Factory Information System

Manufacturing information

What does the Manufacturing Information module do?

The Manufacturing Information module holds information about the parts you make, the raw materials you use, and the processes you use to make them.
It consists of a number of files of information and the tools to maintain them.

Key features

  • Maintains an asset register of all your plant and equipment, including capital tooling.
  • Supports different versions of the same part number when the drawing issue level changes.
  • Supports alternative manufacturing routes.
  • Allows you to specify each individual machine which can perform an operation.
  • Supports alternative bills of material.
  • Supports family tools where one cycle of a machine produces two or more different parts.
  • Allows accurate description of groups of linked machines such as robot fed press lines and packing and filling lines.
  • Shift patterns include overtime, and unmanned working for automatic machines.

Is it suitable for my business?

All the other modules in the system rely on the presence of the Manufacturing Information module. Therefore, whatever your business, you will need this module.

Part Master file

The Part Master file contains a record for every part you make, for every raw material you use, and for your tools and gauges. Each part has a unique number, which can be your own part number, or can be allocated by the system if you do not use a part numbering system. It contains a description of each part and classifies parts for future reports. You can record current drawing and issue numbers for each part.


The file can hold more than one version of the same part number. Each version of a part has two dates, between which it is effective. When a customer wants to change to a new version of a part on a specific date, you can set up a new version of the part with the new drawing issue number, and make it effective from the date specified by the customer. You can also set the existing version of the same part so that it becomes ineffective after the same date. You can set up new manufacturing routes and bills of material for the new version if necessary. The system will use this information to ensure that parts delivered after the changeover date are of the new version only. It will order the necessary raw materials before the changeover date to ensure that the required parts are available.

Asset register

The Asset register records each item of plant in your factory. It contains entries for each of your machines, ancilliary equipment such as robots and feeders, capital tools, and service plant such as compressors and boilers. If an asset may cause machine downtime, the reasons for downtime caused by that asset can be recorded against it.


You can specify groups of one or more assets which form machines or cells which can perform operations on parts. A machine may be just one asset such as a lathe or injection moulding machine, or it may be a number of assets which together form a production cell, for example presses, robots, and feeders, which together form an automated press line. You can group your machines in any way you like for reporting purposes, and you can group them into work centres.

Sub-contractors are treated as a special type of machine.

Manufacturing process layouts

A manufacturing process layout specifies how a part is made. It consists of one or more routes. A route consists of one or more operations, each of which can be performed on one or more machines.

Alternative routes

You can specify alternative routes for the same part, for instance you may make a turned part on a CNC lathe for small quantities, and on a Wickman multi-spindle for large quantities. Routes have effectivity dates, and a preferred route can be set. Thus you can control the introduction of new routes when for instance you invest in new machines.


The information for each operation includes a full description which can be printed on a route card, different cycle times for each manning level, and links to the tooling and inspection plan for the operation. You can specify the work centre on which the operation must be performed, or you can specify each individual machine which can perform the operation.


If an operation can be performed on any one of a number of identical machines, these machines can be grouped in a work centre, and the operation set to use that work centre. Alternatively, you can specify the individual machines on which the operation can be performed. This is useful when similar machines have special attachments which mean that certain operations can only be performed on those machines. You can specify one of the individual machines as the preferred machine if you wish.

You can specify different cycle times for each individual machine if necessary.

Bill of Materials

The Bill of Materials records the type and quantities of raw materials required to make each finished part. There can be a separate bill of materials for each operation performed on a part. This allows more accurate scheduling of raw materials, because a carton which is needed only at the final operation will not be purchased for the start of the batch.

Alternative Bills of material

The module allows you to specify alternative bills of material for the same operation. You may prefer to make a part from 20mm bar for instance, but are prepared to use 21mm bar if you have no 20mm bar in stock. An alternative bill of materials allows you to do this.


The Shift file specifies the shifts worked by each machine. It thus defines the available hours or capacity of each machine. You can record overtime shifts which the system can use to increase capacity when it cannot meet customer delivery requirements. You can specify the resources available during each shift, such as the number of operators, and the number of setters.


The Employees file holds the name and clock number of each employee. It is used by the optional Operator Reporting module of the Machine Monitoring module. You can also store details of your setters and maintenance staff in the Employees file. You can group employees for reporting purposes.

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