Use Machine Control for a Strong Software Base

Use Machine Control for a Strong Software Base

The importance of machine control software is often overlooked in modern distribution and fulfillment (D&F) operations. As a key technology responsible for enabling communications and decision points among various material handling equipment (MHE) components, machine control also serves as the underpinning of warehouse automation ecosystems. From a software perspective, it provides a foundational base layer upon which more advanced automation software can be added — such as a warehouse execution system (WES) or warehouse management system (WMS). In essence, it is foundational for establishing a robust software platform needed to achieve long-term success.

Today, many programmable logic controls (PLCs) and machine control software — like Honeywell Intelligrated’s ICW and BOSS — are in the sunsetting phase of their lifecycles. Enabling future compatibility with MHE and automation systems, as well as integration with more advanced WES and WMS software, will require upgrading to a more modern and robust machine control platform. Operators who delay upgrades will not only find it more difficult to secure service and find parts, but they also will be unable to take advantage of the latest breakthroughs in data storage and processing speeds. In addition, previous machine controls often relied on Windows-based servers, which are now more costly to acquire and maintain.

Introducing the next generation of machine control software

To support the next generation of warehouse automation hardware and software, Honeywell Intelligrated has developed MC4, a modern machine control solution within our advanced Momentum software platform. MC4 is engineered to provide a flexible and stable base layer upon which you can construct best-fit software solutions. With MC4 as your machine control foundation, you can:

  • Seamlessly layer on additional Momentum WES and WMS functionalities as needed
  • Integrate with other equipment and software providers
  • Create a software infrastructure comprised only of the specific capabilities your operation needs

All of this can be done without introducing unnecessary system complexities or destabilizing your critical software infrastructure.

In addition, the Momentum software suite leverages a lightweight middleware layer called machine control business logic (MCBL), which helps connect MC4 to any additional software layers above it. MCBL receives instructions from MC4 to enable more advanced capabilities and perform basic equipment control functions such as: label printing, routing, alarms and events, data tracking and business intelligence (BI), history, reporting, visual status monitoring and host system communication. Together, MC4 and MCBL provide a robust set of capabilities that can serve the needs of many D&F operations.

Add WES and WMS capabilities to your software infrastructure

MC4 is designed to integrate with the more advanced functionality available within our Momentum software suite. By adding WES and WMS capabilities to the MC4 machine control software foundation and MCBL middleware layer, we can help you to achieve your next levels of automation execution and fulfillment control.

Momentum WES delivers the smart order fulfillment execution and holistic automation tools needed to address today’s escalating e-commerce complexities. Powered by Decision Intelligence — an advanced data science engine that processes real-time data and leverages it using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and machine-learning (ML) algorithms — Momentum WES enables proactive decision-making to drive productivity and efficiency in all order fulfillment operations:

  • Order management and fulfillment execution
  • Workload balancing and resource coordination
  • Intelligent, real-time order release, routing and prioritization
  • Dynamic resource planning for the entire material handling system

As the top layer of the Momentum software system architecture, Momentum WMS delivers real-time inventory tracking and management — from inbound receipt and order fulfillment processing to replenishment and outbound distribution — while providing seamless integration of essential workflows and key warehouse functions.

Most importantly, the Momentum software suite features a modular infrastructure that allows you to add WES and WMS functionalities, automation technologies and fulfillment processes as needed.

The Lifecycle Support Services (LSS) team from Honeywell Intelligrated can help to identify areas that need to be upgraded within your operation. Our expert consultants and engineers leverage decades of project management and controls software experience to develop targeted automation solutions and software upgrades that meet your operational objectives.

Whether you need to upgrade your existing machine control platform or add Momentum WES and WMS functionalities, the LSS team can maximize the performance of your warehouse automation software to meet the increasing demands of e-commerce fulfillment.

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