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MES or Manufacturing Execution Systems (i.e. plant control systems) require significant efforts and investments to develop. From discussions with industrial experts we can state that an MES requires the 10-fold in investment and effort when compared to what is needed for a best-in-class scheduling and planning system. This is an order of magnitude.

In the TC5.1 research domain, this difference translates in the inability to build, test, evaluate, assess and validate manufacturing plant control systems and, in particular, the execution systems therein. Within a typical R&D project, both time and resources are lacking to perform the experiments that are needed. The best research results in the world still are limited to 'toy cases' and 'proof of concept demonstrations'. Alternatively, the R&D is confined to incremental innovation in industrial settings.

The research community needs a (software) platform that enables a thorough analysis, characterization and assessment of their developments. In addition, the community needs to be able to compare results, not in the sense of a ranking but in the sense of understanding the differences, similarities as well as the related pluses and minuses. Therefore, IFAC TC5.1 has started the development of such a software platform for the benchmarking of manufacturing plant control systems and especially execution systems.

About the Workshop

The workshop emphasizes hands-on experiment development and execution. Participants will be working, not just listening and presenting. Active participation is expected from attendees.

The day before INCOM 2012, TC5.1 with CIMR support, organizes its inaugural workshop for its MES Benchmarking service. This service supports an MES benchmarking software platform for performance evaluation and behavior characterization, which offers accurate and detailed simulation reflecting real-world production systems and activities. The platform utilizes a software-in-the-loop design and virtual execution to facilitate validation matters maximally.

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