“Local citizen data scientists.” It’s the latest industry buzz phrase. It’s what advanced data analytics software, like CORTEX™, empowers process engineers and other subject matter experts to become – without requiring a degree in data science.
This conversation with Kevin Cooper, one of our very own process engineers who spent years in an industrial manufacturing complex, offers insight into how his current role with EFT is opening doors for others like him to gain valuable, actionable insights from their production data.
Question: Explain what you do in terms a 4th grader would understand.
Kevin: I create solutions by combining industrial data – the smart ideas from those who work in the industry – and EFT’s software. I also help customers think differently about how they go about tackling industrial problems using their data so they can solve problems more effectively.
Question: How is data changing the world of manufacturing?
Kevin: For manufacturing, data turns the saying “I think this is what happens” into “here’s what happened.” It allows for faster, mostly better decisions to be made. It has the capability to tell us “something’s about to happen and here’s what to do about it.” This makes the lives of those working in a manufacturing facility easier.
Question: Why is what EFT does particularly important in today's fast-paced world?
Kevin: There is untapped value waiting to be accessed through industrial data, and EFT provides a powerful, easy-to-use software called CORTEX that cuts down on the time required to find signals in the noise. Users spend less time “digging through data” and have more time to tackle all the other things they’re responsible for.
Question: Knowing what you know now about analytics, how do you think you could’ve used CORTEX in your previous plant life?
Kevin: At my plant, we put a lot of work into installing new instruments and sensors. We had lots of data, but it wasn’t information, just data. When something happened, we’d spend days or weeks looking through data, hoping to find an answer. But we were biased and were looking in the places where we thought the answer was. And we were limited on predicting the future through simple physics models or simple regression models. CORTEX would have given us the capability to sort through thousands of variables at a time and find those that most closely impacted the issue at hand. With CORTEX, I can find the causes of events, and I can monitor those causes in real time to prevent reoccurrence.
Question: How do you think technology is changing the game for the industrial space?
Kevin: I believe that large, complex manufacturing facilities will get to a point that they can practically run themselves. This won’t happen overnight, or maybe even in my lifetime, but I enjoy empowering those working with the equipment to make their lives easier. I think that step-by-step industrial improvements can help improve the lives for all in society.
Question: What is EFT Analytics’ unique advantage in the data analytics space?
Kevin: Our company’s combined decades worth of experience in the industrial space is a real benefit to our customers. Our solutions and delivery team is composed of process engineers who have lived a majority of their career in the plant. We work hand in hand with our customers’ subject matter experts to deliver valuable solutions in an engagement, from beginning to end. Our process knowledge allows us to speak the customers language. We know firsthand what happens when downtime or outages occur. This particular component is what allows us to deliver these data driven insights to customers, so that their subject matter experts can become local citizen data scientists.