Discrete vs. batch manufacturing: the benefits of an MES system for each production type

Discrete manufacturing and batch manufacturing are two major modes of production with different characteristics and challenges. However, all industrial companies, regardless of the type of product they manufacture or the processes they carry out, can take advantage of an MES system like Mapex to obtain real-time data, boost productivity and save costs.

What is discrete manufacturing?

Discrete manufacturing is a type of manufacturing that results in items that can be counted and broken down, often requiring the assembly of individual parts.  Household appliances, airplanes, cars, toys, cell phones, etc. All these objects belong to the wide range of products obtained from discrete manufacturing.

Companies operating in this system work with bills of materials (BOMs) of parts, assemblies and/or subsystems made of solid materials, and carry out processes such as assembly, packaging, stamping, molding, machining or additive manufacturing.

Main challenges in discrete manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing companies need, now more than ever, to adapt nimbly to the demands of the market, which requires shorter series production with fast and flexible delivery times.

They are companies that must meet their customers’ requests without losing sight of the quality of their products, the competitiveness of their prices, and the requirements and safety regulations specific to the sector to which they belong.

In the production environment, these manufacturers face several challenges. These include optimizing serial or format changeovers, always having a skilled workforce available, improving the traceability of products and components throughout the supply chain, and reducing costs resulting from rework or excessive scrap rates.

Benefits of MES for discrete manufacturing

An MES platform like Mapex provides a solution for the main production challenges of discrete manufacturing.

Thanks to this software, companies can obtain OEE and other relevant KPIs such as scrap rate or changeover time in a reliable way and in real time to know what their weak points are and implement successful continuous improvement plans.

The global and real-time visibility of the factory offered by MES and its ability to integrate with other systems such as ERP, CMMS or WMS also helps them to be much more competitive. With this platform, organizations speed up the detection of unscheduled shutdowns and the analysis of their causes, are more proactive in the management of industrial maintenance, and digitize their quality and traceability management systems.

In addition, companies that have implemented Mapex in their factories have other very useful tools for, for example, managing the resolution of customer complaints, the level of training of their operators or the supply of materials between the warehouse and the production lines.

What is batch manufacturing?

While in discrete manufacturing the components can be separated, in batch manufacturing this is not possible, since a recipe or formula is used to combine raw materials or ingredients in the final product.

Food and beverage, pharmaceutical, chemical or cosmetics industries are clear examples of sectors that use batch manufacturing to obtain their products. 

Main challenges in batch manufacturing

The challenges for companies involved in batch manufacturing are closely linked to the need to have total control over quality and traceability of production.

These are companies that, in most cases, manufacture products intended for consumption purposes or for health and wellness care for the end customer and, for this reason, are subject to very strict quality and safety controls.

Process standardization is equally important to ensure that formulas or recipes are executed correctly, that available resources are used efficiently, and that work is performed at full capacity.

Benefits of MES for batch manufacturing

MES platforms such as Mapex, which incorporate specific modules for production, quality and traceability management, enable industrial companies that specialize in batch manufacturing to:

  • Apply statistical tools such as SPC to monitor the variability of a process or production method, detect deviations and anticipate possible quality problems.
  • Comply with safety, cleanliness and order standards and procedures in their facilities.
  • Guarantee that the operators execute the steps of the formulas or recipes accurately, in the foreseen order and respecting the limits established for the components to be added and the rest of the process parameters.
  • Control the traceability of any liquid, solid or gaseous material that is stored and managed through silos, tanks or reservoirs during a production process.
  • Reduce raw material wastage as a result of poor planning or errors in recipes or formulas.
  • Manage the entire life cycle of their measuring instruments, increasing the quality and safety of production.

If you want more information about the benefits of implementing Mapex in your production plant, regardless of the type of manufacturer you are, do not hesitate to contact our team through this form.

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