Holonic Environment Integration Methodology For Metal Working SMEs Manufacturing Systems: MES Holon
Gaxiola Baqueiro, Luis E.
Nowadays, industrial enterprises, at any size and sub sector, are facing challenges derived from the globalization phenomena. Some of these challenges are the rapid response times demanded by global markets, variety, high quality without additional costs and service. An obstacle for the competitiveness increase is the lack of real time knowledge concerning to what is happening in the manufacturing floor, what is its process' performance, and its feedback. Some technologies have arisen in recent years, pretending to ameliorate this lack of knowledge, known also as “information gap�. One of the most outstanding mentioned technologies is represented by the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). MES is a recent-years IT (Information Technology) solution that constitutes a middleware and a resources' integrator among high-level decision software tools, such as ERP systems, and operation-floor control software tools, such as SCADA Systems (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems), acting as an information bridge. Nowadays, the implementation of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) in a wide diversity of industries is a trend that is arising invigorated in enterprises that are characterized by high stability environments, high investment capabilities and an advanced and well hierarchized automation technology. Unfortunately, the benefits of the intended information gap amelioration through this kind of systems is nowadays not available for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) especially in industry undeveloped countries, like Mexico, in which most of the time, the focus is on the enterprise's survivorship (reflecting this in low investments trends) and not in the enterprise's growth (which would be reflected in long vision term investments). This kind of enterprises is also characterized by highly unstable production environments and low automation technology. Holonic Theory is a concept that arised in the 1960's, and its principles were originally employed to model social and biological behavior. The 1990's were the beginning of the efforts to incorporate the benefits of the Holonic Theory in the field of Manufacturing. Holonic Theory is highly suitable to those organizations that are not immersed in highly deterministic nor rigid structures. The modeling and implementation of MES software comprised by functional holons, employing available commercial software, with the fulfillment of some of the most relevant information technology requirements for the small and middle industry in Manufacturing enterprises (specifically in the metalworking area) is the main purpose of this research Present work is intended to help on the amelioration of the formerly mentioned Information Technology in SMEs -with a high focus on the metalworking sector-, specifically in the Manufacturing Information Management area, that prevail nowadays. Thus, the focus of present research is aimed to solve a real problem.