The main purpose of a historian and trending solution is to supply information that will help you understand and improve your processes. Here are a few questions that your trending tools should answer.
1. How Is My Process Really Working?
You may think you know how your process is working, but without data confirmation your process could be functioning differently from your expectations. After implementing a trending solution we often get the following response from clients:
I am starting to understand what is really happening in my process based on what the data is telling me, not how I thought it was working. - Client
2. How Can We Improve Quality?
Understanding how your process is working can help you know what variables to change to improve quality. When you make changes you can use the data to compare results. Keep the changes that improve quality and record the ones that don't.
3. When Should We Perform Maintenance?
When you understand your process and how the equipment should be running, you can begin to see anomalies in the data that may point toward future failure of your equipment. You can begin to learn when you should replace your equipment by looking at the data. You could also use the data to learn how long your equipment has been in use if you desire to replace it at determined intervals.
4. Why Did My Equipment Break?
Sometimes things go wrong and equipment breaks. Was it an operator error or an equipment failure? What caused the failure? By looking at the data you can determine if operators are running the equipment properly or if other conditions occurred that led to the failure. By understanding why things are breaking, you can put procedures in place to prevent future failures.
5. How Can We Improve Efficiency?
Performing maintenance and putting procedures in place to prevent equipment failures will help you keep your operations running and prevent down-time. By understanding how your processes are working, you can also start changing processes to improve them at their weak points.