Collect useful information

Many companies suffer from inefficiencies with their manufacturing control systems because they do not have adequate production information about their process from which to improve operations. They do not know where process changes need to be made to positively impact production efficiencies and product quality.


Many companies suffer from inefficiencies with their manufacturing control systems because they do not have adequate production information about their process from which to improve operations. They do not know where process changes need to be made to positively impact production efficiencies and product quality. Therefore, detailed information about their production process, how their control system is functioning, how asset health and human resources are impacting production efficiencies, and product quality are complete unknowns. MES (manufacturing execution system) level applications can address these issues, leading to higher production efficiencies, with less downtime, while improving product quality. All of these factors impact the bottom line performance of a company.

Data by itself is useless

Quite a few companies are doing a good job of collecting manufacturing data and archiving it into a database; however, they are not analyzing the data properly to extract the useful information contained in it. Analysis of the data is the key!

Sometimes this is as simple as a trend chart to monitor a critical process parameter (e.g. temperature), and watch for deviations from the expected norm. Often, analysis is much more demanding. You may need to look at the same variable collected during different production runs. Here you want to move away from the traditional time based trend and overlay the same variable from different production runs on the same trend chart. Then we can begin to focus on consistent production performance and product quality.

Leveraging process data

Information extracted from analysis of the data can be distilled down to key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are the critical process/business parameters your operations team needs to focus on to improve operating performance. The key is to identify the proper KPIs for your situation, collect and analyze the necessary data, and generate the KPI values to share throughout the organization. This allows everyone to focus on improving their performance using these real-time metrics.

Complex calculations are often required on the available data in order to produce meaningful KPIs. Data may reside in many locations (DCS, maintenance systems, ODBC databases, ERP systems, etc.). You must be able to retrieve the data from all sources to perform the KPI calculations. Some examples of KPIs that can be utilized to drive bottom line performance are: actual Yield per Batch or production run; daily yield; total energy used per batch; energy used per shift, day, week, month; percent of first time quality; Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE); downtime summaries with reason codes; operator performance; percent of idle time and reason codes; and setup change times.

Step by step approach

Here is an outline for improving your business performance by leveraging process data collected from your production operations:

  1. Identify required KPIs to drive bottom line performance.

  2. Collect the required raw data from various data sources around your plant (DCS, ODBC databases, ERP, etc.).

  3. Perform analyses identifying problem areas on which personnel can focus.

  4. Calculate KPIs from all data sources.

  5. Present KPIs to personnel who can drive operational performance.

  6. Make it easy for all personnel to generate reports based on their own informational needs.

  7. Take action on the results.

  8. Measure results of your actions.

The key is not just to collect data. The key is to extract useful information contained in the data to improve your business and operations profitability.

Bob Vavra, writer for MESA International. Siemens Energy & Automation contributed to this report, which can be found at the MESA Website, .

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Controller programming; Safety networks; Enclosure design; Power quality; Safety integrity levels; Increasing process efficiency
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me