Smart Manufacturing to Enhance Operations


Mitsubishi Electric’s Factory Automation and Industrial Division (FAID) enables Smart Manufacturing through e-F@ctory to enhance Operations, says Sunil Mehta.


  • Client

    Mitsubishi Electric

  • Services

    e-F@ctory enables users to integrate shop floor data to the ERP system in real-time leading to overall improvement in Productivity and Reduction in Total cost of Ownership (TCO).

  • Technologies


  • Dates




To survive global competition, further shop-floor improvement and optimisation is very essential. In today’s day and age, end-to-end connectivity and digitally integrated enterprise initiatives are indispensable issues for manufacturing industries. Recognising these two needs, Mitsubishi Electric has merged the e-F@ctory concept for optimising factory operations through ‘visualisation’ and ‘eco-Factory’ technologies that contribute to energy conservation through ‘visible management’ of specific energy consumption. The two concepts have been amalgamated to create a new FA energy solution.


e-F@ctory promises enhanced productivity. It makes full use of leading-edge control technologies, information technologies and networking technologies to ‘visualise’ production information, including quantitative and qualitative production data and equipment information. It links production equipment to higher manufacturing execution systems to allow production information to be incorporated into production plans and be utilised to ensure quality traceability.


Mitsubishi Electric’s experience in developing Automation Solutions for improving ‘Monozukuri’, which means the Art of Manufacturing, led to the foundation of the e-F@ctory Alliance, uniting a large number of equipment and service providers in a wide range of sections including electrical and automation engineering, automation and motion control systems, Software, HMIs, SCADA and MES, vision systems, industrial networking and more. The alliance has more than 450 Partners Companies (as of October 2017) from around the world working in collaboration with its founder – Mitsubishi Electric, to optimise the Factory Automation Solutions.


At the core of any solution that can be built from this large palette of products is the MELSEC iQ-R and Q-series controllers and the CC-link IE Fieldbus. The controller offers a flexible platform to develop solutions for a wide range of applications including Automotive, Pharmaceuticals, F&B, Water, Tyre, etc.


The connectivity is empowered via the CC-Link or CC-Link-IE Fieldbus. The latter fieldbus has 1 GB/s bandwidth that has data, control, motion, and safety profiles and can run on either copper or optic fibre. CC-Link is the most widespread fieldbus in Asia with over 2,200 member companies which come under the alliance of CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA). The CC-Link fieldbus uses Seamless Message Protocol (SLMP) that has the particular advantage of providing seamless connection from the sensor level, through the gateway control to the ERP system.

The below diagram shows a typical scheme for e-F@ctory which can be implemented and adapted as per the requirements of the End-User for varied industry verticals:




The high bandwidth of CC-Link IE is designed to handle large amounts of data created by smart sensors and Factory Automation products fitted in varied equipments. Data volumes from the field are expected to continue to increase in a big way. The bandwidth enables small as well as Big Data analytics applications, which can only provide their benefits, when ample data is available.


e-F@ctory and the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) unify more than 3,000 partners, from which over 2,800 are at the field level, over 250 at the control level, and more than 50 at the IT layers. The list keeps growing and together they do provide a very broad palette of functionalities to build applications from. Significant names in the list, among othersare 3M, Atos, Baluff, Canon Systems, Cisco, Cognex,ePlan, Festo, IBM, Intel,Microsoft, HMS,Pepperl&Fuchs, Panasonic, Sick, and Wago. The web sites of the e-F@ctory Alliance and CLPA provide the exhaustive lists of partners.


Once connectivity is established among equipment, automation and IT, a range of possibilities arise, empowering a wide variety of roles in the manufacturing industries with real-time actionable information.


An ‘e-F@ctory-based plant’ incorporates a system that is capable of addressing various issues by collecting shop-floor data such as production performance, operating performance and quality information from production equipment and devices ‘directly’ and in ‘real-time’, and directly interfacing with enterprise applications such as ERP and SCM. In other words, the e-F@ctory platform substantially improves quality, work schedules and productivity by having significant vertical data integration from shop-floor to enterprise.


With advanced features of Factory Automation products the high-performance HMI applications built for individual machines/equipments can be viewed on your Mobile phone or Tablet using GOT Mobile Function. The OEE and Energy Management Control Packs from e-F@ctory alliance partners are available to facilitate the support for activities in these domains.

Maintenance has an instantaneous view on the health and efficiency of the equipment, providing support in troubleshooting and scheduling maintenance or repair. Effective predictive maintenance can be realised using intelligent sensors to get feedback for corrective measures and also to predict the next maintenance cycle realising optimal resource usage.


With the help of connected applications in the manufacturing operations management domain, the full scope of ISA-95 functionality becomes available; ranging from production operations, through quality and maintenance operations, to inventory operations and providing production control to operations managers. Within the Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) domains, the transparency assists in many ways. A good example of this would be how it enables planners to determine the liberty to adapt production plans to demand variations and analyse supply chain performance.


The e-F@ctory platform scales extremely well. It can be used for monitoring, operation and maintenance of a single equipment instance, fulfilling the same function for a distributed network of machines and equipment, but also for production assets of several lines, factories or sites, that can be considered to be a ‘production cloud’. It can feed local IT applications, for example a line-specific MES, as well as complex software applications globally coordinating operations, such as in the case of ERP or SCM. It can be used to create very lean as well as very elaborate systems, adapting to companies’ priorities and needs. The platform is ready for extensions of the network to connected products, as well as to a supply chain network linking production, logistics, service providers, clients, and other stakeholders through wired and wireless connections that IIoT generates.


MC Works64 – the SCADA solution from Mitsubishi Electric is seamlessly compatible to the e-F@ctory concept and it can provide small or Big Data coming from wide range of equipment to analytics is a fast growing domain and applications like AX Energy, AX Quality, AX Facility, etc., can benefit the industries in decision making to improve the overall efficiency and productivity. Basic analytics like MC Historian provide graphical representations of historical information with context, enabling fast understanding and decision-making. The next level applications are capable of forecasting and enabling proactive measures. The ultimate level is providing recommendations on how to run the process or the equipment, to fulfil production goals best.


One such example of e-F@ctory is the Intel IoT pilot project implemented in the Malaysia plant which includes the integration of both quality and asset analytics application in the cloud. The application uses various third party analytical tools like R and Hadoop for Data Mining & Analytics. The Mitsubishi Electric C language controllers of MELSEC-Q series were used. The pilot involved close collaborations between the factory engineers, the IT department and industry experts from Cloudera, Dell, Mitsubishi Electric, and Revolution Analytics.The team started leveraging existing machine performance and monitoring data, then proceeded to leverage Big Data analytics and modelling to ingest the data to predict potential excursions and failures. Being able to predict the machine component failures allows engineers to repair and prevent the excursion, hence reaping tremendous savings from wasting production units, time to repair and machine components. For Intel, this pilot project has been forecasted to save about US $ 9 million annually.


In summary, e-F@ctory enables users to integrate shop floor data to the ERP system in real-time leading to overall improvement in Productivity and Reduction in Total cost of Ownership (TCO).


Mitsubishi Electric in India (MEI)

With over 90 years of experience in providing reliable, high-quality products, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation is a recognised world leader in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. Embracing the spirit of its corporate statement, Changes for the Better, and its environmental statement, Eco Changes, Mitsubishi Electric endeavours to be a global, leading green company, enriching society with technology.  The company recorded consolidated group sales of 4,394.3 billion yen (US$ 38.8 billion) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016.


Mitsubishi Electric in India has grown to become a company offering a wide range of innovative and high-quality products for the Indian market. This includes products and solutions for air conditioners, automotive equipment, elevators & escalators, factory automation and industrial systems, power systems, photovoltaic solutions, semiconductor & devices, transportation systems and visual & imaging.

Mitsubishi Electric



Sunil Mehta

Sunil Mehta is General Manager, Automotive Business Development Department Factory Automation & Industrial Division, Mitsubishi Electric India Pvt Ltd.