structure of technical systems, and a mapping view to enable the communication between MES tasks and the technical systems. We develop a prototype as the implementation of our approach, which comprises: a graphical editor for the abstract plant view, a generator of message routes for the mapping view, and a typical MES process to be executed in the context of a warehouse management system. The semi-structured interviews we conducted with three industrial experts show positive feedback to use and generalize our approach in industry, in case comprehensive tools can be established.
Conclusions. Compared to the existing modeling techniques, the three-view-based approach is specifically tailored toward process execution. Based on the feedback from industry, we conclude that applying our approach provides the possibility to achieve better reconfigurability and flexibility of MES.