We’ve been discussing a great deal about how new technologies are poised to disrupt the manufacturing landscape. Yet while the newest innovations always seem new, shiny and set to bolster production, invariably they will break down and require repair. Rexroth’s indramat and indradrive motors can last for decades but eventually they too can require maintenance. Currently, the strategy for avoiding or at least staying aware of the status of your heavy industrial equipment requires taking data – lots of it. Today most of that data is recorded by humans who roam the factory floor with a clipboard, but with the advent of new technology that may soon be a job of the past.
Routine data collection is mind numbing; you can check for yourselves by looking at the logs or at the turnover in positions assigned to the task. It’s easy to often question the value of the data as most of it isn’t actionable – that is, most of the time the machine says its healthy. But you have to take the data to see incidents coming, and unplanned maintenance activity can be costly. However, we’re increasingly living in an age where machines don’t talk to people but rather machines talk to other machines.
The convergence of remote sensing and wireless technologies has produced robust and dependable wireless sensing solutions. Wireless sensing devices like accelerometers can be permanently mounted in strategic locations on machinery throughout the plant and consistently monitor performance. This automated data collection solves the pervasive compliance issue, reduces the burden on labor, and keeps personnel away from dangerous machines.
Put simply, data collected more consistently means more avoided failures, fewer unplanned shutdowns, less unplanned maintenance activity and a safer work environment. And that’s just the beginning; we’re really only beginning to see the impacts of capturing data automatically and using it analytically to manage large industrial enterprises.