Advanced Analytics with Digital Twins Courtesy of GE Digital’s Proficy CSense

5-in-1 analytics capabilities make Proficy CSense a holistic solution for industrial process optimization.

With the widespread adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) across industries, many engineers can start to feel like data scientists. Although there is incredible power in collecting and analyzing data to improve industrial processes, many engineers want to focus their time and effort on their expertise, not necessarily data science. Companies like GE Digital are trying to meet the needs of modern manufacturing by providing data analytics solutions without the need for data scientists.

GE Digital’s Proficy CSense achieves precisely that: software that provides real-time data analytics to improve troubleshooting and increase productivity for industrial processes. Committed to constantly improving its products, GE Digital recently announced upgrades to its Proficy CSense software to help engineers combine data from multiple sources to identify and prevent problems, predict future performance, and improve automation.

With an industry-leading AI and machine learning platform, Proficy CSense can provide real-world solutions for manufacturing, including increased productivity and revenue. The expanded software will continue to aid in industrial processes by mining a company’s data to identify areas for improvement.

The Power of Big Data

The success of many fields relies on a data-driven process. Consider both science and engineering, where the process of innovation depends on collecting and analyzing data to either answer a question or optimize a product. When it comes to industrial solutions, historical, real-time and predictive data can all inform important decisions to improve manufacturing.

Analyzing historical data can allow engineers to identify the root cause of a problem or highlight patterns where efficiency is lost, while collecting current data can provide a real-time snapshot of engineering operations. Predicting future outcomes based on current and historical data can help clarify where a facility or plant is headed and even allow for modeling scenarios to improve production.

With all this in mind, industry experts believe that we are in a new phase of the industrial revolution: Industry 4.0. Just as the adoption of electricity and computers revolutionized industrial production, companies are now using big data to create a new future for manufacturing. This era of “smart” factories relies on the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and increased automation in addition to advanced analytics to keep everything running smoothly.

According to research conducted by IndustryWeek, most companies are interested in learning more about analytics and how they can help improve operations. But it can be challenging to figure out where to begin without a team of data scientists.

Proficy CSense provides a software solution to the data analytics problems facing modern manufacturing facilities. With the purchase of a license, GE Digital is also offering six free hours of consulting to help companies launch new analytics programs.

Utilizing Digital Twins to Optimize Production

The power of Proficy CSense relies on a process digital twin. This is a software representation of a real-world system or process, such as a turbine or an engine. Engineers can then use a digital twin to predict and prevent process problems in addition to optimizing operations. With a combination of machine learning and data analytics, asset, network, and process digital twins can be developed with Proficy CSense. 

By relying on real-world data, the software can create advanced simulations to help engineers better understand how their physical assets perform and identify and improve potential issues. Digital twins can help reduce reactive maintenance by nearly 50 percent and save companies money caused by lost production from mechanical failures or problems.

The combination of a process digital twin and advanced analytics can help to accelerate the troubleshooting process, increase productivity, decrease equipment downtime, and reduce product variability. Overall, it can improve industrial efficiency, reduce waste, and increase revenue.

Digital twins are used in various applications, including everything from simple digitization of a given asset to the predictive power of software like Proficy CSense.

The seven most common uses of digital twins. (Image courtesy of IoT Analytics.)

The seven most common uses of digital twins. (Image courtesy of IoT Analytics.)

New Features in Proficy CSense Version 8.5

Proficy CSense includes a 5-in-1 analytics system that supports industrial process optimization. Using the platform, engineers can analyze, monitor, predict, simulate and optimize data in real time.

One of the new features in Proficy CSense 8.5 is a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control loop tuning assistant. Along with other control optimization tools, the PID tuning assistant helps calculate recommended PID loop settings to optimize control functions.

Additionally, the new system identification assistant uses historical data for either process simulations or control optimizations to create process transfer function models. This update to the software now allows historical data to be imported and analyzed from OPC UA servers and then read and write analytics results back onto those same servers.

“GE Digital’s industrial data management and analytics-based solutions can help companies achieve continuous improvement goals quickly and immediately impact their operations and ultimately, their bottom line,” said Richard Kenedi, general manager of GE Digital’s Manufacturing and Digital Plant business. “Proficy CSense helps manufacturers apply expertise to data and then transform that data into action to make digital transformation a competitive advantage for their business.”

The new features enhance previous versions of the software, which included a user-friendly approach to industrial data analytics. One of the earlier features included in the software is the Proficy CSense Troubleshooter tool, which has an intuitive interface to visualize data from real-world sources and then uses built-in predictive analytics to create custom scenarios to model how different situations affect production. The software supports Industrial IoT and everything from simple calculations to custom machine learning models.

The Proficy CSense Troubleshooter tool interface. (Image courtesy of GE digital.)

The Proficy CSense Troubleshooter tool interface. (Image courtesy of GE digital.)

The updated software is also available in Japanese, Chinese, Russian and French. A 30-day free trial license is currently available on GE Digital’s website.

Proficy CSense Offers a Real-World Solution for Modern Manufacturing

Many companies are using Proficy CSense to improve the efficiency of their operations. For example, Skjern Paper uses the software to reduce waste and enhance the quality of its products to align with its commitment to sustainable operations.

“I’ve been looking at the area of AI for some time,” said Skjern Paper’s Technical Manager Erik Møller. “The industry has gained insight into improved efficiency using AI and ML. We decided to make digitization and production improvements through AI and ML part of our strategy. [Proficy CSense] is a great capability that gave us benefit[s] straight away.”

Skjern Paper used a program offered by GE Digital that brings in analytics consultants to help companies meet their goals. With Proficy CSense, the company analyzed its existing data to find the cause of rejects, monitored its PID control loops to reduce variation, and then created a predictive model to forecast quality rejects in real time. This helped the company reduce quality rejects by 5 percent.

Alternative Advanced Analytics Solutions

Other predictive analytics software are available for industrial applications. Most major software companies offer digital twin competitors, including Oracle, Autodesk, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The benefit of digital twins remains the same across different products, with slight differences in how the software provides predictive analytics for process optimization. SAP Analytics Cloud does not use digital twin technology but still allows for simple predictive model building with slightly less power. Compared to other software, Proficy CSense aims to create a comprehensive solution for analyzing, monitoring, predicting, simulating and optimizing data all in one place.

Overview of the Oracle IoT Digital Twin Implementation. (Image courtesy of Oracle.)

Overview of the Oracle IoT Digital Twin Implementation. (Image courtesy of Oracle.)

Next Steps for Advanced Analytics in Manufacturing

Many companies have already realized the applications of advanced analytics for troubleshooting process issues and identifying areas for optimization. But the future of AI in manufacturing spans far beyond improved efficiencies. With AI innovations like computer vision, visual inputs can provide additional details for advanced analytics systems to improve workplace safety and automate menial or dangerous tasks within a facility. The digital transformation taking place in manufacturing is seeing a rapid expansion in innovation and highlighting exciting ways to integrate AI on an industrial scale. With advanced analytics software, companies can now take advantage of this innovation to improve their processes in real time.