A Manufacturing Execution System, commonly abbreviated as MES, is a software suite that includes a range of industry 4.0 technologies. Manufacturing companies typically use this to transition to a smart factory. Hence, the first thing that may not come to one’s mind when considering MES is the range of features it offers its employees, specifically concerning safety. As there are currently multiple software vendors who provide MES solutions, finding the right vendor may depend on the inclusion of such safety features, which is not an aspect found in all MES solutions. This article will explain how MES can safeguard employees on the factory floor, emphasising why companies should adopt such a system.
Seven Ways An MES Solution Guarantees Employee Safety
In Singapore, around 141 workplace injuries were reported in the manufacuturing industry during 2021, out of which four were fatal. While this number is not as high as work-related injuries that occur in other high-risk industries such as construction, the goal of the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore has been to ensure there no injuries occur at a workplace, especially as many incidents are preventable. There are several ways an MES solution can help in this respect by inculcating a healthy environment for employees to work in and for manufacturing companies to boost their reputation as a factory that champions sustainability and safety in their workplace. Here are seven ways how it guarantees employee safety:
Generally, it is common practice for factory managers to advise their employees to wear safety equipment and inform them of any areas that are too dangerous. While the factory manager may have done his job by communicating such matters to its team members, it is always safe to have contingency plans in place to avoid accidents that occur due to human nature. Video analytics is a tool that can help in that respect. It documents events occurring in the factory and warns the manager where suspicious activity is detected. It is typically used as a quality control mechanism and efficiency analysis tool in addition to integrating it into a safety management system. There are specific areas in a manufacturing factory that can be more hazardous than others. This includes spaces that have forklifts, assets with high voltage and more. A video analytics tool can ensure any teams entering the area are wearing protective gear. From wearing helmets to having safety vests, and gloves on, the system generates a warning noting that the human person who had entered the area had not been adhering to the safety instructions. Where a site has been identified as too risky, the video monitors any team member that may accidentally enter the zone and automatically implements a divider or similar measures to prevent the person from entering.
More Precision with Collaborative Robots
Collaborative robots refer to robots that work side by side with human teams. They are also known by their short name, ‘cobots’. As they are designed not to harm humans, teams can work collaboratively with robots. Hence, such robots do not entirely replace human labour and instead take over the dangerous tasks associated with the factory. This includes carrying heavy equipment and slotting items on higher shelves. As they have higher precision levels and do not get distracted, the chances of items falling are rare. They also do not need to be plugged into any socket and run on battery. Most cobots process a blueprint image of the warehouse to ensure they travel to the right shelf and slot items accordingly.
Less Strain On Your Mental Health
Having an increased workload could be physically and mentally exhausting. This is especially present in a manufacturing factory that constantly strives for maximum labour utilisation. As humans, however, who require rest, it is hard to be consistent in production levels. Even if one man is down, it could affect the operations for the day. Moreover, the very environment of a factory, which includes loud noises, prolonged periods of artificial lighting, and isolation, leads to developing anxiety. When this or other mental conditions occur, it could also affect production rates. Utilising a solution that can automate processes means that teams have the space to be involved in less stressful workloads.
Monitoring Clean Air
Where assets are not appropriately maintained, the air in a factory could have increased levels of CO2. Unlike other anomalies, such changes will not be visible to humans. Hence, unknowingly, teams could be breathing in toxins that could lead to health conditions in the long term. Having a solution that can detect carbon emissions is helpful to ensure the air is purified or at least safe for its employees to be in. This is also a responsible way to adopt sustainable practices. A visualisation tool that demarcates such data is thus helpful.
Never Having To Go In Blind
While technologies can predict or detect anomalies, at the end of the day, it is mostly a maintenance team consisting of humans that must carry out repairs. In a traditional setting, employees could be at risk when they do not know why the asset has failed. Hence, any wrong measure taken could be dangerous. With technology such as predictive and prescriptive analytics, however, in addition to artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors, the manager can detect the root cause of each malfunction. Thus, maintenance teams will know how to rectify anomalies directly without going in blind. Based on how dangerous it is, decisions can be taken as to how repairs are carried out.
Cerexio MES: A Solution with the Latest Technology Along With Great Safety Advantages
Cerexio MES is a state-of-the-art solution popular in the manufacturing industry in Asia. Recognised as the best in the region, Cerexio MES includes predictive analytics, digital twins, AI, ML, IIoT, automated scheduling tools, and more. In addition to helping factories to cut down on finances and eliminate downtime and waste, Cerexio MES helps you to keep your employees on the factory floor safe through features such as video analytics, corroborative robot, restricting access to hazardous environments and more. Another feature which makes Cerexio MES unique is its inclusion of smart modules and visualisation tools that provide accurate data on CO2 emissions released through assets, helping factory managers be aware of their carbon footprint and consciously reduce it. Considering that Cerexio enables you to automate your entire factory operations, only requiring employees to execute essential responsibilities or focus on bringing innovative ideas to the decision-making table, there is no need to worry about labour utilisation. As machines do not tire, factories can run around the clock all day, thereby letting managers gain maximum labour utilisation. Track and trace, organise your workstation, and detect anomalies at its root, all with Cerexio MES.
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Putting Safety First
Today, employees’ mental health and safety have become a trending topic. Employees can be relieved and prioritised in the manufacturing sector through solutions such as MES. While a recognised software vendor will include modules that will help them to have a safe working culture and eliminate workplace accidents, it provides further advantages for factories to scale upwards. From automating tedious processes and transitioning to a smart factory, unlock technologies that bring out the full potential of your manufacturing capabilities.