Industry 4.0 Glossary

What Is A Data Historian?

A data historian is a software that enables the logging of production data from processes that are executed in a manufacturing system. It creates efficiency to storage and timely retrieval of the stored information.

Today, manufacturers are looking for ways to unlock the hidden potential of intelligence lying dormant within the volumes of data generated by a manufacturing environment. With data historians, manufacturers can evolve from simply having data to drawing actionable insights to improve operational efficiency and reduce waste.

Time Series Databases

A time-series database (TSDB) is built for storing and retrieving time series data. Data stored in these databases are logged with appropriate time stamps. This makes data handling activities like tracking and monitoring quick and effortless.

When TSDBs were first introduced they were primarily used only for handling financial data relating mostly to volatility of stock trading. Today however, TSDBs find their application across various industries.

Manufacturers use the time-series data historian as the standard method of recording process data. Data stored here is identified with a tag name. The values can be stored either as a numeric or string data type. However, the downside is that tags may not always provide sufficient context to the data. This may require an additional database to associate the data with its attributes. Also, the task of trying to align data from multiple sources to a single unit of information can be a challenge.

Operational Historians

There is a constant upheaval across industries with the increasing utilization of rapidly proliferating sensor technology along with disruptive forces like IoT, ML and big data. As more digital assets, systems and devices are going online, there is a tremendous upsurge in data that is collected and transmitted. Operational historian combines the power of historian software with time-series data to deliver higher data fidelity, integrity and faster retrieval to harness the intelligence from such emerging technology.

Benefits Of Enterprise Data Historian

Enterprise data historians allow business and administration to access process data to use them in making informed business decisions that will lead to operational excellence. As the volume of data produced continues to increase, it becomes imperative for manufacturers to draw insights from data to maximize value of production by improving efficiency of operations.

There are several benefits of enterprise data historians when it comes to optimizing operations and productivity in manufacturing processes. A few advantages of employing enterprise data historians are:

Better Data Accessibility

Enterprise data historians can make data from a number of sources and systems available in a secured fashion. It allows multiple enterprise systems to access data from the production environment without having to gather separate streams of data for different applications. Enterprise data historians use standards like object linking and embedding for process control (OPC), which enables a consistent method of accessing data across devices.

Quicker Response Time

Enterprise data historians are faster than relational databases in performing read/write operations when it comes to real-time data.

Cost Efficiency

Enterprise historians use powerful data compression algorithms that facilitate storage of large volumes of data securely online for much longer periods of time compared to relational databases. It helps improve performance and reduce maintenance costs involved. By allowing multiple disparate enterprise systems like MRP, ERP, and SCM fetch data from a common pool of production data, it reduces expensive integration and potential data loss thus incurred.