Smart Manufacturing solutions for Aerospace and Marine industry – Executing production off-line in industrial environments

By Alessandro Cereseto

Today, manufacturing companies in the A&D and Marine world increasingly need an integrated connection of data, processes, and systems to be able to respond quickly to rapidly changing market demands, shortage of supplies, and to adhere to strict regulatory compliance.

The production and manufacturing areas are the ones more impacted by this need. However, both in the A&D and Marine industries, there are conditions in which continuous and integrated interconnection is not available.
This can occur for a variety of different reasons: inability to access the data network, problems related to security, activities that must be carried out in areas far from the main plant.

The lack of a strong and fast data connection might lead to disruptions and inefficiencies in the production process flow: need to switch from digital to paper, loss of time, data inaccuracy, possibility of errors.

To face this challenge, Siemens has adopted and applied app technology also in industrial-type solutions such as the MES Opcenter Execution Discrete.

Thanks to our Opcenter Execution Discrete Off-line app, an operator has the ability to manage the workflow of one or more work orders both when he is in an online and in an offline environment, such as when he has to carry out parts of the production inside a cockpit (aircraft fuselage to collect measurement) or inside a ship under construction. The modern method is to construct large parts of the hull, for example, the complete bow and stern. Each of these parts is built up from subassemblies or component parts, which are then welded together to form the complete bow or stern. These sections of the ship are manufactured under cover in large sheds, generally at some distance from the building berth, before being transported to the berth and there fitted into place and welded to the adjacent section.

Using dedicated clients (from a tablet or any other mobile device), the operator can choose multiple operations from different Work Orders and download on the mobile device all the information needed to execute the production steps without network access.

The Operator can then follow the work instructions and collect data, like, for instance, assemble some material according to the material specifications, browse to find a specific tool and declare its usage.

When the operator is back in a location where the network is available, they can switch back in online mode. From the online mode he \ she they can upload the actions to Opcenter Execution Discrete. The solution full supports the data uploading & reconciliation.

In Opcenter Execution Discrete the production coordinator can review all of the actions that were executed offline and eventually perform the check-in. Traceability if fully ensured.

Through our offline app, realized through Mendix technology as an extension to Opcenter Execution Discrete, we aim to ensure:

  • Synchronization of all information generated: even though there is no permanent connection, no information is lost. The application automatically sends data as soon as this becomes possible
  • Flexibility – Users can continue their activity from anywhere, and asynchronous workflows allow to keep information always up to date regardless of network access
  • Performance – Ensure correct operation by preventing blockage of workflows or loss of information due to lack of internet connection
  • Scalability – to adjacent use-cases that are managed offline with cross domain data needs

Offline app is just one app, realized with Mendix platform, as organizations transition to composable enterprises. Mendix, industry leader in enterprise scale low-code application development platform, empowers anyone with an idea or business domain know-how to make powerful apps.

Mendix offline capabilities is critical capability in realization of the offline app and delivering value to our customers in

  • eliminating the traditional paper processes
  • eliminating manual data entries across multiple systems
  • increasing efficiency across the dependent processes
  • increasing data transparency across the offline – online activities

Mendix for Manufacturing Industries, gives manufacturers the platform and industry tailored templates, app services and connectors to assemble the right business experience across domains, keeping the core systems clean (ex. Teamcenter, Opcenter, SAP) and keep digital thread unbroken.

Want to learn more? Opcenter Execution Discrete provides powerful Manufacturing Execution capabilities that ensure greater process-flexibility and efficiency, complete integration of regulatory and quality requirements, synchronized production processes for optimal supply-chain management, and sustained reductions in maintenance and operation costs. Combined with your ERP and PLM systems, Opcenter Execution Discrete forms an integral part of your manufacturing technology strategy by providing the shop floor visibility needed to increase quality and efficiency at the plant and within supply chain operations. Find out more about Opcenter Execution Discrete White Paper.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at