Awakening Your Industrial 6th Sense

Awakening Your 6th Sense

As I wrote in our inaugural Sensory Overload blog, we are setting out to explore how companies can awaken their industrial 6th Sense to achieve better insight into their core processes and regain some of the more than $1 Trillion outflow in annual productivity losses.

What is the 6th Sense?  Simply, it’s the power of perception beyond the five senses. Some refer to it as intuition; others say it’s the ability to understand the subtle cause-and-effect relationship behind events.

In my view, 6th Sense is a combination of purpose-driven sensors and intelligent software that generate and harness Big Data, allowing our customers to clearly see into and ultimately optimize their most resource-intensive processes.

It boils down to one simple equation:

 State of the Art Sensing Technology + Big Data Software Analysis = 6th Sense

Sensors alone do nothing more than generate data. They are analogous to the human senses without the brain.  Too few sensors and the user is in the dark, unable to generate enough data to draw worthwhile conclusions. Too many sensors generate too much data to manage.  The brain is the software that ties the data together and makes sense of it, to deduce that there may be danger afoot and generate a reaction.

That’s where Big Data software comes into play.  Drawing together huge amounts of data to make logical conclusions, analytics software deduces the real-time conditions in your manufacturing environment and helps you anticipate something before it actually happens.  Tie those conclusions into process control, and it’s like the brain’s “fight or flight” reactions. Operators can use data to generate warnings and continuously make minor adjustments to optimize processes. The end result is reduced waste and inefficiency and millions of dollars in savings.

I look at sensors like candy.  Once you savor a good piece of candy, you don’t want to stop.  You get data from one sensor and find it useful.  So you add more, hoping to get more insight, gain a competitive advantage and save some money.  Do that enough and what do you end up with?  Sensory Overload.  Overwhelmed with an onslaught of data, you quickly lose the forest through the trees.  You induce a death spiral.  You have just been eaten up by Big Data.

At LumaSense, our mission is to create Big Data through various sensing technologies and then to help make sense of what has been created.  We bring clarity, clairvoyance and truly awaken the 6th Sense.

Most organization aren’t short on data, not when a single infrared camera can generate up to 307,000 pixels at a rate of 60 frames/second, which translates to about 300 megabits of data every second.  Factor in multiple cameras combined with other technologies such as gas sensing or pyrometers and you quickly find yourself drowning. The right software helps process torrents of data streams so operators can more proactively, and, yes, intuitively monitor and detect variances that can reduce efficiency.

An intuitive sensing + analytics solution can help extend the life of a torpedo car in steel processes, or prevent excessive scrap in flat glass applications, or govern predictive maintenance on coal-fired boilers or power transformers.

Those are just a few real-world examples of how LumaSense is helping customers gain a 6th Sense.

How are you using sensors + software analytics to improve process efficiency?

One thought on “Awakening Your Industrial 6th Sense

  1. Hi Brett
    I agree to your opinion that we need to
    develop a kind of 6th sense for problems which are by nature multi-dimensional.
    And indeed, any time you are applying a bundle of different sensors, you are tackling
    a multi- dimensional problem in the industrial
    world- GE would say “industrial Internet” and they are right. The dissimilarity of sensors has its counterpart in the variability of sensorial output produced by one type of
    sensor with the ability to represent a broad scale of features of a matter to be investigated. In our case is the said matter the transformer oil, the most important means of insulation of power transformers, the real backbone of the national power supply grids. The probing of this matter is
    consequently carried out by a multi- dimensional investigation method – in our case multi- frequency ultrasound – where each of the components of the matter in question is detected by one or a few signifikant ultrasonic frequencies. This us nothing else than a new kind of spectroscopy. But the difference to the existing ones is that the method of evaluation the multi- dimensional signals
    must by nature be an intelligent one, i.e. Advanced analytics enabled by the application of artificial intelligence or multi-dimensional statistics. This is the 2nd demand of “Industrial Internet”, which is nothing substantial new apriach but the more the long-expected application of sophisticated analytical methods to real-world problems. That’s not something mystical what one might associate with
    “6th sense”. I like this terminus but it evokes
    inappropriate expectations by those not skilled in the art of intelligent data analytics.
    So far – in our case – the application of such methods mean the mult-dimensional connection of multi-dimensional domain data
    ( I.e. Multi-frequency ultrasound) data with
    multi-dimensional data of another domain, that means different parameters of transformer oil, normally only achieved by expensive lab analysis ( including gas-in-oil)
    This multi-dimensional mapping is the core of “advanced” analytics! This is rhedomain of the 6th sense you are talking about. The GE perspective is much wider, I.e. Includes hierarchical levels of optimization enabled by the application of advanced analytics in the
    context of e.g. Transformer fleet optimization by using real-time data and analyzing these
    data by cloud-based big-data enhancement of the aforementioned intelligent methods. on the network optimization level there will finally emerge a nation-wide benefit. I think
    this is a 6th sense technology applied in the context of industrial Internet by using a 6th sense which cam be described in detail.
    Best regards

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