Data is the gold of the 21st century.
Collecting, archiving and analyzing different datasets on a smart platform is no longer optional. Known as a historian, data historian or process historian, we take a look at what it can do for you.

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Saving data related to the operation of a process and its environment is of course essential for post-event analysis and for optimizing plant operations. Space requirements to store this data can be very large. So, to scale up whilst contextualizing the data and at the same time addressing volume constraints, means a standard database just won’t do the job. Yet with perfectly organized and accessible operational data, operators and managers can be much more well informed, and therefore in a position to make decisions quickly that will improve productivity, quality and efficiency.

A data Historian is a software solution that allows the user to replay entire process sequences, for instance to analyze a particular behavior. The datasets put into play are at once functionally coherent and technically different, which means they must be very precisely captured and recorded. Any types of data can be involved, including digital and analog values, information about alarms, aggregations and statistical calculations, as well as information about equipment and the quality of the running of the processes themselves. Furthermore, these recordings have to be picked up from a very different types of data sources, such as PLCs, DCSs, RTUs, proprietary interfaces on machines or measuring instruments and third-party computer systems as well as manually entered data. The dataset is stored chronologically on appearance or execution such as to reduce retrieval times to a minimum and to maximize data reliability. The concepts of timestamping and performance are therefore central to running a data historian.


Correlating the information

For a data Historian, the primary requirement is to be able to correlate the data along a time-axis, according to the relevant base of each day, week, season or process followed. But the date must also be correlated in line with the team at the controls, the equipment in operation, the alarms that appeared, plus the time taken to acknowledge them, etc.

More broadly, correlation is also applicable to the geographic dimension. Comparative analysis may be called for across different plants or geographical areas, for example. There may be interest in reviewing the performance of facilities according to their administrative sector, or in comparing different plants over different periods, etc. It might thus be possible to bring to light a production problem, which at first sight seems unimportant and/or site-specific, but may in fact be jeopardizing an entire supply or production chain. Similarly, two entities that in principle are perfectly identical, may have very different productivity ratios.

In more concrete terms, here are a few examples of the wide variety of questions that a data Historian can provide answers to:

  • For how much time has a particular piece of equipment been in operation over the last 48 hours?
  • How much primary energy has been used to produce this month
  • How many cubic meters were produced this morning and what is my logistical capacity for the day?
  • What were the average, maximum and range of temperatures measured in my server rack or data center over the summer?
  • Has last week’s incident had a significant impact on the environment?

The only factors limiting the types of questions, to which you can get answers about your plant operations, are the quality and quantity of your data and your imagination.

Benefits of a Data Historian

The many benefits of a Historian platform include:

  • Redundancy features (store and forward, and fail-over),
  • High speed data collection (tens of thousands of records per second),
  • Efficient storage to optimize disk space without limiting performance,
  • User profiles that take account the operator’s functional scope and the granularity of data they have access to.


Who uses a data Historian?

Industry is a major consumer of data. Data Historians are valuable for recording production data that can then be used to analyze/optimize processes (flow rate, valve position, temperature, pressure, etc.), productivity (operating time, number of faults, etc.), performance (number of units per hour, machine utilization, cumulative outages, etc.), traceability, quality and other cost management-related data.

A Historian is also key to analyzing the operation of heavy equipment and infrastructure. For example, it can record run times and all data related to proactive, preventive and predictive maintenance operations. The construction sector and utility companies producing, transmission and distribution of water and power can also make good use of a Data Historian. Uses include analyzing environmental data to produce detailed consumption reports and enabling action plans to be devised to improve energy efficiency and throughput.

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Panorama H2 - Harness the power of your data and unleash the potential of your teams.

Panorama Suite - SCADA + Data Historian + Communication front end

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