• Ben Davis

Why Scientific Data Matters

I can share now that I didn’t know a lot about particle counters three years ago, let alone understand how important automating particle counters would be to the future of the Internet.

It’s easy to believe the Internet is ubiquitous, but a very large part of the manufacturing world is still completely insulated from the Internet – the part called scientific data.

Scientific data is the next frontier of the Internet because it represents the automated operation of machines – like particle counters – that are essential to an organization’s core competency.

A particle counter measures the environmental impact of air quality on the efficacy of drugs or vaccines; on the safety of the milk we drink; on the cleanliness of the hospital operating rooms where we have surgeries; or the clean rooms where semiconductors are manufactured.

This data is completely different from the data produced by vibration sensors, heat sensors and audio sensors to predict the health of machines and their pertinent parts.

Scientific data measures effects on human health.

Scientific data has been proprietary because pharma and food companies use this data to specifically to produce products based on their intellectual property or competitive advantage.

We know how protective Coke is of their secret formula. The exact ratio of carbonated water, phosphoric acid, caffeine or sweeteners is what makes Coke unique to its competitors. The same could be said for Tylenol or the COVID vaccines.

Scientific Data is Different from Machine Data

Scientific data is also differentiated by the government or industry regulations that ensure the process and workflows follow specific protocols from the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies. Much of the data is manually entered or written down and submitted with a physical signature. Sometimes the same manual capture of the data is repeated every hour, depending on the regulations.

My team and I have spent countless hours listening to customers tell us about their different regulations, workflows, processes – and the different types of proprietary particle counters supplied by multiple vendors in their manufacturing environments to capture this scientific data. These machines range from very old to very new, and large pharma manufacturers can have thousands of particle counters produced by 7 or 8 vendors. Each machine operates differently; uses different control paradigms; formats data differently; some have web-based user interfaces; some have to be operated from the machine itself; and it goes on. This fragmentation requires skilled lab technicians to operate these machines, and because each machine is so different, it becomes an incredibly labor-intensive job.

As a result, manufacturing costs are typically 20 percent of a pharma manufacturer. The associated costs of manually operating a particle counter and conforming to regulations is often as high as $20 for every $1 spent acquiring a particle counter. Any change to the manufacturing processes of companies producing scientific data typically requires FDA approval.

A labor-intensive, fragmented and proprietary environment is not the promise or IoT or IIoT.

All of the customers we talked to agreed that safety could not be compromised, but they all agreed the cost, speed and quality in obtaining scientific data has to change.

In a big way.

The innovation in Phizzle’s Digital Air Series makes it possible to remotely operate multi-vendor particle counters from a single UI in the cloud. In short, the cost-savings benefits of the open Internet ecosystem are finally ready to shape this long-promised IoT opportunity.

Automating the operation of particle counters reduces the need for human labor intervention, and in doing so, efficiency is achieved through speed and reduction of costs. Our initial customer deployment demonstrated our solution can reduce the operational cost of particle counter by 33-45% -- for each machine.

Additionally, taking humans out of the process reduces the risk of mistakes, which results in improved safety and compliance.

As much as I’ve learned about particle counters, I’ve also learned that many other machines produce scientific data in highly regulated environments, such as Ph balancers for water quality. Automating and remotely operating particle counters is just the first step to reach the full promise of IoT.

The relentless march of cost-savings from the Internet Ecosystem is coming for scientific data – and as long as Phizzle keeps listening, we will be leading the charge.


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