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Making best use of all your data

22 October 2017

David Wilkinson explains how food manufacturers can use their operational data in to manage energy consumption more effectively. 

Energy consumption is a serious issue for food processors. Current legislation is aimed at reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by 2050 have resulted in pressure being put on industry to be accountable for energy consumption and organisations being obliged to share their energy usage data with third-party companies in order to prove compliance. Those that fail to do so can run the risk of significant penalties.

The majority of organisations recognise that, instead of just storing data, they should be thoroughly analysing it to reveal hidden insights to allow for improved decision making and enabling the prediction and prevention of disruptive incidents and unexpected process downtimes.

So, what can organisations do to ensure data is being analysed in the most effective manner? It is important to make full use of operational data and an Industrial Information Management (IIM) solution can help achieve this goal.

It is estimated that more than two quintillion bytes of data are currently being generated worldwide every day, as a result of the levels of connectivity which have been made possible by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). So, there is plenty of information available to unearth previously hidden insights into areas of industrial environments that might otherwise have been overlooked. Doing this also enables operational improvement decisions to be made with greater confidence. 

An IIM solution can assist by providing access to both real-time and historical data from multiple sources, allowing operational data to be contextualised, transformed into actionable insights and delivered to an operators desktop or mobile device instantly – even across multiple sites – and enabling metrics such as energy usage to be monitored at the touch of a button.

By taking steps to help organisations identify key operational trends by allowing more data to be received from more sources, an IIM solution also enables operators to address any issues quickly, pinpointing and troubleshooting problems before they escalate and ensuring they don’t recur by using historical information to facilitate continuous improvements. As a result, the IIM solution also makes it easier to fully understand how and where energy is being used, as well as what changes need to be made in order to improve energy efficiency.

An IIM solution also helps to improve an organisation’s ability to track downtime, as the current state of any device or asset can be viewed at any time which, in turn, enables better predictive maintenance and helps businesses to know what their equipment is going to do before it does it – from a major shutdown to a single security camera that is preparing to go offline.

Because IIMs are cloud-based solutions, utilising one will also help to close the IT/OT gap, reducing the burden on the IT department by allowing data to be stored securely and accessed quickly, easily and remotely, regardless of geographical constraints.

David Wilkinson is the managed platform product manager at SolutionsPT.


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