Trending towards data acquisition

August 16, 2016 James Walton
data acquisition

More and more we are required to provide a trail of data that clearly shows how we reached a certain point. That point can be anything from a simple decision, strategy change or experimental conclusion. So you have 2 things to consider when you are presenting your point, be it at an internal meeting or an external audit/customer discussion, firstly, the point, of course and almost more important, the data that you used and how did you get to that point.

We all know that it can be almost impossible to sway people without a clear demonstration of how the desire to change was reached.

So, taking advantage of the trend towards data acquisition is a simple process:

This is a representation of one of the most frequent tools for achieving this, the Six Sigma DMAIC process: define, measure, analyse, improve and control.

Data acquisition process

An early example of this was with the facilities management teams at hospitals and science parks. We were asked to measure gas usage by various layouts. Some people wanted to measure by floor, some wanted to measure and analyse usage by laboratory. What they found in the end was that they could more accurately charge the cost of gas per cost code, making teams responsible for their own usage.

Data acquisition is also frequently used in R&D. E.g. to calculate the air permeability of a fabric and how that parameter changes in response to a change in the coating applied to the fabric. You will need 3 things:

  1. A standard test cell
  2. A method to control a fixed pressure in the cell while simultaneously measuring the Air flow
  3. A software package to capture that data in a useable format

Once you have tested a fabric sample from one batch, you can do another, and another……..once you gathered enough data you can graph the results and begin to look for outliers to determine the performance envelope. This same process can be run with multiple fabrics and costings, combining the data with results from other tests can allow you to start defining by parameter which is the best coatings for a given application.

Sharing that data with your suppliers can open up a whole new collaborative partnership that encourages both parties to work in the same direction.

Application development is only possible when you understand what is happening, why, where and what contributing factors there are. Knowing how the different areas of an application change when you change a single parameter can allow you to quickly and efficiently define issues and devise solutions. This approach will free your time to develop the product instead of the tool.

Check out the Bronkhorst Flowware and free software tools we have available for you. 
  • FlowDDE:  software tool to interface between digital instruments and windows software
  • FlowPlot: software application for monitoring and service purposes on Bronkhorst digital instruments
  • FlowView: DDE-client program to operate Bronkhorst digital instruments or readout-units
  • FlowFix: Configuration application for the fieldbus connection and active fluid
  • FlowTune: Offline instrument configuration software program
  • Fluical: Calibration software

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