Data historians correlate data over time. No surprise that they’ve become the baby of process engineers, who use them to analyze measures such as flow rate, valve position, tank levels, and fan temperature.
But a data historian can do more. Information in your data historian can come from a range of sources, including PLCs and lab information. It can offer visibility from the single instrument level all the way up to an entire organization, and beyond. The further you stand back from the output, the more new ways you will find to benefit.
As examples of standing further back, your data historian can compare:
- One shift to another – e.g. two shifts operating at the same time, or day vs evening or night
- One crew to another
- One site to another
- One continuous production to another.
You can use your data historian to help answer production questions, such as the total amount of time a piece of equipment was running in the past 24 hours. Or you can use it to improve quality, by monitoring each batch for comparison to a golden batch.
Make data more visible to management
A data historian helps you to present critical information in a graphical format, a big advantage whenever you need to portray an issue or a solution visually.
Using output from your data historian, you can present issues to managers based on real-time (not last week’s or last month’s!) data. Managers see issues as they are actually happening. Visual presentation capabilities only enhance this benefit. As examples, the centerlining process can become faster and less onerous; alarms and downtime events can begin to reveal more. Overall, this feature helps management to make decisions more quickly, with greater understanding.
What types of questions does a Data Historian answer?
What specific types of questions can a data historian answer? Here are just a few:
- How much time was this equipment running in the last 24 hours?
- How many square feet of tissue were produced yesterday?
- Did the flour from the new supplier have any effect on baking time?
What specific ways can you harness your data historian to improve operations?
The more you liberate your data historian, the more areas of use you will find, such as:
- Maintenance: Monitor an instrument to pre-recognize the need for calibration, repair, or replacement.
- Monitor batch production: Compare/analyze suspect batches vs golden batches.
- Monitor vendors: Control the quality and availability of your supply.
Yes, a historian can expedite change!
Last but not least, your data historian can help you to successfully expedite change. When you are changing a process, introducing a new product, or making major modifications to an existing one, the knowledge gained from a data historian can make all the difference between a successful change project and an exercise in frustration.