Untrap Your Data to Boost Profitability

 Industrial plants are swimming in data collected by automation systems. The problem is that lots of that data is trapped for various reasons and not doing the plant any good. My article in Industrial Production (available in English and German), identifies reasons that data gets trapped and outlines a straightforward way to get to it, analyze it and use it.

A big percentage of data is collected by PLC, HMI, SCADA and Historian systems running in the OT (operations technology) area. By necessity, OT prioritizes operational production efficiency and uptime, while everything else is secondary. The OT infrastructure makes decisions such as:

  • Choosing proprietary communication protocols that meet performance requirements, but without flexibility and cross-vendor compatibility
  • Minimizing control and sensor data collection to increase system reliability and simplicity
  • Implementing on-premises architectures to mitigate cybersecurity threats and vendor lockout programs to protect intellectual property and increase reliable machine operations, but often at the expense of connectivity

My article points out many types of data that are often unused, many of which will sound familiar to any industrial professional. Often, this is data that could provide valuable insight into issues of profitability and productivity that now sits fallow. I then go on to talk about how edge technology can be easily integrated into existing infrastructure with no interruption or threat to the security of operations, but at the same time, can significantly enrich the decision-making information reaching stakeholders in all areas of the plant.

To learn more about the data you may be ignoring and how to make it useful, check out my article.