Digitizing Field Data Collection Provides Instant Access to Information

Paper records present a challenge to manufacturers, especially when performing maintenance checks and rounds. Filing paperwork or performing data entry when some notes are illegible, the pen ran dry or the paper got weathered just makes things difficult and sometimes inaccurate. Using a digital device with data entry selections can help overcome these challenges and enable better data collection, analysis and management.

Many clients have similar challenges. For example, they may have a process where operations personnel write down their data and check the boxes for numerous devices on the daily shift log. Operations personnel perform this process every shift every day. The logs are kept in the control room and used to enter data into the human machine interface (HMI) logged entry when personnel note deviations. The logs are then filed in a file cabinet. Sometimes the logs are not readable and sometimes the paper logs do not make it to the file cabinet as expected.

Matrix Technologies has developed a mobile application that runs on devices that can be synchronized to a central database repository to overcome these issues. The Matrix design team created a WPF.NET application that runs through any desktop or mobile device and stores data into a Microsoft SQL Database on the client side. The client runs a background service to synchronize the client with a central database server whenever connected to the plant network. The user interface is built to mimic the paper based forms but offers a user friendly experience with tool tips, suggestions, range validation and scanning capabilities. This enables quick user adoption and consistent data collection.

By logging into the application, the operators are able to enter tracked data into a simple form. The application also tracks and timestamps operator logins that helps with recordkeeping. The application saves the operations staff nearly a half hour a day in data entry and automated checking to remove human errors. The data is also available for reporting across systems and available directly to the control room HMI for any deviations or alerts, once the data is synchronized. The solution also offers extensibility where the form questions and entry fields can be updated through configuration.


The mobile data logging application allows information to be entered quickly and accurately for fast response to problems. It eases data entry and reduces data entry time while providing consistent and accurate data. Data is available on a timely basis, allowing management and operations personnel the ability to quickly see trends and analyze issues.

Matrix’s ability to provide solutions helps our client partners solve even the most difficult business problems. Our knowledge of various manufacturing industries and technologies enable our staff of experienced engineers to deliver quality and value with every project.

If you are interested in custom data collection applications and solutions, feel free to contact an information engineering consultant to see how Matrix can help.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact John Lee, Senior Manager of Manufacturing Intelligence.

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Tags: / Data Analysis  / Data Collection  / Industrial Automation Engineering  / Information Technology  / Maintenance  / Manufacturing Operations Management  / Mobile Data Logging  / Operations Technology  / SQL Server Express  / Improvement  / Microsoft 

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