Brooks Updates Manufacturing Execution System Software Suite

Upgraded MES modules intended to improve plant floor operations and lower total cost of ownership

Upgraded MES modules intended to improve plant floor operations and lower total cost of ownership

Chelmsford, MA — July 14, 2006 — Manufacturing solutions provider Brooks Software is rolling out new functionality for its manufacturing execution system (MES) applications, adding updated modules intended to improve plant floor operations and lower the total cost of ownership for the solutions.

Brooks, a division of Brooks Automation, said that its flagship MES offering, FACTORYworks, targeted at complex manufacturing environments, is now available on the Microsoft Windows platform. In addition, 300works, an MES offering for highly automated semiconductor manufacturing facilities (fabs), has also been enhanced.

The new functionality aims to improve productivity and make it easier to interoperate with enterprise-level applications, Brooks said. "Intelligent and interoperable plant floor applications are a requirement for today's manufacturers," said Joe Bellini, president and chief operating officer for Brooks Software. "Having FACTORYworks now available on Microsoft Windows means our customers can gain access to the depth of functionality and reliability they expect from MES offering on a platform that not only lowers their total cost of ownership, but also offers increased security and ease of integration."

Key upgrades and/or new functionality in the FACTORYworks MES application suite include:

  • Work Order Management — Allows manufacturers to create a production work order directly from customer order information contained in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. When used in conjunction with the Brooks Enterprise Interoperability Hub (EI Hub), the Work Order Management module maintains real-time connectivity to the ERP system.

  • Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM) — Defines where the parts will be consumed in the manufacturing process (the build profile), stores as-built configurations (ABC) and tracks the entire component genealogy through the manufacturing process.

  • Inventory Management — Allows the ERP system to pass bills-of-material to the MES, thereby eliminating duplicate manual entry. The inventory module tracks consumable material on the shop floor and provides functions such as receive, reserve, reclaim, scrap and replenish to assist manufacturing in making operations run more efficiently.

  • Nonconformance for Manufacturing — Creates issues and tracks all nonconforming work in process (WIP), inventory and MBOM throughout the manufacturing process. A Web-based client with a workflow engine allows operators to place material on hold until a disposition is issued.

  • Business Objects Reporting — This release of FACTORYworks incorporates upgraded reporting functionality through the integration of Business Objects technology. The Web-based reporting tool allows users to create detailed, drill-down reports based on their top key performance indicators (KPIs). The reporting data warehouse is optimized for reports and is isolated from the production database so reporting does not compromise MES server performance.

  • Enterprise Interoperability Hub (EI Hub) — Brooks MES exchanges data between the enterprise and the MES using a real-time event driven approach. The EI Hub improves the coordination of planning and scheduling with plant floor assets for better utilization of capacity and more accurate manufacturing status. The EI Hub also provides improvements in functional areas such as configuration, production run-time data, work-order management, as-built configuration, nonconformance archives, equipment repair history and product costs.

  • JMS Message Bus — FACTORYworks now incorporates an industry standard message bus based on JMS, which reduces the costs of integrating disparate systems through its open standard interface and supports existing IT systems and new technologies such as J2EE and .NET.
Brooks said it has also added a number of enhancements to its 300works MES offering, which is built around FACTORYworks. These new features include wafer tracking, wafer parameters, improved performance, advanced database archiving and purging, dynamic function calls, out-of-the-box integration with Brooks' iReticles reticle management software, and integration with the Brooks Enterprise Integration Hub (EI Hub).

Additional Articles of Interest

— Stryker Instruments achieved success in inventory optimization by taking a no-frills approach and relying on collaborative supplier relations. Read more in "Keeping Supply Chain Transformation Simple," the Best Practices case study in the April/May 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— What do CEOs want from their supply chains, and is Supply Chain delivering? Read more in "The Supply Chain Disconnect," the Executive Memo column in the April/May 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.