How the IIoT Turns Big Data into Wisdom

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When discussing leveraging the IIoT in food and beverage manufacturing, it’s important to note that we’re not typically referring to a completely new implementation. Most food and beverage companies have already invested in automation and data acquisition systems in their facilities and with the cost of sensors falling every day, manufacturers have access to more industrial data than ever before. However, without context and analytics behind that industrial big data, there is little value in moving the data beyond the control network. This blog will explore how digital transformation allows food and beverage companies to transform their data into insights for optimized operations, improved efficiency and lower cost.

From Data to Wisdom

Food and beverage companies are often capturing a large volume of industrial data. However, that data is then processed in individual silos. For instance, a photocell on a line may capture an individual can, which is a piece of data. Examined in isolation, that data does not tell us anything useful.

Using sensors along the line, multiple data points can be captured and extrapolated into information about the production status of the line. Information is more useful, as it provides a complete and contextualized picture. Information allows you to answer the question “What happened?”. Even better is knowledge, where drill-down metrics and advanced analytics provide insight into how the line is running, why the line might have stopped, and what operators should do to prevent further stoppages. Knowledge enables operators to move from “What happened?” to “What is happening?” and “What will happen?”

Take advantage of your big data with digital transformation

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Wisdom is the level above that, at the intersection of big data, the IIoT and technologies like machine learning. Wisdom leverages these technologies to understand causation and derive insights from big data to optimize your operations. This enables operators to move from “what is happening?” and “what will happen?” to “what should we do?”. For instance, an operator might intuitively assume that the best way to increase production is to speed up operations. However, in actuality that approach might lead to more unscheduled downtime, more complications and lower average speed. Wisdom is the ability to examine the data, understand it and bring experience and learning to bear on the issue. This optimizes processes and brings closed loop operational efficiency to the entire enterprise.

Digital Transformation in Action

Wherever businesses are on the big data maturity curve, digital transformation enables them to take the next step. The benefits that we are seeing from digital transformation in food and beverage customers are significant – one customers reported a 25% increase in production by increasing their asset reliability. Other benefits reported include a 25% decrease in waste through quality statistical process control and a 30% decrease in total cost of ownership for customers with multi-site deployments.

An early step in implementing digital transformation such as monitoring energy and utility costs can lead to immediate impact. For an example, Namibia Breweries implemented a Schneider Electric information management system to consolidate utilities monitoring. This implementation allows users to view utility consumption and production data from anywhere in the plant. The solution also provides daily, weekly and monthly reports on utility consumption and KPI targets. This improved operational visibility has allowed Namibia to meet their CO2 emissions target and reduce electricity costs.

If you’re interested in learning more about digital transformation in food and beverage, join us in San Antonio from October 2-5 at Innovation Summit: Software Conference to see the latest in digital transformation.


Is your company leveraging their big data? If so, how? Let us know in the comments!

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