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From Floor to Cloud, Why You Should Care About Data

Industry 4.0, Internet of things, Digital Transformation; what is all this about and what could it do for me?

When I face a new platform, or a new software; the first question comes to mind is:

“How could that solve my problems, and where can I use that application?”.

It is all about the application and not how cool or catchy the software is.

Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things are not new concepts. These have been around for decades but under different names.

But if IIoT is not a new concept so what makes it so special now, and what could it do for me and why should I care.

In my opinion it all translates into one word, “DATA”.

In 1960s, you needed the whole floor of a building or even more to do what a tiny little PC sitting on your desk is doing today. In 1995, I had a PC with 80MB hard drive, and I was happy with it and I had extra space on it.

Now I have a server-based motherboard with multi core CPU, few virtual machines running on top and 10 TB network storage attached to it and I still think that is not enough.

So what has changed?

Faster, multi core, low wattage CPUs and smaller but higher capacity solid state drives created an opportunity to collect tons of data on a tiny Edge PC and even run machine learning algorithm on top.

With the addition of the cloud either public or private, now you can collect as much data as needed and save it for further analysis without worrying about running out of room on your data server on premises.

Collecting data on the cloud is not cheap but the value it brings on the table outweighs the costs.

So what could I do with Data or better ask what could Data do for me?

Optimizing performance of your machine on the floor, increasing efficiency, lowering downtime, increasing quality of the product, increasing safety of the machines and personnel, and much more are all achievable by using DATA.

Increasing efficiency is not always about increasing number of parts coming out of the machine. It all depends on the type of the machine and application. Efficiency could be predicting faults before happening and take an action either manually or automatically.

Efficiency could be faster recovery from a downtime.

Efficiency could be slowing down the line when specific faults happen to help recovery and avoid stopping the line.

Efficiency could be comparing the current flow rate, temperature, and speed with previous batches running the same product and alert the operator if there is any abnormality.

Efficiency could be applying new program changes and new control loop tuning in a simulated environment before applying it to the real machine.

Efficiency could be training operators remotely on a simulated machine.

The question is what efficiency means to your application and whether you are collecting data that could be used for analysis and optimization.

Those days of collecting data by hand and using spreadsheet is over. Days of collecting data because your customer asked for it is over. Days of ignoring data not caring about it is over.

If you want to be ahead of the competition, act today.

Look at few of the machines on your shop floor and check how many of them are collecting useful data that you can use for further analysis and troubleshooting, how much of data gives insight that you can share with your customer.

DATA is gold. Use it properly and impress your customers and stakeholders.

There is much to talk and much to discuss about Industrial Internet of Things.

I have a moto that says: “A good engineer is not the one who knows all the answers but the one who knows where and how to find the right answer.”

I have started this blog to share what I know and learned through my years of experience working in different industries and doing projects around the world.

I will cover topics from Industrial Automation including PLC, SCADA, and Drive systems.

I will talk about IIoT, Iot platforms, Edge Computing, and how to collect and use Data.

I will share experts’ opinions on digital transformation, and smart factory.

I will do my best to help you find answers to your questions and leave every blog with a takeaway that could help you with your existing projects or a takeaway that excites you to start a new project, or a takeaway that ignites your curiosity to seek more.

But I won’t be able to do this alone and I will need your help.

I need your help with leaving feedback, letting me know what you think, what you know, what you do.

I am not here to teach, I am here to share, I am here to learn.

Please subscribe to this blog and join me on my journey through the exciting topic of Industrial Internet of Things and let’s figure out together how we can use DATA in our own benefit.

Ben Rad


Sigma Process

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