Get Your Share of the PI If your plant is like most, you are working with limited automation staff. You may have heard about OSIsoft PI and other data historians. You may also have an idea as to how data historians and associated analytic applications could save your company some serious money. But you don't know where to look to find the specialized expertise needed to install a data historian. Data historians are not mainstream automation components like controllers, HMIs, and instruments. Although the usual cast of suspects like the big automation vendors and the major nationwide system integration firms can and do install data historians, it is often better to do a little leg work and seek out a specialist. We spoke with two such system integration firms at the OSIsoft User Conference. Both firms are small, between 2 and 7 people. Both do nothing but OSIsoft PI, and both can install PI systems quickly for a reasonable price. Joe Devine of Process Innovations (www.process-innovations.net) says that his two-person company routinely installs PI Server systems in a week or less for less than $10,000. Installations include connections to data sources such as a DCS, a PLC, and/or an HMI. Training is also included as are some limited analytics. Dennis Kilgore is the president of DLL Solutions (www.dllsolutions.com). They also perform PI installs quickly and inexpensively. DLL also offers shrink-wrapped PI software add-ins to perform specialized tasks such as condition monitoring. In addtion to the system integration cost, you need to budget about $15k to buy PI Server software from OSIsoft. That price will get you a 5,000 tag system with two interface connectors, bringing the total installed cost to around $25k. The bottom line? If your company wants to get its feet wet with the industry leading data historian, the best route may be via a specialist system integration firm. These firms can perform initial installations that include enough training to allow you to pilot a money saving idea. They can also provide assistance on an as needed basis if you decide that your company is hungry for more PI.