Cranfield University research class cuts data analysis effort by half

Cranfield University is a research-based university in the United Kingdom. Cranfield is one of the largest academic settings in Western Europe for strategic applied research, development, and design for the aerospace field. The university also excels in areas such as manufacturing, transport systems, and technology. Dr. Uyioghosa Igie is a lecturer in the School of Aerospace, Transport, and Manufacturing at Cranfield. His research students analyze data to determine engine behavior and patterns to help optimize performance. When Dr. Igie started looking for a data analysis tool for his class, he needed an engaging tool that would show the research journey—without the labor of intensive data formatting. After Dr. Igie saw students’ positive reaction to Tableau, he chose it as the preferred tool for his research classes. Igie estimates that his class has reduced the time spent on data analysis by half and says that now students have time to exceed expectations and “do thing that really matter.”

Tableau: Can you tell us a little bit about your job at Cranfield University? Dr. Uyioghosa Igie: I'm in the School of Aerospace, Transport, and Manufacturing. I'm more into performance. I'm involved in research and teaching at the university. Basically, within the School of Aerospace, Transport, and Manufacturing, we're looking to gas turbines. And then we typically get data from operators and try and investigate engine behavior and patterns. Tableau: How are you using data in your classes? Dr. Igie: It's our job, really, to look into this data and work out how much the engine has actually lost in terms of performance. So when I say gas turbines, I'm talking about gas turbines for aerospace, gas turbines for stationary application, power generation, and also gas turbines for mechanical drive application. My research students will typically have an engine data from a power station. The most recent one we have, actually, is from a power station with about four engines. And the interesting thing is to try and quantify the impact of, let's say, an online wash or, for example, quantify the degradation: how much the engine is actually losing. And it's also always very useful to try and not just show results, but then take the student through the journey of actually achieving those results is very important. Tableau: How does Tableau help you achieve that? Dr. Igie: Tableau is just brilliant in terms of trying to engage a class. Again, using things like motion charts, it's like we're running the engine all over again. Again, it's also raised the bar as well. It's important that we actually try to focus on things which really matter, to our partners as well. I think it's really empowering when we, as a university, tell operators how best to do things. And I think that's really wonderful. Tableau: Have you noticed any time-savings? What impact has Tableau had on your classes?

Tableau has a way of actually engaging students in the material itself. It's a very intuitive software. And students are able to go just beyond what you normally expect from them.

Dr. Igie: We've actually cut down the time we spend, about half actually, and my students now do things which really matter as opposed to just trying to get data in the right format. But what I'm trying to say here really is that Tableau has a way of actually engaging students, you know, in the material itself. It's a very intuitive software. And students are able to go just beyond what you normally expect from them using Tableau.