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Big data will drive the industrial internet

Thor Olavsrud | June 24, 2013
While most big data headlines focus on sentiment analysis and other marketing activities, multinational conglomerate GE sees a future in which machine-to-machine communication and big data analytics spur a wave of innovation on par with the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Revolution.

GE Unveils Industrial Big Data Management and Analytics Suite
This week, GE Intelligent Platforms took a step toward realizing the company's vision of the industrial Internet with the release of its new Proficy Monitoring & Analysis software suite, an integrated solution for industrial big data management and analytics.

GE says the suite can be used remotely to monitor one plant or all of a company's global operations, providing information to increase equipment availability, reduce unplanned downtime, improve yield, reduce variability and reduce maintenance costs and inventory.

The six-product suite consists of four current products and two new products:

  • Proficy Historian, GE's flagship data collection software.
  • Proficy Historian Analysis, for data mining and visualization.
  • Proficy SmartSignal, for predictive analytics for condition-based monitoring.
  • Proficy CSense, for troubleshooting process problems, monitoring process health and creating close loop process optimization.
  • Proficy Historian HD, a new product that allows storage of massively large data sets in a Hadoop cluster.
  • Proficy Knowledge Center, a new console that ties the solution together with process visibility, asset health assessment and process optimization.

Brian Courtney, general manager of GE Intelligent Platforms' Industrial Data Intelligence Software group, says that Proficy Historian HD is the first solution to combine industrial time-series data and analytics with elastic capacity creating a big data solution built on Hadoop that can reduce data storage costs by as much as 85 percent. This, he says, is the first step toward realizing GE's vision for the industrial Internet.

"GE manages 5 TB of new time-series data per day," Courtney says. "Our experience in big data and analytics that maximize equipment and process performance mitigates the risk for other companies. We use the software ourselves in our own Monitoring & Diagnostics centers to manage trillions of dollars in asset value. Today, in the GE Industrial Performance and Reliability Center, GE engineers monitor thousands of mission critical assets for our customers to ensure uptime, asset reliability overall production throughput."

Proficy Knowledge Center, on the other hand, is a model-driven, browser-based visualization application that tightly couples an asset data model with historical time-series data. This supports unified views of process health and equipment health for increasing productivity and decision making.

Improving Process Health Translates to Bottom Line Savings
Courtney says that the first thing the suite helps customers do is understand their asset health. The system learns the normal behaviors and patterns of the equipment and is then capable of spotting any deviation from expected output—a good sign that something is wrong. Operators can then use the suite to troubleshoot problems before a minor problem becomes a major one.

Once the asset health is understood, the suite is designed help companies dig deeper into their process health—identifying unknown correlations in process variables that lead to suboptimal performance. This, in turn, allows companies to run equipment closer to maximum capability without overtaxing the system.


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