Transparent manufacturing: have a clear view with Grenzebach's MES app

22.08.2023 - Christopher Back, Head of Software Development, explains how the MES software solution increases transparency in manufacturing.

  • MES software solution from Grenzebach reliably connects ERP and process control systems
  • The production control system provides transparency along the entire production line through constant monitoring of quality and materials.
  • Solution applicable to all industries



HAMLAR/Germany. These days, there is no room for inefficient processes, rework, or rejects. Quality and transparency must be maintained throughout manufacturing. A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) can help increase the efficiency of production processes by providing real-time information. However, even an MES must be continuously analyzed and refined to meet today's productivity, efficiency, and sustainability requirements.

Re-thinking software solutions - Christopher Back, Head of Software Development at Grenzebach, strives to achieve this every day. We met him for a relaxed chat at the coffee machine and talked to him about his current project: the newly developed Manufacturing Execution System of the Grenzebach Group.

Learn from Christopher Back about the advantages of the new MES app from the Grenzebach Group and who would benefit from investing in it.

Definition: What is a Manufacturing Execution System, MES in short?

A Manufacturing Execution System, or MES, is a complex and dynamic software system that monitors, tracks, documents, and controls the process of manufacturing goods from raw materials to the finished product.

It forms a functional layer between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and the process control systems. The system breaks down roughly planned production orders into detailed production orders that specify the individual steps and operations required to manufacture a final product.

Benefit: What are the advantages of the MES app?

The software solution MES is based on a microservice architecture, i.e., the production control system can be designed modularly and thereby precisely tailored to the customer's requirements. The solution has the following further benefits:

  1. Flexibility: Product sequences, system capacities, and other parameters are not hard-programmed. Manufacturing managers can adapt these to the product to be manufactured or new routes in a configurator at any time, independent of the supplier. This has a significant impact on the efficiency of production, as users can act more independently and faster.
  2. Transparency: Parts management and the entire production process are recorded digitally. Users can monitor the progress of the production process at any time, check the utilization, view the performance, and immediately detect and rectify faults. The system also tracks each product and creates a manufacturing history. Based on this history, faulty batches can be filtered out directly, and recalls can be started.
  3. Quality: Along the production line, various product data such as dimension or quality details can be measured and compared with target parameters. The product is immediately rejected, if the measured parameters are not within a defined tolerance range. Furthermore, the production statistics provide valuable data on the overall quality of the manufactured products. Based on these, actions can be taken to sustainably increase quality.
  4. Simplicity: The user interface is simple, straightforward, and responsive - specifically designed for tablet use. Through colored highlighting, the production supervisor can immediately see how high the production capacity utilization is, which material is needed next, or whether the plant is in operation. The data from ERP (e.g., SAP) and SCADA/PLC can also be viewed in just a few clicks.
  5. Independence: With its modular architecture, the MES app can be easily and quickly connected to equipment from different suppliers - meaning that even manufacturer-specific protocols are no longer a problem. Customers can also choose to manage the software on-premises, via the cloud, or in a hybrid deployment.

Application: Where can Grenzebach's MES app be used?

MES is the central communication partner for successful manufacturing - across industries and departments. For example, we have equipped the new production line for solar modules of Grenzebach Envelon, a specialist and manufacturer for solar-active façades, with the MES app. The MES software acts as a communication layer between ERP (here: SAP), SCADA/PLC, and our long-term archive. The MES app performs tasks such as order management, product tracking, data evaluation, material flow control and much more. It was crucial to ENVELON that the production management could configure the production control system independently, as ENVELON manufactures the solar modules individually for each customer. The app fulfilled these requirements perfectly. The manufacturing management can individually adjust the parameters for each project. At the same time, it keeps a complete overview of past, current, and planned batches. In addition, the solar modules are tested for quality at four control points and compared with the specified tolerance range. In case of any deviations or malfunctions, the manufacturing management can intervene immediately. The user interface was also designed specifically for tablet use, as manufacturing managers are often on the move and want to be able to access the production line from any location.

ENVELON is now equipped with a state-of-the-art MES solution that provides the highest level of transparency and quality control, can be upgraded, and is future-proof.

Investment: Who would benefit from a purchase?

Smaller production lines, in particular, can use the MES software solution to generate a quick win because the solution can be implemented immediately. Due to its modular design, Grenzebach's MES app is highly expandable. It offers companies total flexibility with the highest possible level of quality control.

However, existing, larger production lines, such as in the glass or building materials industry, also benefit from the new Grenzebach app. As part of the MES software, the planning of routes no longer involves the programmable logic controller (PLC) but rather the plant management level. All decision points can be configured and easily and quickly adapted by the user - without any programming knowledge. Improved simulation options will also eliminate the need for tests on the real line. As a result, time, costs, and production downtime are minimized.

Expertise: Why should you choose the Grenzebach MES software?

The Grenzebach Group has a decisive advantage: They a software powerhouse and an experienced plant and automation specialist. Customers have access to interdisciplinary teams with networked expertise in software and manufacturing. This makes Grenzebach a reliable and trustful partner for their customers.

Are you interested in?

Would you like to learn more about the MES software solution? Christopher Back and his team are happy to hear from you.

MEX expert Christopher Back, Head of Sotware Development at Grenzebach

About the expert: Christopher Back

Christopher Back has been the Head of Software Development at Grenzebach since 2018. His area of responsibility is the optimization and digitalization of modern production facilities. His tasks include the planning and realization of complex software systems and profound consultations regarding entire plant and communication architectures.