Tracking Important Events with PI System

Version 2

    This document is an excerpt from the Visualizing PI System Data Workbook v2017


    Events are important process or business time periods that represent something happening that affects your operations. Capturing important events in your process and collecting relevant data around those events can help analyze why they occurred. For example, you can closely monitor the following events to identify possible causes or potential points of failure.

    • Asset downtime
    • Environmental monitoring excursions
    • Process excursions
    • Product tracking batches
    • Equipment startups and shutdowns
    • Operator shifts


    In the PI System, events are known as Event Frames. With Event Frames, you can capture, store, find, compare and analyze the important events and their related data. The power of Event Frames is that you are able to analyze your PI data in the context of these events rather than by continuous time periods. Instead of searching by time, Event Frames enables users to easily search the PI System for the specific events they are trying to analyze or report on.


    An Event Frame is defined by three characteristics:

    1. Name: each event frame name must be unique and often includes a timestamp
    2. Start time and End time: defines the event’s time range
    3. Context: one or more event attributes and referenced AF elements


    There are two categories of trackable events that would fit an event frame profile:

    • Good events: Events that you want to track as a normal part of a business such as product tracking, shifts, and so on.
    • Bad events: Events that are unexpected and need to be analyzed and perhaps fixed quickly if they ever occur such as unexpected shutdowns or excursions. These are events that you want to track and report in aggregate, over time.


    Asking questions such as these can help identify events or conditions that must be tracked, which will be later utilized in doing event analysis:

    Q1. What are all the times that event X occurred on this type of asset?

    Q2. Can I associate data from different points for a time-range, or for a single point in time?

    Q3. What is the associated data for a particular time period when a problem occurred or may occur in the future?

    Q4. What are the critical process events that someone needs to be notified on?


    How to Generate Event Frames

    There are different ways to generate event frames: PI Interfaces for Batch Execution Systems, the Event Frame Generator and AF SDK custom applications are some of them. Furthermore, with the release of Asset Analytics, you can generate event frames directly from AF. Once event frames are generated in AF, client tools such as PI DataLink and PI Vision could be used in visualizing and analyzing them.


    How to Retrieve and Visualize Event Frames?

    Event Frames are stored in the AF Server. Visualization clients, such as PI Vision and PI DataLink access the AF Server to retrieve the events and their related data providing you with powerful tools to visualize and analyze important events. Here is the list of the client applications that could be used in analyzing the generated Event Frames:


    • PI Vision: Event frames related to assets on a display are discovered by PI Vision. The time range and duration of the display determine what events are shown in the events list (we will discuss this in the later chapters). You can compare similar events to each other using Gantt charts and trend overlays.
    • PI System Explorer: You can use PSE to search for events and analyze them. The results are presented in a practical table format that features a Gantt chart and columns for the attributes. Moreover, this is a quick way of verifying the creation of event frames.
    • PI DataLink: Beginning with PI DataLink v2014, you can use PI DataLink to file:///C:/Users/jkim/Learning/Online%20Courses/SPOC%20Development%20Resources/Visualizing%20Operational%20Data%20with%20PI%20Vision/2017/PI%20Vision/Class%20files%20and%20docs/ClientTools_Workbook_Instructor_v2017.docx#_msocom_1import event frames from AF into Excel and then create reports for viewing and analyzing those events. Pivot tables and pivot charts are great Excel features for summarizing the data and getting better insight into event frames (we will briefly talk about this in the later chapters).  


    Advantages of Event Frames

    Some of the features and advantages of Event Frames are:



    Advantage of the feature


    • Reference multiple elements within the same event.
    • Support multiple overlapping events on a AF element.
    • Capture any event; a "batch" is just one type of capturable event.

    Powerful search

    • Search by time range, type of event or event frame attribute.


    • Event Frames are extremely scalable (whereas search performance degrades with a large number of batches.)