There’s a lot of noise in the market about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and the promise of unplanned downtime being reduced, productivity increasing, and operations tapping into previously unobtainable insights. How does the promise of IIoT stack up with the realities of industrial plants that could be 50 years old, who have a mix of largely uncensored assets, and that don’t have the capital replacement funds available to modernize? This reality is a stark reminder that the promise of Industry 4.0 is a journey of digital transformation which requires innovative approaches to balance cost and innovation.
An area where I see a lot of upside for improvement is optimizing maintenance by digitizing asset data collection. In my experience as a maintenance professional, there’s a huge focus on data collection, however it’s paper based. Paper logs get lost or are infrequently reviewed, and their actions rarely make it into the CMMS/EAM system for further action. Older handhelds are slow, not often connected to networks, and users have difficulty with their small fixed keyboards and low-resolution screens.
Based on a pulse of the webinar audience, we learned that:
1) 63% of the attendees mostly rely on paper forms
2) 60% of the attendees didn’t have sensors on at least half of their fleet of equipment
There’s a burgeoning realization that companies need to collect data in a way that not only reduces operator workload but helps them recognize and resolve plant issues quickly and efficiently. Digitizing field data collection from uncensored assets is a step can create a bridge to the connected plant. Leveraging modern computing devices for maintenance rounds provides operators and engineers with bright, easy-to-use screens, and intuitive and customizable interfaces with real-time connectivity to asset health information, enabling data driven decision making. This approach results in data being more consistent, accurate, and actionable and provides real-time feedback for maintenance planners. Some of the key outcomes I’ve seen first-hand include: increase in equipment availability, reduction in parts inventory, and reduction in reactive maintenance.
When considering a mobile field data collection initiative, here are five important strategies to follow for success:
I recently co-hosted a webinar with Ken Latino, APM Sr. Product Manager at GE Digital, with the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) to discuss how mobile field data collection can act as the bridge to the “connected” plant. You can watch it on-demand at the SMRP website here.
Predix Asset Performance Management (Predix APM) is a suite of software and service solutions design to help optimize the performance of your assets. Predix APM connects disparate data sources and uses advanced analytics to turn data into actionable insights while fostering collaboration and knowledge-management across an organization.