Scheduling Machines and Product

Scheduling is not the easiest thing in the world. Some facilities have everything beautifully automated.  Others make you miss the day of figuring out classes by pencil and paper. There’s a lot of erasing. Corso is going to put together a handful of posts talking about scheduling.

First, we should talk about the plethora of options to schedule. All your major industrial platforms have a scheduling option FactorTalk, Ignition, WinCC OA. Many of your EPR’s are going to have ability to schedule, SAGE, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, etc. Additionally, there are many stand alone or web based solutions. Corso is in the process of fully rolling out our web based scheduler!

Many facilities can significantly benefit from automating their schedules.

Why? Because we’re able to take all your processes information, and run it through the scheduler to find efficiencies. We are not only going to save time between runs. We’re also going to open a large portion of your schedulers time to do higher level work. The goal being that the you can automate the easy part and let the human do what they do best.

There isn’t a easy, this is your solution. If that’s what you’re looking for,  give Dave a call, and let’s have a conversation.

Machines & Product

The most common type of scheduling in the Industrial arena is for Machines and Product. This is going to be the heart of your process. Sometimes if you create a non-homogeneous product, this will include a “recipe”.

Every facility is going to have their own way to schedule. When creating a system, this will come in the form of “rules.” A rule will tell us what needs to be done to change between two products. The length of time something typically takes. Or anything else that we need to tell the computer to understand your process.

For example, if you’re running bottled drinks, you probably need a cleaning between the sugar and sugar free drinks. Or a cleaning between allergens.

If you build widgets, you might be able to run multiple sized parts on same machine. A rule would be what it will take to change between those parts. Physical changes, parts changes, etc. 

We will use these rules to automatically produce a “best fit” schedule. It will be a process getting the scheduling nailed down, but once we do that it will consistently be able to produce a good schedule. Then a human can check over the schedule and provide it to everyone else.

There can be major efficiencies found by going through this process.

What should I use?

It depends on your set-up and your long-term goals. If you have an Industrial Control System, then there is probably the ability to schedule within. We would also suggest taking a look at that as a first option. If you are using an EPR, then integrating your ERP with your Control System is the best way to go about providing the best solutions to your need. Some people just need to start with scheduling and then build from there. A web-based solution would work exceedingly well for that.

Don’t have a Control System or an ERP? Then there are some really interesting web based software available, including one that Corso has created. Ask us about that and we’ll tell you about how that can help you!

Want to know more about control systems? Check out THE Ultimate MES Guide for more information on where you could take your system!