One of the main challenges in the food and beverage as well as in the packaging industry is the production of high-quality products at acceptable market prices. To remain competitive, an effective IT assistance for their in-company processes is used in form of production management systems, so-called Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). The MES is responsible for refining the production orders, which are roughly planned in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) by assigning them to production lines and monitoring the order in production. The functions also include reporting efficiency parameters back to the ERP and optimizing production processes.
The strength of the Weihenstephan Standards is that they are practical and specifically adapted to a domain.
The Weihenstephan Standards are currently available for four different domains:
- WS Pack for the packaging and bottling industry, published in 2005
- WS Food for the food processing industry, published in 2010
- WS Bake for the baking industry, published in 2015
- WS Brew for the process area of breweries and beverage companies, published in 2019
The advantages of the Weihenstephan Standards are that they greatly simplify the definition of MES functionalities and the data points required for them during the project planning phase. In the implementation phase, the time required can be greatly reduced by using WS tools, which leads to a considerable reduction in costs.
This is possible because the Weihenstephan Standards take on three tasks (see Figure 1):
- exemplary definition of MES functionalities that are specifically tailored for a WS domain
- definition of data points derived from the MES functions
- definition of the communication protocol and information model between the data sources and the MES Figure 1 – Communication via Weihenstephan Standards
On the way to Industry 4.0, the hierarchical structures of the automation pyramid are breaking down more and more. This is also reflected in the Weihenstephan Standards, the data points required for the MES functionalities are not only provided directly by machines. Instead, the data is already aggregated and made available by process control systems, for example. Figure 1 illustrates the structured communication between an MES and different communication partners in a heterogeneous system for the provision of data according to the Weihenstephan Standards.