oee.ai as Headless Manufacturing Analytics Engine

oee.ai can also be used “headless”, so that companies can create the front end themselves in order to provide the user with a uniform user interface, even for several, technically different applications. With this concept, users no longer have to work with multiple systems, which reduces the complexity for them and also saves them from having to make double entries.

The concept of “headless” refers to an architecture or implementation of software in which the user interface (also known as the “front-end”) and the underlying functionality and data processing (the “back-end”) are separate and independent of each other. Communication between the layers takes place via APIs.

The concept has been spreading for several years, for example in content management or shop systems for electronic commerce. This concept is also finding more and more interest in industrial applications.

Headless in the Production Environment

In the production environment, it is not uncommon for employees at one workplace to have to satisfy the data needs of different systems. A classic example would be scrap data. These are used to calculate the OEE and are often also required in a quality management system (QMS). In a well-developed IT environment, this would be done through an interface in the background. However, manual double entry is often still encountered in production reality. There are essentially two reasons for this: Either the effort involved in connecting the two systems has so far been avoided or the data is different for both systems, but neither of the two front ends of the systems captures the data in full. In these cases, the employee must enter the data into both systems. With the headless concept, an additional software layer is used to capture all data with a uniform look and feel and distribute it in the background to the applications that are used headless.

Image: Example of a Headless-Architecture

Advantages of Headless Use

The headless concept comes with the additional effort for a company to develop and maintain the front end. However, this also applies in the scenario of use in industrial production has three significant advantages.

  • Flexibility and adaptability: Headless enables a flexible architecture that can quickly respond to changing user needs and technological advances.
  • Integration of third-party services: The headless architecture facilitates the integration of third-party services and APIs. This opens up opportunities for collaboration with partners such as oee.ai, use of external services and integration of new functions without extensive changes to the overall system.
  • Improved user experience: Separating the front-end and back-end allows for better customization to user needs and faster implementation of user interface improvements.

Where Does the Front-End Come From?

If you want to use the advantages of a headless architecture, as already mentioned above, a front end must be created for the user on their own responsibility. This is usually done by using development frameworks and libraries such as React, Angular or Vue. A low-code programming environment such as Node-RED or OutSystems often plays a key role in these architectures. The detailed design of the tech stack is a strategic and very company-specific task that requires detailed considerations.

Do you consider integrating Manufacturing Analytics headless into your IT environment? We have implemented different scenarios with various customers and we would be happy to share our experiences with you. Please feel free to contact us at info@oee.ai.

Author: Linus Steinbeck