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Dataran in the World of Magic

01.03.2017| Article

Year 1988. Officially I had a study leave to finish my high school. In real life I managed to get a job working in a 3-shift work at a paper mill. Night shifts provided good opportunities to study. And play card with older colleagues. And to be honest, sometimes there was quite a bit of work too. What impressed me was how the more experienced guys seemed to know everything. They looked at the paper roll or web in different phases of the machine and just mumbled ”…Aha, we’ll have to add a bit of this and change a bit of that”. None of this was documented or easily visible in any system.

To the year 1994. Now finishing my Master’s thesis. Working in a company providing IT and automation systems to paper mills all around the world. I was impressed to find out, that we actually had on-line connections to many paper mills. I could log in, read real-time values from a machine – and even operate it real-time, remotely! Well, that last part was forbidden for all sorts of safety reasons, but it was cool anyway. I could set up data collections at a mill, store data to local files and transfer these files to my office. Then, using MATLAB, for example, I could dig into the data and try making something out of it. When I was after small bits and pieces, like wished to know whether the paper web color hue was varying normally or out-of-scope, the remote data collection and tools all worked well. Whenever I needed a more holistic view of the process, life was hell. As an older colleague often reminded,

“How could I know whether Wilhelm fell down into the mixing tank or not if I’m just looking at the data?"

Fast forward to the year 2005. In 16th IFAC World Congress I and my colleagues at the time presented a paper called “Operation was a success, but the patient died – Call for more advanced process diagnostics”. Boy did we have some critique to present to the status-quo of industrial data analytics! One of the points we liked to challenge was the real-world usability of many tools and platforms. They did not provide good opportunities to combine empirical knowhow, easy-to-use tools, reliable and capable data collection, storage and analysis methods. Not to mention the price factor – typically you had to invest a lot of money and effort just to get a system up and running – still without any proof whether you’ll get something useful out of this or not.

Many platforms did not provide good opportunities to combine empirical knowhow, easy-to-use tools, and analysis methods.

Now, year 2017. We have Quva® Flow and LEAN Pilot. In Quva board, I play mostly a role of “Dataran” – a smart-alec veteran in diagnostics, data analysis business, and industrial applications. For a Dataran like me, we live in a dream world. First, the Quva® Flow LEAN Pilot. Our guys in Quva can set up a pilot faster that one can spell “c-l-o-u-d  s-e-r-v-i-c-e”. Well, almost. The first threshold to explore and understand the opportunities of modern data analytics could not be smaller. And it does not even cost much.

Then, there’s the Quva® Flow platform, pure magic. When we, and by “we” I mean us who have been working a lot with industrial IT, when we say the word platform, we think something big. Something expensive. Something, which has large transaction costs. With Quva, it’s the opposite. Quva® Flow has virtually unlimited scalability from tiny to huge. It’s not expensive – especially because you can focus into the right things with the LEAN Pilot. Transaction costs are from a different world compared to old-school product vendors – with a modern, true cloud service we are talking more like a phone app than a traditional server, even a virtualized server based program. Like a magic –when you need it, it’s there. When you don’t, it’s gone.

The only thing is, that once you open the door for easy-to-use data analytics to your employees, it will be a very hard one to close.

They do know when Wilhelm falls down into the mixing tank (“not again…”) and now they also have the data dug out from the systems, put together, analyzed and presented in an easy to understand way – in one word, they’ll be hooked!

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DSc Harri Happonen

Member of the Board in Quva


Quva Oy

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