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Entering the World of Data

“It’s not a matter of if, but when you will invest in data acquisition”

Brian’s Take

You hear a lot about digitalization these days. It’s not a matter of if your manufacturing plant will enter this digital world of data, but when you will invest in data acquisition and analysis of your production processes. You know you have to in order to remain competitive.

Please understand that you must do the data acquisition first and do it properly before you even start to shop for data analysis software. Start with the PLCs controlling each module of your production facility, or if you have cells without PLCs, start with a monitoring PLC. Do not let anyone sway you to a cheaper data acquisition solution built around dedicated printed circuit boards because maintenance will be a horror show. There are hundreds of local programmers and system integrators that can service your PLC, but only one that can service a dedicated PCB solution. Plus, a low-end Siemens PLC data system can be installed for $5k-$10k and can control new additions to your production cell and gradually replace your rapidly aging control system with no downtime. 

Getting the data correct at the foundational level is how you begin to build a long-lasting data plan. This is a big concept that’s important to grasp early in the process. For example, you may have processes where it’s not possible to get your data to the cloud and back in time to take actions that reduce scrap. Or, to comply with ISO, you may need to provide disposition data to sell your products. Any disruption to your internal network, cloud network, or even the internet can increase scrap and possibly shut down your line. So, critical data that can affect a line’s production in a negative way should always be saved in a local PC-based SCADA system (AVEVA/Wonderware, Inductive Automation, etc.). Then, take some time to analyze the data with tools that you already have and figure out what data will give you the most return on investment before you talk to Cloud/AI data software vendors. 

Please take your time and do the research, or, better yet, hire an automation consultant to guide you. Software salespeople will promise you the world to get yearly recurring revenue, and they can give you what they promise, but they can only do it if your data foundation is solid first.  Please do not waste your financial resources testing the waters without guidance. 

When done right, improving data acquisition and control is exciting and rewarding. It’s also an ongoing process that can continually produce efficiencies when you put at least half of the ROI revenue gained back into more data acquisition and analysis. Contact me and I’ll show you how to get started.

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