In today’s competitive manufacturing landscape, software such as OEE systems gain increased popularity as a tool for optimizing operational efficiency and helping manufacturers achieve higher production levels. Overall equipment effectiveness software is the gold standard for accurately measuring the difference between the potential performance of a manufacturer and the actual one. In this article, we will review the popular solutions on the market and get an understanding of how to find the right partner for OEE software development.
Challenges OEE monitoring software solves
OEE systems collect data from machines’ software, providing factories with the ability to monitor production, track progress, and maintain control over the manufacturing process. Usually, these systems offer built-in dashboards and reports for analyzing defects, metrics, and identifying stoppages or failures. Whether a small-scale business or a large enterprise, OEE helps companies of all sizes to improve their daily operations and long-term development.
Achieve optimal production levels. OEE software offers real-time monitoring and measuring capabilities that supply manufacturers with insights into their production process, helping to identify bottlenecks and make informed decisions for improving efficiency.
Ensure that everyone works towards a common goal. By visualizing key metrics in real-time in OEE, manufacturers can ensure that all departments understand the current priorities and goals, aligning their work towards achieving them in a transparent business environment.
Fix any issues promptly. Additionally, OEE solutions enable companies to track downtime while maintaining quality control and monitoring order progress. This ensures that any issues or delays in the production can be quickly identified and addressed, minimizing disruptions and maximizing output.
Get connected. The integration of OEE solutions with equipment through OPC (OLE for Process Control) and MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) protocols allows real-time data exchange between machines and software, which fosters proactive maintenance and helps with timely decision-making.
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Overview of OEE systems
When choosing an OEE software from a great variety of available options, manufacturers need to understand what solution better meets their expectations and addresses pain points.
MaintainX is a leading mobile-first workflow monitoring application designed for factory and industrial workers. It offers a modern IoT cloud-based tool for the maintenance, safety, and operations of equipment and facilities. It helps control daily operations such as safety and quality inspections, operating checklists, as well as keep a digital audit trail for activities.
MaintainX is used by companies in manufacturing, facility management, government, hospitality, and retail. Users have praised its ease of use and functionality as it allows for easy creation of work orders for users, and supports repeating work orders for backup and preventive maintenance tasks. The app’s dashboard provides a comprehensive view of the organization’s status. However, some report the lack of features for spreadsheet editing, calendar management, and personalizing notifications.
UpKeep is an asset management and equipment effectiveness system that provides
UpKeep offers extensive monitoring capabilities by providing maintenance records, historical tracking, and inventory management tools. It allows users to monitor their entire portfolio on both macro and micro levels. However, some users have mentioned challenges in fully utilizing the software and the lack of customization and template modules.
iAuditor is an OEE monitoring system that offers a range of features designed to streamline and enhance the auditing process. The software offers detailed reporting features that provide comprehensive insights, allowing for better analysis and decision-making. iAuditor’s users have praised the system for its intuitive interface, the ease of creating and customizing audits and checklists. However, its learning curve can be steep, as the wide range of features and customization options make it slightly difficult to fully master iAuditor.
Limble CMMS is a user-friendly software solution designed to streamline monitoring. It enables users to effectively manage maintenance operations, automate work scheduling, generate reports, and organize assets. The software is trusted by a wide range of companies, including McDonald’s and Rite Aid.
Limble’s users have praised its ease of use, comprehensive features, and customer service. They appreciated the ability to filter and create custom dashboards tailored to their specific needs, as well as such features as preventive maintenance, inventory management, work orders, and cycle counts. Meanwhile, some mentioned a challenging integration process and limited check-in and check-out features.
OEE development: how to start
Developing an OEE software requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the specific needs of a client’s manufacturing domain. When embarking on the development journey, it is essential to choose the right development partner and technology stack.
Picking the right development partner
Selecting the right development partner is critical for creating or scaling up an OEE solution. When evaluating potential partners, manufacturers should focus on both hard and soft skills.
These skills include expertise in software development, data analytics, and industrial automation. A development partner should have a deep understanding of the processes and the challenges faced by manufacturers, as well as the technical skills necessary to develop robust and scalable software solutions, optimized for various platforms, including mobile ones.
When SAP, a German multinational software corporation, sought to develop an augmented reality (AR) application they approached Surf for the job. Built in Unity cross-platform environment, the app serves as a realistic visual representation of the company’s oil well construction process. Surf optimized the app for iOS devices, simplifying the 3D models to ensure smooth work on iPhones and iPads. Even though the project had no technical specifications and was based on functional requirements only, the team was able to clearly understand the client’s goals and deliver the app that enhanced SAP’s ability to showcase its products to potential customers.
Soft skills, such as effective communication, collaboration, and project management are equally important. A development partner should be able to actively engage with manufacturers, understand their requirements, and translate them into functional digital products. A customer-centric approach and being responsive to feedback and changes throughout the development are essential as well.
In addition to the aspects mentioned above, Surf’s team prioritizes the following:
- Ease of integration and adaptation. Surf understands the importance of seamless integration into a company’s existing processes and adapts the approach to align with the specific requirements and workflows. This ensures a smooth transition and no disruptions to the business operations.
- Transparency and flexibility. Surf aims to clearly and regularly communicate the progress, challenges, and necessary changes to the project. Additionally, the team aims to be flexible, allowing for modifications and adjustments as the project evolves. This ensures the final product meets the current business and technical standards.
- Efficient workflow. Surf values a streamlined workflow that optimizes development processes, reducing unnecessary delays. Team rotation is kept to a minimum, which also helps Surf to deliver results on time.
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Choosing the right tech stack
Selecting the appropriate technology stack is crucial for building a reliable and efficient solution. The chosen stack should align with the specific requirements of the manufacturing domain and enable seamless integration with existing systems and equipment. Key characteristics include scalability, real-time data processing capabilities, and compatibility with communication protocols used by a factory. The stack should also support analytics, visualization, and reporting functionalities.
One of the most effective developing frameworks for OEE software is Flutter cross-platform technology that allows to build performant and budget-friendly mobile and desktop applications, since one set of code can be used to develop apps for all major platforms (iOS, Windows, MacOS, web) with minimal changes.
Surf used Flutter to successfully develop a crypto trading platform app, which had tough requirements in terms of data visualization and its rapid update. To ensure fast data flow and frequent updates (up to 20 times per second), Surf employed a combination of gRPC, HTTP/2, and protobuf serialization protocols.
In its Flutter projects, Surf employs home-grown solutions that are shared openly with the Flutter community. SurfGen aids in generating repetitive sections of code and accelerates the development of the service layer code, resulting in a 3-4 times faster development process. Surf Gear comprises a collection of libraries and tools designed to enhance the development workflow. The Elementary library assists developers in adhering to Clean Architecture principles by dividing app modules into manageable blocks. This reduces the resources and effort needed for app maintenance.
Why choose Surf for OEE development
OEE software plays a vital role in helping manufacturers optimize their operational efficiency and achieve high productivity. When developing an OEE, choosing the right development partner with the necessary skills and expertise is crucial. Likewise, selecting an appropriate tech stack that aligns with the business requirements ensures the result is robust and efficient software.
Surf’s extensive cross-industrial experience in creating digital enterprise solutions, efficient workflow, transparency, and flexibility allows its team to help manufacturers overcome challenges and enhance operational efficiency, contributing to the overall success in the competitive manufacturing landscape.