The Process Historian for Small and Midsize Businesses
Yves Bourgeois on 2018-06-12
The principle behind the founding of Factry was to make the power and efficacy of the Process Historian non-exclusive to multinational corporations, and to make it accessible for small and midsize businesses as well. In this article, we will outline why the time is ripe to bring the new Industrial Revolution to these businesses, and how the Factry Process Historian will be the solid foundation on which our customers will be propelled into the future.
Process historians have existed since the eighties, and have proven their value and usability time and again in big industries ever since. Oil and Gas, Chemical and Petrochemical, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences - they all have been reaping benefits from the insights that are delivered by Process Historians. Over the years, the Process Historian has grown from plant level to Enterprise level, which provided a whole new level of data analytics. It not only became important for every production engineer involved, but also provided insights for managers and the like.
Key in the above paragraph is the term big industries, and this is where the process historian vendors of old have been flocking to. Huge investments, pay-per-tag, and high-cost maintenance of proprietary systems have made the Process Historian a synonym for very, very expensive, and thus unobtainable for small businesses. But these times they are a-changin’.
In the last ten to fifteen years, automation within manufacturing has become less and less exclusive to large businesses; automation has seeped in the world of smaller businesses as well. An automated packaging line has become a commodity even in companies that comprise out of only a single production line, and automation can be found within the production line as well. This has resulted in manufacturing processes with a higher throughput and a higher level of quality – well worth the investment in an automation project, as the return of investment was as sure as if it were set in stone.
With the introduction of automation, comes the need for CI, or Continuous Improvement. This too applies to small businesses: once the automation process has been put in place, the want to monitor, iterate and improve this process will become a necessity by itself, and the return of investment will be clear here as well. The use of a Process Historian even plays a central role in the continuous improvement process, but until now the cost of setting one up, maintaining the infrastructure and the licence fees alone have surpassed the virtual benefits CI could have on the production process for these small businesses. But this notion has become a fallacy in itself.
We at Factry have combined our many years of experience in the industrial field with the technological revolution that has been happening these last years. By using Open Source software, lightning fast fiber-optic networks, and an interconnected world moving towards the Cloud, we can offer a full-fledged Historian without the need for expensive licenses and costly IT infrastructure. This allowed us to develop the Factry Process Historian that is not only affordable, but more so incredibly compelling for small to midsize businesses.
And we do not only incorporate the technological revolution in our solution: we are in fact bringing the design principles of the next Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, to our customers as well. Your historian data will be available from any device connected to the internet - Interoperability, as it will allow you to match it with contextual data automatically - Information Transparency, and it will enable you to make decisions and receive alerts in real-time - the principle of Technical Assistance.
At Factry, we promote the idea that small to midsize businesses can benefit as much from the next Industrial Revolution as the billion-dollar corporations do. Therefore, we see the Factry Process Historian as a solid base on which we can construct more advanced features and functionalities.
The next steps to take will therefore be exciting ones as well. Real-time efficiency monitoring through the Process Historian data and predictive models using Artificial Intelligence will provide the necessary tools which will help our customers to improve their quality of product, improve their throughput, and therefore truly improve their position in the market.