Big Data has been one of the hyped topics in the IT field for some time. But what’s the situation in automation infrastructures? Is the handling of large amounts of data also becoming more significant in the industrial production environment?
In the recommendations for implementing Smart Factory, Big Data is named as one of the future technology requirements. But where are we now? Handling data amounts in petabyte dimensions is currently the exception in production. However, today there are already application scenarios that lead us towards very large amounts of data.
Typical Status Quo
When archiving production data, choices are made selectively in relation to which data is saved. Some data is automatically deleted again after certain time periods. With applications such as Energy Management, for example, a multitude of data points are often archived, but generally with a very rough granularity, which in turn keeps the amount of data low. In HMI applications, machine-orientated data is often saved at the panel directly and, at least in part, exported to central archives or databases.
With Big Data in manufacturing, all relevant data in relation to the complete life cycle of a machine or plant can be saved. Based on this data, completely new possibilities for analysis arise. The operators of machines and equipment (manufacturing companies) can work with the data from their entire production estate. The machine and equipment manufacturers have data from a number of the same machines available for their evaluations.
The Benefit of Big Data
Manufacturing companies can uncover unexploited potential in equipment efficiency and effectiveness as well as quality management with Big Data analyses, which in turn increases the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Another advantage is that it allows predictive maintenance. Optimized maintenance management has a positive effect on production costs and overall equipment effectiveness.
Machine and equipment manufacturers can also gain additional valuable findings in relation to improvements in construction using Big Data analyses which can, for example, consequently increase the manufacturing capacity and energy efficiency at the same time.
Big Data with zenon
zenon already offers possibilities for handling very large amounts of data. Data security, the rapid evaluation of data and ergonomic handling are the main focus. Users can freely choose whether they operate zenon purely on-premises or scale it with enhancements to the cloud. With the newest zenon version, zenon can be seamlessly integrated with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
In addition, we are working in both Product Management and Research & Development to make zenon even better at handling ever-larger amounts of data.