What Do I Do with the Data?!

Jeremy Drury, IoT Diagnostics


This is the crux of the Internet of Reliability. In preparing for the onslaught of new information entering your reliability operations, you may realize that you do not have the staff to keep up. Learn how to maximize the power and effectiveness of critical data to keep you ahead and focused on what matters.

What to Do with All the Data

Welcome back to Noria’s new web series called “The Internet of Reliability.” I’m your host, Jeremy Drury with IoT Diagnostics, and we’re here to help guide you into a data-driven, internet-connected reliability operation.

I’ve got good news. We are rounding third in this video series. We’ve gone high level, mid-level and gotten into the weeds, but the one thing we haven’t talked about a lot and perhaps the most important part of this series is what you do with all the data. How do you manage everything? How do you manage all the new information that’s coming your way? If you will stay with me on this video, we have some answers on exactly how to do that.

Understanding the Sheer Quantity of Data

You’ve heard me say before in a previous video that we’ve been leveraging and using sensor data and quantitative information for almost a decade to help manage our reliability operation. The difference with this migration into Industry 4.0 is the sheer quantity of data that’s coming into our organization. When everything gets connected, it’s as if the spigot is turned on and information is coming into the organization at full throttle. Everything is ratcheted up, and that becomes a problem, because most of us will not be getting a whole lot of new staff, if any staff, to help us understand and navigate all of this.

Hopefully, you will be spending less time on the machines and more time looking at the data to accurately assess the machines to then serve them when they need to be served. Where this falls down is if you are spending more time getting into your data and don’t even have the time to deal with the ongoing maintenance and service of your equipment. So, we’ve got to find that right balance.

2 Data Lenses

I want to talk about two different lenses of data and the power of data for you. There are two different ways to look at data. On one side, I want to show you the sheer power of a single data point. On the other side, I want to show you the powerlessness of data. Let’s start with the second one.

Someone once told me that if you are just staring at the data, you’re only admiring the problem. It’s fun to look at trend charts and visuals, but in and of itself it’s not solving any problems for you because data is a shovel not a solution. You need to dig into the information to make sense of it and base your decisions on the information that you’re provided. It’s never a good idea to just measure and monitor everything if you can’t determine what is most important to your organization from the data side.

This brings me to the second point, which I’m going to spend quite a bit more time on to help you understand what you can get with a single data point. I look at things as center-stage data and behind-the-scenes data. Center-stage data looks at critical levers of certain processes or assets from which you can make immediate, comparative decisions. Behind-the-scenes data is the ongoing, day-to-day operations that help to supplant the inferences you are making, but they don’t have quite the power to show you deep inside your operations.

A Case Study

Throughout this series we’ve talked a lot about hydraulic pumps, so let’s continue that narrative. Manufacturers often recommend that a hydraulic pump needs to be operating at an 85 percent volumetric efficiency. What does this mean? If you think about a pump, it has planned leakage. As the pump moves, fluid needs to pump through there to keep everything running. Some fluid is always bypassed through the case drain. This is a good telltale example to understand how healthy or efficient a pump could be by monitoring the fluid that’s coming out.

However, you can measure many things when it comes to a pump, such as temperature, pressure, vibration, etc. But what if you just measured volumetric efficiency? If you look for the right IoT platform providers, you can find an opportunity to get a more macro telling of an asset’s health. If you know the manufacturer recommends an 85 percent volumetric efficiency and have the ability to know in real time that you were at a 78 percent volumetric efficiency, that signals inefficiency in your process immediately. Even that, in and of itself, is a gold mine in the mass data swell that you are going to be experiencing inside the internet of things.

The Power of a Single Data Point

I want to show you the power that continues to ripple out from a single data point. In fact, I’ll show you five ways that this single data point continues to build out into your organization. Let’s use the same case scenario. We see a 78 percent volumetric efficiency at the asset. This tells me right there on the shop floor that my asset is operating less efficiently than it should be. That is going to trigger the first ripple. I need to make a decision about this. I’m going to call maintenance. Someone from maintenance is going to come and assess the situation. Why is this pump operating below efficiency? Does it involve varnish, some sort of material breakdown or lack of filtration? So, maintenance is going to diagnose the problem. We’ve gone from the asset to the maintenance of it. Now, let’s look at it from the operations side of it.

How does this pump compare to all the other pumps that I would have inside my production operation, specifically at that site? Is this a common problem? Do I find that all of my pumps are operating below efficiency or maybe just some? What is driving that factor of inefficiency? Does it have to do with the application, the age, the operation or the time of day? There are all sorts of inferences that the operations department can now make about how to do production most optimally inside the shop floor.

Let’s go a fourth step beyond that and get into the corporate side. Say you are a multinational production company with operations all around the world. When you get to the chief operating officer (COO) level and understand the efficiency of your production operations, you can begin to ask questions like why one region is producing more efficiently than another one. Or, are there ways to leverage how you’re doing operations in the United States to understand how you can improve efficiencies in Europe? Now, we’re making corporate decisions based on that single data point.

The last piece of this is that your suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can now leverage this data to understand if they are delivering the right filtration or lubrication equipment at the best time. Even the pump manufacturer can leverage this data to make better equipment for you moving forward. So, a single data point has rippled out five ways across an organization. Again, if someone just wants to talk about trend charts, they’ve missed the mark because the right data point can solve all these problems in very little time.

Maintaining Control of the Data

The last thing I want to talk about is your control over the data. I encourage you to maintain control from the beginning. What do I mean by that? How do you want your data displayed? Do you want your data going into a local programmable logic controller (PLC)? Do you want it visually on a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)? Do you want to get into the network side? Do you want it on your smart devices or on your desktop computers? What kind of frequency do you want? There are IoT platform providers who can text you every 60 seconds when there is an alarm trip. That may not be the right situation for you.

Perhaps you only want the information every two or three weeks or are just trying to track changes in your operations. This not only can help you develop your return on investment (ROI) business cases for how you use these levers of information, but it also will put you in the driver’s seat when you sit down with your IoT platform providers and partners to let them know, “Here’s how I want to run my operations. Can you plug into the way that I’m looking to do this?”

In summary, find the right information, the center-stage data, that you’re looking for and use it on your displays to drive your most important operations. Then, take a stand on how you want to receive your notifications and information to do something about the data you are digging into.

Thank you for joining me today. Again, this is Noria’s new web series called “The Internet of Reliability.” I’m your host, Jeremy Drury. It’s been great talking to you

About the Author

Jeremy Drury is the vice president of IoT Diagnostics. He is focused on connecting prediction to production with the industrial internet of things. As a veteran of the manufacturing industry, Jeremy has spearheaded product development initiatives and go-to-market strategies in more than 80 cou...