Plant operators play a big role in Big Data deployment
Emerson expert says operations needs to be in from the start of data management effort
In the rush to deliver on the promise of "Big Data" in manufacturing, manufacturers need to be aware of the need to keep operators in mind as well. "Throwing more data at them isn't the solution. You have to help them make the right decision," said Grant Wilson, VP of research and development for Emerson Process Management at a recent Emerson event in Austin, TX.
In bridging the gap between bridging quality and control in data management, Wilson cited three key was to make it work
- Get operators involved from the start. "Have to give the operators the data for them to take action on it," Wilson said.
- The effective use of embedded technologies
- Make use of data capture in the historian to understand not just what happened and why it happened, but understand what are the best-case scenarios as well.
Wilson cited five benefits to such a process:
- Better process insights
- Improved production performance
- Enhanced operator effectiveness
- Supports continuous improvement programs
- Fostering process and business operation integration
"We have all this data, and we have more coming from every day from the control system," Wilson said. "We need some way of mining it and then look for information that is actionable."
That means moving from a state of what he called descriptive analysis—what happened, and why—to a state of prescriptive analysis--finding the best answer and the best outcome for the operation.
The savings show up in improved productivity, but also in lower maintenance costs. "You want to know the how and why of every maintenance dollar," Wilson said. "You don't manage maintenance and reliability; you control it."
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey