Product update: new features and an API for Factry Historian

Jeroen Coussement on , updated

With industrial businesses all over the world ramping up their digital transformation journey, 2021 has already been an exciting year for Factry’s process historian. What’s next in the development of our core product? Discover the features that are currently in the pipeline.

Using a historian for energy monitoring

New features for Factry Historian

The process historian has always been and will remain a massive priority in our product development strategy. Further development will therefore continue to focus on its core functionalities: collecting, storing and visualising industrial data with maximum accuracy. Yet as technology never stops, some exciting new features are being developed as we speak.

Let’s take a look at what is in the pipeline for 2021.

1. Ability to add context to time series data

Clients often ask whether it is possible to approach data within the context of discrete events happening during production. Doing this, usually requires an MES platform on top of the historian, which they often do not require at the onset. What they do need is to be able to add some additional context to their data. That is what we are about to deliver on.

Let’s take this simple example:

You run a cookie factory. Your gut feeling says that one cookie takes more energy per kg to produce than the other one. The bet is on. Yet there is no way to settle it when only measuring energy use in relation to time, as it is not certain which cookie was manufactured when. On top of that, there are periods in which a production line is down due to maintenance or cleaning.

To solve this question, we are currently developing a contextualisation module, which can, for example, align discrete events on top of a continuous time series. Whenever a new batch of cookies enters the production process, the historian will be able to save the starting and ending time of production and e.g. save the average temperature as a new record.

Higher traceability, better reporting

Adding this feature will bring significant value to our clients through improving traceability of product batches in case of a customer complaint or production issue. By typing in a batch number, they will now obtain a more detailed context to perform root cause analysis. This will also widen the scope of the reporting process through the historian’s dashboards.

Software code

2. Support for older industry protocols

OPC-UA is considered the standard protocol in the industry for open connectivity of automation systems and devices. However, we do see that many of our clients are still using legacy systems or equipment designed for older protocols. In those cases, the standard procedure was to add some additional software in between the historian and the specific system or device.

This does the trick, but was in some use cases easier said than done. For that reason, we are expanding our portfolio of supported connections with older industry protocols such as OPC-DA and Modbus. By doing so, additional software will no longer be needed to connect older systems, which further simplifies the implementation process and saves time.

vintage industrial machine

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3. New Factry Historian Developer API

In the open source spirit, we want to give clients maximum freedom to tie any type of process data to their historians. That is why we are currently building a developer API that will enable clients to easily build custom collectors on their own. Whenever our clients encounter a data source that has no standard protocol, the developer API will help them move faster than ever.

Having a documented API, or even a library, firmly reduces the need for our team to intervene in case of needing to add custom collectors to the historian, as clients will have more flexibility and freedom than ever to experiment themselves. In case they need support, we are there to help. We believe this will further strengthen the power of the historian as a stand-alone product.

industrial software code

Get updates on launches and new developments

These new features are just an anthology of the many new historian developments that are yet to follow. By continuously listening to our clients, and looking at Industry 4.0 through their eyes, we are committed to keep developing even more effective software tailored to their needs. Stay in the loop of future developments of Factry Historian. Join our newsletter list and get updates delivered to your mailbox.

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