Friedrichshafen, Germany — A behind-the-scenes skirmish happened during Fakuma 2017. Call it: Battle of the MES Systems.
Two major injection molding machinery companies, KraussMaffei Group and Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH, dropped an MES supplier that had been purchased last year by Engel Holding GmbH.
MES stands for manufacturing execution system. Using big computing power, MES systems link everything in a factory together, including data on production and quality, machine scheduling, the management of molds, order information and shipping and human resources.
In an era when an injection molding press records hundreds of data points, on every shot, MES systems are more important than ever to make sense of the massive amount of information — and do it in real time. They can create a link with a molder and the machinery supplier, helping coordinate troubleshooting, service and maintenance schedules.
An MES acts as a hub to aggregate a huge quantity of information together, and can arrange it in easier-to-use formats, such as "dashboard" setups for management that shows key statistics at a glance.
A year ago in October, just before the K 2016 show, injection press manufacturer Engel bought MES provider T.I.G. (Technische Informationssysteme GmbH) based in Rankweil, Austria. It was a move to advance Engel's Industry 4.0 efforts. One Engel official compared the purchase to automakers linking up with software companies to gain new skills in the new world of interconnected cars.
T.I.G. also gained deeper knowledge of networking of injection molding processes than other MES suppliers in the market, a company executive said.