The Benefits of Using IIoT to Monitor and Maintain Your Equipment
Experts predict that within the industrial manufacturing sector, spending on the internet of things (IoT) will reach almost $900 billion in 2020. That’s compared to only $472 billion in 2014. A large portion of this spending will go toward sensors and devices that monitor equipment health to maximize production and minimize the cost of maintenance.
Below, we’ll discuss how the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is disrupting traditional maintenance policies and detail the added benefits IIoT can bring to organizations that have a comprehensive data strategy for their IIoT infrastructure.
The Current Paradigm: Maintenance Schedules and Reactive Repair and Replacement
Traditionally, businesses have developed complex maintenance policies and plans to try and optimize machinery performance. Companies use maintenance schedules to preventively and proactively address issues, but performing scheduled maintenance can be wasteful. Sometimes, parts and components that are still working perfectly get replaced with new ones. Machinery stays down during scheduled service. And a regular program of analysis and service requires additional staff.
Meanwhile, if a maintenance program falls behind schedule, simple upkeep procedures that get missed can snowball into much costlier breakdowns. And even with scheduled maintenance, equipment can fail.
To avoid these pitfalls, businesses often end up taking a reactive approach to maintenance, repair, and replacement. Unfortunately, this also causes waste and inefficiency. Production stops in unpredictable ways while broken devices go through troubleshooting and repair. Workers and production lines remain at a standstill while parts or new machines get ordered, shipped, and installed. Unpredictable expenses arise — usually at the worst possible time.
However, businesses can avoid many of these issues with the right technology.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Is Changing the Way Businesses Approach Maintenance and Machine Replacement
IIoT promises to create a paradigm shift in the way businesses approach equipment maintenance. On the computing side, algorithms can more accurately and precisely pinpoint when preventive maintenance tasks need to begin. IIoT software can then integrate that data with your company’s computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or enterprise asset management (EAM) software to automatically generate work orders, contextualize checklists, add nuance to reporting, and more.
With additional data from IIoT device sensors, your business can implement a host of new service, repair, replacement, and reporting approaches to save money, optimize performance, and increase revenue. For example, consider the following:
- You can develop dynamic maintenance schedules based on the actual wear and tear on components. Instead of replacing a part that is still functioning optimally, sensors can use condition-based maintenance models to detect when certain thresholds are being exceeded and then initiate an automatic work request for specific maintenance.
- Your team can perform required maintenance during predicted, scheduled downtime rather than having to halt operations to fix a sudden breakdown. That means fewer surprises, less wasted material and time, and more productivity.
- You can set up automatic alerts and have them sent to relevant personnel whenever product quality approaches a lower limit, when multiple sensors indicate a more serious problem, or if other important issues arise.
- Your business will require less maintenance personnel because IIoT systems will continually monitor your equipment. These systems will use sensors to track data points such as fluid levels, inventory, pressure, rotation speed, temperature, vibration rate, and many others to provide a complete picture of your equipment’s status.
- Similarly, devices and sensors can communicate with each other to optimize performance within a given piece of equipment or production line — without requiring maintenance from personnel.
- Your IIoT systems can generate concise, actionable reports for those who need them. From line workers to technicians to executives, each person at your organization can get the insights they need from IIoT data.
Three Additional Benefits of IIoT
The benefits of industrial IoT go beyond the cost savings of shifting away from reactive and corrective maintenance to predictive and preventive maintenance. Other benefits include:
1. Unrestricted, Secure Access to Real-Time Data and Reports Using the Cloud
Many operations isolate data within individual machines, production lines, departments, facilities, etc. By securely sending IIoT data to the cloud, data from every device, production line, department, and facility gets collected and processed in one place. And it becomes accessible in real time to anyone on your staff who has an internet connection.
2. Deeper Insights Into Your Company’s Operations With Customized Reporting
With fully integrated data, you can develop customized reports that deliver exactly the insights you need. While a technician might need specific data from one machine over a period of time to troubleshoot an issue, high-level stakeholders may need an instantaneous report of total current output or projections based on the current situation. Whether you’re on the floor or in the C-suite, IIoT can provide reporting that gives you and your team the information you need to make good decisions.
If your organization sells devices to other manufacturers for the products they sell to their end-customers, you can bundle in new service contracts to your customers to provide these insights and predictive analytics to make them more productive. These service contracts can bring new, extremely profitable revenue streams to complement your device sales.
3. Unprecedented Scalability With Cloud Computing
Cloud computing shifts data collection, processing, and storage functions from your operations to secure, remote facilities designed specifically for those purposes. By automating data processing, you can add limitless new sensors and devices without adding staff. And as your business grows, your IIoT infrastructure can instantly grow with it.
Stratus Innovations Group Can Help Your Business Realize the Benefits of IIoT!
Whether you’re struggling with equipment maintenance or building your IIoT infrastructure from the ground up, Stratus Innovations Group can help. With our Intelligent Factory Solution Offering, we’ve helped businesses in the United States and worldwide realize the full potential of industrial IoT and drive new revenue.
At Stratus Innovations Group, we’re ready to assist your business at every stage of IIoT operations:
- Collecting data from virtually any source: devices with diverse protocols, HMIs, controllers, and more
- Processing data in real-time using the Microsoft Azure cloud
- Developing a customized platform to provide real insights for everyone from workers on the line to executives at your headquarters
Learn More About Stratus Innovations Group’s Intelligent Factory Solution Offering
Columbus, L. (2017, December 10). 2017 Roundup of internet of things forecasts. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2017/12/10/2017-roundup-of-internet-of-things-forecasts/#3dbdc3561480