Carroll enters into research partnership with local firm

Author: Carroll University

Published Date: 11/1/2018

Categories: Business Chemistry Mathematics University News

Collecting and analyzing data can be an important tool for many businesses, but oftentimes they lack either the personnel or time to effectively utilize the information they collect.

The new Analytics and Business Intelligence Consortium (ABIC) at Carroll University aims to tackle that issue and become the region’s leading source of data analysis intelligence. Carroll is seeking businesses from a variety of fields, including manufacturing, finance, health care, insurance and more, to become members of the consortium. According to Director John Gnadinger, the consortium will hold workshops and networking events and create educational opportunities, including degree programs and analytics microcredentials. 

Already, one local business is seeing the benefits this partnership can offer. Carroll students and faculty are helping officials with Pewaukee’s Trico Corporation on a project that could increase the company’s efficiency. Trico is in the business of analyzing lubricants for industry. “Our job is really helping to prevent machinery failures and production downtime for our customers,” said Trico CEO Bob Jung ’77. 

Trico’s customers include manufacturers and other heavy machinery users, all of whom rely upon smooth-running equipment. They need lubricants to reduce and/or prevent friction between moving parts, because that friction could lead to catastrophic failures that could cost them thousands of dollars.

The lubricant analysis that Trico performs is likened by Jung to the blood tests your doctor may order. If your test results indicated a high cholesterol level, your doctor would recommend steps to prevent a future catastrophic tragedy. Similarly, by analyzing lubricant samples, Trico can report on the health of the equipment and provide suggestions to reduce the chance of failures. But time is of the essence, and getting samples to Trico to test takes precious time.

Enter Carroll. A team of students from Carroll has been working with a new piece of analytical equipment called a Raman spectroscope. The machine can be taken directly to Trico’s customers for on-the-spot analysis. Carroll’s research team will conduct analyses to help determine how effective the spectroscope might be. Then, they’ll compare the data they’ve collected to the millions of pieces of data Trico already has. “We want to be able to compare what the new equipment tells us to the data we already have,” said Jung. “We don’t use the Raman spectroscope currently but we want to verify if it has a place in our business. The arrangement with Carroll helps us because we just didn’t have the time to run all the testing, gather all the data and then compare that to our existing database.”

It’s a win-win partnership: the company gains valuable insights that should help it work more efficiently and Carroll students gain incredible hands-on experiences in the real world of big data analytics.

“The bigger picture is looking at the data to see if there are correlations there between what we see with this new instrument and with our existing equipment, said Jung. “What can we learn from that mass of data?” Delving into that motherlode of data with Carroll’s help is likely just the beginning, he noted. “I believe we’ll have projects that will spin off of this project.”
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