New Service provided by Process Data Insights LLC- Low Cost Portable Sensing and Data Collection Toolkit Enables Advanced Analytics

Filip Mulier Chief Science Officer, Process Data Insights, LLC ♦ Data Science

One of the challenges of applying advanced analytics and machine learning to manufacturing processes is quickly obtaining the right data. In many cases maximum knowledge has already been wrung out of existing sensors and process data, and so new measurement capabilities are required to make substantial improvements.

For large manufacturers adding new measurement and data collection infrastructure to an existing line takes time and is expensive, and there is no guarantee that the investment will be worthwhile.

For small manufacturers extensive data collection infrastructure may be cost-prohibitive, which limits their ability to get the insights and benefits that advanced analytics can offer.

Solution – Portable Sensing and Data Collection

We can provide a solution — a portable and highly configurable sensing and data collection system. By leveraging our IOT toolkit it is possible to quickly set up temporary sensing and data collection without impacting the existing manufacturing system. This allows our clients the financial & operational agility to find new meaning from their processes, with minimal or no disruption.

This solution takes advantage of three emerging technologies:

  1. Low cost, low power edge compute resources used for internet of things applications.
  2. Inexpensive Integrated Circuit (IC) sensors driven by smartphone, wearables, drones, and other consumer electronics.
  3. Low cost and rapid prototyping capabilities of additive manufacturing (3D printing).

Benefits for our Clients

  • Enable advanced analytics – For small manufacturers this approach will enable advanced analytics and machine learning at a smaller scale.
  • Low cost sensor validation – Ability to validate the utility of new sensors and measurements before investing heavily in permanent infrastructure.
  • Quickly collect new process data – Ability to collect data on a trials/experimental basis even when appropriate sensors or data is not readily available.
  • Accelerate innovation – We can improve our client’s ability to innovate by increasing learning speed and reducing learning cost.

Details of the Solution

  • Our toolkit is compatible with many different low cost IC-based sensors available today.
  • Using wireless IOT technology and battery operation allows temporary installation of a number of sensors at different places on manufacturing equipment.
  • Our portable data receiver and Linux mini-SCADA produces timestamped data files in variety of formats or can publish to MQTT brokers.
  • We can quickly configure and customize the hardware, software, and mechanical to meet individual client needs.
  • We can quickly design and produce temporary enclosures for low cost IC sensors or handle unique usage requirements.
  • Due to low cost, sensing units are disposable and can be sacrificed in the data collection process.

Toolbox Components

Low Cost Sensors Available

  • Process Data Insights, LLC has prototypes of distance (sonar & laser time of flight), velocity (optical flow), temperature, Inertial Measurement(Vibration, Acceleration)
  • Have capabilities to leverage additional sensors as needed.

Customized Enclosures

Using our approach we can quickly create custom designed enclosures and sensor fixtures using low cost 3D printing. For example one of our designs has a magnetic back to allow easy attachment to steel equipment and IMU sensor for acceleration measurements.

Example Data (Vibration)

This is an example of vibration data collected by an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). It shows acceleration experienced in X, Y, and Z directions. The sample rate is 200Hz. The top graph shows the vibration signal and the lower graphs shows detail at the onset of the vibration and the decay of vibration. The data is manipulated using Python and the graphs are generated using pandas and plotly libraries.

Example Advanced Analytics – FFT Analysis

Spectrum (FFT) analysis of process data provides a useful view of the vibration data. Here is a basic example of what is possible. In this case the analysis shows a definite peak magnitude at a frequency of 50Hz. This information can help identify the source of the vibration from rotating machinery.

Our Data Collection and Analysis Process

  1. Collaborate with our client to document the business case for process improvement through and opportunity for advanced analytics and machine learning.
  2. Work with the client to identify sensor needs and rapidly design and print any customized components.
  3. Conduct the data collection run and provide the data. If needed we may initially do a dry run of the data collection in place to confirm we are in position to collect the data appropriately.
  4. Leverage the data for advanced analytics and machine learning to achieve business objectives.
  5. Articulate key points learned, refine solution, and repeat until process improvement goals are reached

For More Information:

Contact: Process Data Insights, LLC

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