Critical Manufacturing: Making Industry 4.0 a reality

Jul 3, 2023 | Industry 4.0, News

Critical Manufacturing provides deep domain expertise and industry specific functionality for the most advanced high-tech manufacturing industries. Factory & Handling Solutions recently caught up with Francisco Almada Lobo, Chief Executive Officer, and co-founder of Critical Manufacturing to find out more about the company and the trends that the company sees as shaping the future of manufacturing.

What makes Critical Manufacturing stand apart from competitors in the industry?

Critical Manufacturing distinguishes itself from competitors in the industry through its exceptional expertise, cutting-edge technology solutions, and unwavering commitment to digitalising manufacturing operations. With a deep understanding of MES and Industry 4.0, Critical Manufacturing delivers comprehensive and innovative solutions that empower organisations to optimise manufacturing processes, enhance productivity, and drive sustainable growth. The company’s customer-centric approach, continuous innovation, and proven track record of successful implementations set it apart as a trusted partner for manufacturers seeking to stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape.

What products, events or innovations is Critical Manufacturing excited about in the second half of 2023? 

This is the overriding rationale behind the MES & Industry 4.0 International Summit that will take place on September 7 – 8, 2023, at the Alfândega Congress Centre in Porto. The summit focuses on connecting for a smarter future. This topic allows manufacturers of semiconductors, electronics, medical devices and industrial machinery manufacturing to leverage increasing connectivity and intelligent operations emerging from Industry 4.0-related advancements.

The event features a comprehensive program of conferences, round table discussions, demonstrations, interactive sessions, and case studies to help industry professionals navigate to Industry 4.0 and the multitude of benefits manufacturing software can deliver. It will cover topics such as the role of artificial intelligence in manufacturing, how MES and IIoT are building resilient and data-driven enterprises and how virtualisation, digital twins and machine learning are accelerating the innovation spiral.

There will also be Expert Lab areas where visitors can experience the latest factory automation solutions and a virtual reality experience showcasing a model factory of the future.

How do Critical Manufacturing’s MES solutions work? 

Critical Manufacturing’s MES is a modern, flexible, configurable manufacturing execution system. It is a fully-integrated, modular solution with strong data management and analytical capabilities. This includes augmented reality, digital twin, and extended MES functionality, running on a platform that manages IoT and transactional MES data using the same data model. It is highly configurable and designed to resolve the complex operational challenges faced by modern manufacturers.

The modular system helps manufacturers stay ahead of stringent product traceability and compliance requirements, reduce risk with inherent closed-loop quality, integrate seamlessly with enterprise systems and factory automation and provide deep intelligence and visibility of global production operations. This makes manufacturers Industry 4.0 ready and better able to compete effectively and profitably by adapting operations to changes in demand, opportunity, or requirements anywhere, anytime.

Companies should expect more from their MES, which was the sentiment behind the launch of the latest MES version, V10, earlier this year. This latest version offers the most comprehensive and innovative MES solution for electronics, semiconductors, medical devices, and industrial equipment manufacturers. We continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with MES.

The latest iteration features real-time views of operations, instant, clear guidance to every operator or technician, and the ability to easily manage varied products, providing complete data and insights for decision-making to improve productivity and reduce errors. V10 includes a robust set of features designed to assist manufacturers in generating new business, streamlining team workflows, preventing errors, and reporting issues with new products and processes. Our solution provides a simple and intuitive interface with contextual manufacturing information to help increase operator efficiency, ensure users make the right decisions at the right time, and avoid recurring problems.

Adaptive scheduling flexibility and multi-level order and material scheduling capabilities make keeping up with ever-changing products and order mixes easier. While features like BOM variation management, using ECAD for defect detection, side-by-side visual comparisons of objects, and SEMI E142 support enables exceptional usability. Combined with the existing statistical process control (SPC), these new features make easy work of details such as material qualification, bills-of-materials, processing parameters, recipes, and equipment integration.

To enable easy deployment across multiple sites and ensure the system remains future-ready, the Critical Manufacturing MES V10 employs templates, container orchestration, and DevOps (a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations). The platform runs effectively on any hardware or software configuration and can be hosted on-premises, on any cloud, or on any hybrid option. It utilises a low-code system, making it inherently scalable and customisable and enabling new functionality to be quickly deployed and new sites added without extensive capital expenditure.

What trends in Industry 4.0 are you observing and implementing? 

Aside from the latest MES offering, three technologies stand out in IoT platforms, digital twins and factory automation. Critical Manufacturing has recently showcased its advanced IoT platform capability and how it facilitates the adoption of Industry 4.0 manufacturing technologies with complete, real-time visibility into global manufacturing operations, including its extended supply chain. The company also demonstrated the benefits of full integration with new devices and legacy systems and how this enables manufacturers to navigate the pathway to smart manufacturing at a pace that suits their business model.

fabLIVE Digital Twin is a real-time virtual window into the shop floor, with interactive performance monitoring and real-time enterprise-wide visualisation and monitoring. It helps manufacturers overcome financial or human resource constraints by enabling them to step toward a complete MES solution at an affordable pace using real-time 3D plant/line monitoring. This helps with product design by monitoring and controlling design, specification, and variations. It helps with process planning and validation by testing manufacturing scenarios. And it helps in modelling the connections between modern and legacy IoT in the context of shop floor data, turning that data into valuable information upon which strategic decisions can be made.

Critical Manufacturing’s Factory Automation solution offers a powerful framework for real-time monitoring, data acquisition, and analysis, providing manufacturers complete visibility into their production lines. This helps manufacturers identify and address bottlenecks, track key performance indicators, and make data-driven decisions to enhance efficiency and productivity. One of its key strengths is its flexibility and scalability. It can adapt to diverse manufacturing environments across industries such as electronics, semiconductors, medical devices and discrete industries.

Automating critical manufacturing processes improves resource utilisation, reduces downtime, and enhances overall productivity and quality. It catalyses operational excellence, enabling manufacturers to stay competitive in today’s rapidly evolving market.

Moving forward, Critical Manufacturing remains committed to leading the MES space and driving industrial productivity while empowering front-line workers. In our pursuit of continuous improvement, we are actively incorporating cutting-edge technologies like natural language processing and enhancing support for cyber-physical collaboration within our MES platform. This ensures that our customers benefit from the latest advancements and stay at the forefront of manufacturing innovation.

Designed with maximum scalability and adaptability in mind, the Critical Manufacturing MES platform is well-equipped to tackle evolving business and production challenges. Our deep understanding of customer needs serves as the foundation for ongoing platform development, allowing us to provide tailored solutions that meet the ever-changing demands of the industry.

With unwavering dedication, Critical Manufacturing will continue to enhance industrial productivity, elevate front-line worker capabilities, and drive the future of manufacturing through our state-of-the-art MES platform.


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