Introducing the Digital Manufacturing Cloud

Innovation Series – Digital Manufacturing and Asset Management with SAP

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Published on August 23, 2021 – Alexander Hero, Consultant Industry 4.0 at Westernacher

SAP is pursuing a large-scale strategy with regard to the introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies. In this sense, and in line with SAP’s RISE strategy, they have introduced the Digital Manufacturing Cloud (DMC) for the production sector and the Intelligent Asset Management solution for the maintenance environment. They represent the solutions to tackle the current and future challenges within the producing sector discussed in our previous blog post. Now, we are going to take a look into the different capabilities of the individual solutions and how they mean to tackle these challenges starting with the DMC.

 

All you need to know about the Digital Manufacturing Cloud.

With the DMC, SAP has created a comprehensive cloud solution that integrates functionality for manufacturing insights and comprehensive capabilities for production execution and short-term planning. This makes the DMC a more comprehensive solution than the previous technologies in SAP’s manufacturing solution portfolio consisting of SAP Manufacturing Execution and SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence. It is based on the Fiori framework, which provides an intuitive design for all included applications. Being a cloud solution, the DMC leverages the advantages of scalability, data security, implementation simplicity and quarterly updates of functionalities. However, the questions of customizability and latency in data transfer remain. Concerning the latter, SAP has developed a DMC edge component, which is responsible for data processing for defined DMC business workflows providing continuity for mission critical applications. In terms of customizability, the DMC includes multiple integrated hook points to integrate custom-built applications and functions into the overall solution.

But let’s have a deeper look into the main aspects of the manufacturing cloud. In terms of licensable modules, the DMC is divided into three different elements – the DMC for Resources Orchestration, DMC for Insights and DMC for Execution. The execution component of the DMC inherits multiple functionalities to support the production adapted to the respective industries, whether that is in process or discrete. You are enabled to conduct multi-staged production processes equipped with digital work instruction, data collection and quality inspection specifications and ways to handle non-conformances that arise. In particular, this handling of non-conformances states is an interesting feature for most companies as these lead to irregularities in production and cause system downtimes and therefore have a direct financial impact. Furthermore, the DMC addresses the continuous increase of automized production execution and the resulting need for a quick and high-scalable integration of heterogenous shop-floor systems by incorporating various types of production equipment, entering bi-directional communication. This communication and the definition on how the shop-floor systems shall behave can be designed directly within the DMC from a business perspective without having to know the complexities of the technical design of networks and the different interfaces.

Introducing DMC - Digital Manufacturing Cloud

In addition to supporting execution processing, the integrated machines and the information they transmit are the basis for the Insights module. Through data coming from the classical ERP system combined with historic and current production execution data, the Insights solution provides possibilities for a wide range of analysis. You are able to implement standard KPIs such as measuring the overall equipment effectiveness on different hierarchy levels or to design your own customized KPIs incorporating them into your business workflows.

SAP Resource Orchestration is the last big element. Within SAP’s solution portfolio there was always a gap between production planning and production execution within the SAP software landscape. The lack of a tool for short-term planning of orders and operations to the respective resources and production employees has prevented SAP users from taking into account planning changes from higher-level back-end systems and incidents coming from the shop floor. The Resource Orchestration Model fixes this gap, allowing you to flexibly schedule and deploy your operations, labor and tools to the production equipment at the various work centers on your production floor.

As outlined, the DMC offers a wide range of functionalities to ensure a seamless and smooth production execution, conducting complex processes behind intuitive user dashboards. Later in the blog series, we’ll take a deeper look at the various features presented and explain how you can really benefit from them. In our next post we will introduce the different solutions of Intelligent Asset Management.

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