Anomaly Detection & Data Science: A Key to Manufacturing Excellence
Artificial Intelligence
Vishnu Narayan May 16, 2023

Anomaly detection in a factory

Have you heard about a fascinating technology, ‘Anomaly Detection’?

It plays a crucial role in the world of data science, particularly in the field of manufacturing.

Anomaly detection can be marked as a powerful technology that helps to identify unusual patterns or behaviours in data. 

Moreover, anomaly detection helps us to identify unexpected events and ensure smooth operations in manufacturing and other fields of data science. 

In this article, we’ll explore the exciting realm of data science in manufacturing and delve into the concept of anomaly detection. 

Also, we’ll uncover how this powerful tool helps identify unusual patterns, detect faults, and ensure smooth operations in the manufacturing process. 

So let’s dive deep into the exciting world of data science and anomaly detection, where innovation meets precision in the manufacturing industry.

What Are Anomalies?

Before we explore anomaly detection, let’s understand what we mean by “anomaly.” 

In simple terms, anomalies are simply things that stand out or are different from what is considered normal.

Anomaly detection

There are mainly three main types of anomalies:

👉Point anomalies: This is when a single piece of data is very different from the rest. For example, if someone spends an unusually large amount of money on a credit card transaction, it could be a sign of fraud.

👉Contextual anomalies: These anomalies depend on the situation or context. For instance, spending much money on food during the holiday season is normal, but it would be unusual at other times.

👉Collective anomalies: These anomalies involve a group of data points that together indicate something unusual. For example, if someone unexpectedly tries to copy data from a remote machine to a local computer, it could signify a cyber attack.

What is Anomaly Detection?

Anomaly detection is like having a special tool to find things that are unusual or different from what we expect. 

It’s like a detective that helps us spot outliers or abnormalities in data, like finding a hidden treasure or catching a rare creature from the wild.

Anomaly detection (checking)

This technique is used in many different areas, like detecting fraud in financial transactions or identifying faults in machinery. 

Moreover, it helps us make sure things are working properly and alerts us when something strange or unexpected happens.

In a world full of data, anomaly detection is our secret weapon to uncover the extraordinary and keep things running smoothly.

How Does Anomaly Detection Work?

Anomalies can be defined as unexpected changes or deviations from what we expect in a set of data. 

They help us quickly spot when something isn’t going as planned.Detecting Anomaly

For example, machines might show unusual sensor readings, processes might have different measurements, or products might have unexpected characteristics during production.

By looking at these anomalies, we can understand how they affect machine downtime, process consistency, and product reliability. 

Similarly, when we see an anomaly, it tells us that something has changed or is behaving strangely. 

In addition, this gives us important insights to take action and fix any issues before they become bigger or more time-consuming. 

Anomaly detection helps us stay on top of things and keep everything running smoothly.

What is Anomaly Detection in Manufacturing?

As we discussed above, anomaly detection identifies unique deviations in data collected from a system or process. 

In manufacturing, anomaly detection can help analyze events or patterns associated with unusual equipment or process performance. 

Anomaly detection in manufacturing

In order for the manufacturing process to be completed, the following steps must be followed:

  • Possibility of placing production equipment
  • Tools and machines for the production of parts
  • Employees operate equipment and run production lines
  • People who assemble product parts and inspect them

As manufacturing processes require a high degree of orchestration and planning, early detection of anomalies can help improve results and ensure the quality of the end product.

Moreover, anomaly detection is also essential to prevent equipment malfunctions or workers not paying attention to system warning signs.

Also Read: Can IoT Make A Difference In Smart Manufacturing And Industrial Sector?

What Are The Common Methods Involved in Anomaly Detection?

Manufacturers have many different methods and approaches to detect anomalies. The three main approaches are visual detection, supervised learning, and unsupervised learning.

1. Visual Discovery

This approach involves data or business analysts creating visualizations to identify unexpected behaviour by leveraging their expertise and creative thinking. While humans are adept at 

identifying patterns in data, this method can be time-consuming and may not scale well.

2. Supervised Learning

Analysts label a set of data points as normal or anomalous, and data scientists utilize this labelled data to develop machine learning models that can predict anomalies in new, unlabeled data. Supervised learning is effective for detecting known patterns.

3. Unsupervised Learning

Analysts construct unsupervised machine learning models using unlabeled data to identify anomalies in new data. 

Also, as these models are trained on normal data, any anomalous data points deviating from the norm become evident. 

Moreover, unsupervised learning is particularly useful when new patterns continuously emerge, such as in fraud detection or manufacturing.

Key unsupervised learning techniques include:

  1. Autoencoders: Neural network models that learn to reconstruct input data, and deviations from the expected reconstruction indicate anomalies.
  2. Clustering: Data points are grouped based on similarity, and anomalies are identified as data points that do not belong to any cluster or form distinct clusters themselves.
  3. Support Vector Machine: An algorithm that separates data into different classes and identifies anomalies as data points lying far from the separation boundary.
  4. Time series techniques: Specialized methods for detecting anomalies in time-dependent data by analyzing patterns, trends, or deviations from expected behaviour over time.

These methods provide manufacturers with tools to detect anomalies and deviations, enabling 

timely interventions, improved quality control, and optimized production processes.

What Are The Major Benefits Of Integrating Anomaly Detection In Manufacturing?

Anomaly detection in manufacturing has several benefits.

In addition, it helps identify unusual patterns or outliers in data that don’t match normal behaviour. 

Moreover, this information allows organizations to reduce costs and investigation time, prevent problems from spreading, improve product quality, and minimize downtime.

Benefits Of Integrating Anomaly Detection In Manufacturing

For example, modern industrial machines and equipment collect data from sensors. By analyzing this data, anomalies like incorrect machine settings or maintenance needs can be detected. 

Further, addressing these anomalies early helps prevent small issues from becoming big problems, saving time and money.

Anomaly detection is also useful in other areas, such as:

  • App metrics: Finding outliers in-app metrics help identify issues that affect customer experience, leading to improvements.
  • System metrics: Detecting anomalies in system metrics helps spot stability issues and take prompt action to maintain system reliability.
  • Images and IoT data: Analyzing images and data from Internet devices can identify equipment failures in advance, enabling preventive maintenance.
  • Analytics and investigation: Anomaly detection aids in finding the root causes of problems through in-depth analysis.

Big data and analytcs

  • Data processing: It helps identify anomalies in data quality, ensuring accurate and reliable information.
  • Security: Anomaly detection is used to detect breaches or unauthorized activities, enhancing overall security.

People also ask

1. What is an example of an anomaly?

An anomaly is an irregular deviation from the expected pattern that stands out amidst normal occurrences. For instance, if you specialize in breeding black dogs and unexpectedly have a pink puppy, that particular puppy would be considered an anomaly.

2. What is the biggest problem of anomaly detection?

Anomaly detection techniques face performance challenges with large data sets, requiring efficient and scalable approaches to ensure timely and accurate detection.

3. What are the two types of anomalies?

There are two types of anomalies: quantitative anomalies (which involve the breaking of constant linear or quantitative relationships) and sequential anomalies (which occur when a log sequence deviates from the normal patterns of program flows).

End Note

Imagine a manufacturing environment where machines hum precisely, processes flow seamlessly, and products meet the highest standards. 

In this way, anomaly detection acts as a vigilant guardian, monitoring the data streams, spotting deviations, and raising the alarm when a problem arises.

With anomaly detection, manufacturers can gain the ability to make data-driven decisions, implement timely interventions, and continuously improve their operations. 

It’s a secret weapon that uncovers the extraordinary and keeps things running smoothly.

Ready to Leverage the Power of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning?

It’s high time to unlock the potential of anomaly detection with ThinkPalm today and embark on the journey towards innovation and excellence. 

ThinkPalm, as a leading AI service provider, specializes in leveraging the power of AI and Machine Learning, along with big data, to transform businesses. 

Let’s shape a future where anomalies are no longer obstacles but gateways to success.

Contact us today to explore how our AI, ML and Big data services can help you unleash the extraordinary and drive success in your industry.

Big data ThinkPalm



Author Bio

Vishnu Narayan is a dedicated content writer and a skilled copywriter working at ThinkPalm Technologies. More than a passionate writer, he is a tech enthusiast and an avid reader who seamlessly blends creativity with technical expertise. A wanderer at heart, he tries to roam the world with a heart that longs to watch more sunsets than Netflix!