Your plant is providing valuable information – are you listening?


How do you find the information you need to improve a process in your facility? You could talk to the operators, supervisors, or process engineers. Yet, have you thought about asking your plant? It may have already gathered the information you need. Most plants have instrumentation to monitor critical processes. New drives provide detailed information about their performance. Collecting and analyzing plant data may be easier than you think.

Start Collecting your data

Data collection is the first step in the process. There are many packaged industrial historian products available to collect data. Next, determine the equipment that needs to be collected to analyze the process and configure the new data points in the Historian system. Validate the data from each tag being collected using a trending tool packaged with the historian.

Provide context to the data

Data stored in a historian is typically stored with its equipment numbering per its corresponding P&ID drawing. This is helpful for the engineering, but it doesn’t provide contextual information about the equipment. Contextual information can be created by using the S95 model and creating attributes about this equipment. This information will allow similar items to be able to be grouped together for analysis. Attributes can be vendor, model, process area, temperature, current, or last service date just to list a few examples. There are tools like OSI Soft’s Asset Framework that can be used to create the information and tie it to the corresponding process data from the historian.

Visualize your data

Traditionally, historical process data was visualized using a simple trending tool. Today, most historian products provide an open interface for advanced data visualization tools. For instance, tools such as TIBCO’s Spotfire and Microsoft’s Power BI. These tools provide advanced visualization components along with a good library of statistical functions. Utilizing the contextual information will allow you to filter on attributes like vendor, model, process area, or batch number. Ultimately, this will help you filter information and gain insights at a much faster rate.

Each of these steps will help you visualize data. Although these steps may take some time, the investment of time will be worth it in the end. Interstates Controls Systems’ data analytics group can help you collect and visualize data while reducing implementation time and providing assistance with visualization.

Click here for more information on Interstates and data visualization.

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This blog post was written by Dale Brovold.