This week The Economist put together a special section about how society is overflowing with data. Reading it, I thought it was irony at its best. What better way to cover our data-overload than with a long, drawn-out story bubbling over with … data.
The most obvious example of data-overload is the Internet. When I went to college, during the pre-Internet era, I took an entire class on how to find things in the library. Library computer databases then were in zygote form. They were a beginning, but their breadth was microscopic compared to what the Internet was to become.
In manufacturing, classic examples of data overload come from machine data collection. We now have sensors that show how a vibration may predicate a breakdown of a certain mechanical system. Such data gathering forms the foundation of predictive maintenance (PM), overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and loads of other acronyms. Do manufacturers use all this data? Sometimes they do, but sometimes the data sit forever in old file directories, just waiting to be deleted.