Big Data, Big Buzz


Source: IBM

Big Data, BIG DATA, bIg daTa, big data, big datA. How much noise around these buzzy words! There’s no conference, meeting, presentation without a special mention to Big Data, Cloud and Mobility. You can bet on which slide number will be dedicated to these topics and on which one will be mentioned first. Despite the big buzz around big data there’s a strong reason in talking of it. In the last twenty years, with the advent of Internet and mobile communication the quantity of information collected in various formats in the world has grown incredibly. The trend affected the manufacturing environment a little slower but with no escape. There are still some plants and companies not collecting process or production data with an Historian tool, but the majority has already discovered the power of knowledge based on real and consistent data versus the uncertainty of knowledge based on feeling. Collecting data from different sources and for a pretty long period of time creates a really BIG amount of DATA. This is an unbelievable source of potential information if the right tools are used to elaborate and correlate the data giving them a context and transforming them from data to information to be used to take informed decisions. The only availability of information creates a competitive advantage and the opportunity to improve both the production process and processes in the operations. The availability of tools that can aggregate and elaborate data in real time generating real time information gives the users even the advantage of knowing things early enough to correct them (if needed) before the worst happens. We recently developed a project to collect real time data from several packaging lines and display them on big screens so that all the operators were informed in real time on how production was going with respect to targets and in correlation to production events. The availability of this kind of information gave the client the possibility to tune both the process and the targets, that were before just calculated theoretically, and achieve in a few months a 15% increase in efficiency. This is an example involving pretty small big data, but nevertheless provides the idea of the power that is inside the information we can generate working correctly on BIG DATA.

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