PI Asset Framework: Analytical Pros and Cons

OSIsoft’s PI System dominates the data historian market. A reason for the PI System’s success is its use of the Asset Framework (AF) feature. First introduced in 2007, AF provides PI users with an intuitive structure for organizing and using process data. With better organization PI users gain a greater sense of context for their data and the associated production processes.

While benefiting PI users, PI Asset Framework is also a boon for other automation solution providers like Control Station. Our PlantESP control loop performance monitoring (CLPM) solution benefits directly as configuration is accelerated dramatically whenever AF is in use. The addition of some PID controller attributes such as Controller Model, Enable Bits, among others may be needed for contextualization purposes. However, the majority of work is already done within an existing PI AF deployment.

The Asset Framework was designed to support a wide array of end-user applications including data analytics. Indeed, analytics can be calculated and the associated results can be visualized via PI Vision. However, a comparison of the analytical capabilities of the PI System and CLPM solutions like PlantESP reveals some important differences:

  • Sticking with Basics

PI AF is well-suited for assessing basic control loop performance attributes. More specifically, the PI System is limited to performing simple, arithmetic calculations. Those calculations are suitable for evaluating variation in a process signal and/or movement of a final control element such as a valve or damper. Common KPIs used to understand variation and movement include Average Absolute Error, Output Travel, and Output Reversals. 

While basic, the capabilities within PI AF shouldn’t be dismissed. KPIs that reveal fundamental performance attributes are an essential first step in any plant-wide optimization initiative.

  • Advancing to Optimization

In contrast, CLPM solutions are designed to address the full range of analytics from basic thru advanced. Beyond variation and movement, CLPM solutions are capable of recognizing complex patterns and behavioral attributes and of performing advanced forensics. Those are essential in conducting interaction analysis and isolating root-causes. Advanced KPIs and analytical capabilities found in select CLPM solutions include Oscillation, Modeling/Tuning, Correlation and Spectral Analysis.

The analytical capabilities found within CLPM solutions like PlantESP provide a natural ‘next step’ for users of PI Asset Framework as they advance through their analytics journey.

For obvious reasons the PI System equipped with Asset Framework dominates the market for data collection, storage, analysis, and visualization. Even so, other advanced analytic solutions like CLPM provide a valuable complement that enables manufacturers to achieve sustainable process improvement and plant-wide optimization.

These resources offer related content:

Output Distribution

What Does Controller Output Reveal About FCE Health and Asset Reliability?

Remember the Far Side?  Of course you do, but do you remember the one depicting the boy who leans his whole body forward as he pushes against a door that clearly reads “Pull”?  Although the sign leading up to the building shows “Midvale School for...
Iconic-Mark_Inverted-Color

Overview of Cascade Control

While Cascade Control is generally considered an advanced control strategy, it is only marginally more complex to implement than Single Loop Control.  More often than not it is applied to improve the performance of a slow process such as temperature that demonstrates sluggish behavior.  Essentially...
Iconic-Mark_Inverted-Color

The Relationship Between Loop Performance Monitoring and Loop Tuning

Imagine that you just purchased software to help with the tuning of your plant’s control loops.  You’re ready to enhance control and to improve production throughput and efficiency, right?  With software successfully installed you consider the 100s if not 1000s of PID controllers regulating your...

Still looking for more?

Now that you’ve gotten the basics, connect with our team to learn how our people, processes and technologies can help you optimize.