Big data collection and analysis

Quick hits:

  • Most industrial companies started collecting data for specific production improvement initiatives within the last five years.
  • The 3 main business drivers for data collection and analysis are: improving specific line or equipment operations; improve maintenance operations; and global Industry 4.0 or digital transformation initiatives.
  • Systems integrators say 57% of their customers still rely on handwritten data collection which is then entered into a spreadsheet, but only 29% of end users say they use handwritten data collection methods.

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Read the transcript below:

Welcome to Automation World’s Technology Matters site. I’m David Greenfield, Director of Content, and today I’m going to share some insights we’ve recently gathered through research into the industry’s use of big data collection and analysis technologies.

Although the name Big Data seems really trendy, it’s really the name that is new. Companies have been collecting time series data from assets for decades. And while plant managers and maintenance workers have, of course, used this data to improve operations, it has rarely, if ever, been analyzed with broad business transformation in mind. And that’s really what Big Data is: capturing increasing amounts of data by deploying more sensors and other data collection technologies and, more importantly, analyzing the data to gain specific insights into the improved activity… not just capturing them to leave in place for possible use to be identified later.

So for this research project, in which we interviewed both end users and system integrators, we focused on the use of a variety of data collection and analysis technologies, ranging from data acquisition systems, historians and computerized maintenance management systems to edge and cloud computing. , and advanced analysis software.

Here is a small sample of what we found. While most end users surveyed (86%) indicate that they collect data from equipment and devices specifically for production improvement initiatives, most only started doing so over the past five years. Only 27% of respondents indicate that they have been collecting data for these purposes for more than six years.

An interesting point among end-user responses is that 98% plan to collect even more data from their production systems over the next two years. But only 30% plan to do so for specific operational improvements.

Now, this could indicate that many of those who have been collecting and analyzing data for a few years may have already discovered many ways to improve their production operations and may be looking to leverage the data they are now collecting to other more strategic activities. purposes.

Another interesting finding from the survey was that end users and integrators agreed on the top three business drivers for data collection and analysis. These drivers are: improvement of specific line or equipment operations, improvement of maintenance operations and participation in the overall Industry 4.0 or digital transformation initiative of the company.

When it comes to the specific technologies used for big data collection and analysis, we found it interesting, though not too surprising, that most manufacturers still rely on data collection and analysis technologies. that existed long before the development of the technologies receiving the most attention from Big Data. today.

That’s not to say that new collection and analysis technologies aren’t being used – that’s certainly not the case. Edge and cloud technologies, for example, are widely used in industry. Even so, there is plenty of room for their growth. Only 29% of system integrator customers use hybrid cloud and edge technology and only 14% use standalone cloud systems.

According to the survey results, most manufacturers rely on three main methods of data collection and analysis, one of which is handwritten data collection. Systems integrators surveyed say that 57% of their customers still rely on collecting handwritten data that is then entered into a spreadsheet. But only 29% of end users report using handwritten data collection methods. Even if you split the difference here between integrator and end user responses, there are still a lot of companies that rely on handwritten data collection and that really can’t support a real big initiative. Data.

The other two main methods used are historians and computerized maintenance management systems, both of which have a long history of use in the industry.

The results of this study will be featured in our October 2022 issue, so keep an eye out for the full report to be published online and in print.

So I hope you enjoyed this episode of Technology Matters. Keep watching this space for regular updates on advances and applications in industrial automation technology.

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