Continuous industrial machine monitoring is a process of collecting data from machines, sensors, and other IoT devices in real-time. It provides organizations with valuable insights that can help them make informed decisions, improve operational efficiency, and reduce costs. In this article, we will discuss the importance of continuous industrial machine monitoring, its advantages, and how long-term data gathering can provide even more benefits.
Continuous industrial machine monitoring involves the use of sensors to gather data about machines, processes, and operations. This data is then analyzed to provide insights into the performance and condition of the machines. The sensors can monitor various aspects of the machine, such as temperature, pressure, vibration, and energy consumption. The data collected can be used to detect anomalies, identify potential issues before they become problems, and optimize performance.
Continuous industrial machine monitoring is becoming increasingly important in today’s world of IoT and Industry 4.0. With the advent of smart machines, organizations are now able to gather vast amounts of data that can be used to optimize almost every aspect of their operations. Continuous industrial machine monitoring provides real-time data that can be used to identify issues as they arise, allowing organizations to take corrective action quickly. This can help prevent costly downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
Early Detection of Potential Failures: By continuously monitoring machines, organizations can detect potential failures before they occur. This allows for timely repairs or replacements, reducing the likelihood of costly downtime.
Optimization of Machine Performance: Continuous monitoring enables organizations to identify inefficiencies in their operations and make improvements. This can lead to improved product quality, reduced energy consumption, and increased profitability.
Compliance with Regulations: Many industries are subject to regulations regarding machine safety and environmental impact. Continuous industrial machine monitoring can help organizations meet these regulations, avoiding fines and penalties.
Improved Decision-making: Continuous monitoring provides organizations with real-time data, enabling them to make informed decisions quickly. This data can also be used to identify trends and patterns, leading to improved decision-making over the long term.
Long-term Data Gathering Advantages: Continuous monitoring allows for the collection of data over an extended period, enabling historical analysis, the development of predictive models, and big data analysis, leading to improved efficiency and reduced costs. This allows one to build baselines and replicate the model at scale.
This being said, there are also disadvantages to continuous monitoring in particular in certain settings, as is with any method. For example:
Higher Up-front Costs: It is more expensive to continuously monitor an asset than to only check on it infrequently. This might come in the form of the monetary value of equipment or manhours. However, there are methods to mitigate these: utilizing easy-to-install wireless sensors, cost-efficient sensors, open monitoring platforms, etc.
More Complex: Real-time monitoring systems are more sophisticated; however, they are also more difficult to operate to some extent. In general, you would need better-trained or higher-qualified personnel in order to reap the full benefits of such a system. This can be costly as talent does not come cheap.
In summary, continuous industrial machine monitoring is essential for organizations looking to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and stay ahead of the competition. It enables early detection of potential failures, optimization of machine performance, compliance with regulations, improved decision-making, and long-term data-gathering advantages.
While it might not be suitable for non-mission critical assets or enterprises that prioritize speed and simplicity over efficiency it is definitely one of the best methods out there, overall.
Look at it as an investment. You implement a monitoring solution and in time get the most valuable asset there is – information. This is useful in two ways.
Firstly, you have data on how your assets perform and can make informed decisions on maintenance, production cycle, equipment upgrades, etc.
Secondly, you gain long-term insights in your company’s performance on the organization level. By identifying trends and matching data to events, you can determine if your strategy for running the business is solid and adjust where needed.
The longer you gather data, the bigger the reward!
Achieving continuous industrial machine monitoring requires the selection and installation of appropriate sensors, integration with machine monitoring software, and ongoing maintenance. There are predetermined steps that need to be taken.
Another important point is the ease of installation and maintenance. As is with the equipment they are monitoring, sensors might require some care in order for them to perform well for extended periods of time.
A sound strategy is selecting wireless sensors as it reduces installation time and at the same time improves maintenance. They are able to receive software updates and configuration changes through their connectivity to the cloud monitoring platform they are utilizing. This saves both time and money (do note that this requires a bit of upskilling of technicians).
For example, NCD Wireless sensors utilize a mixture of wireless protocols like DigiMesh, which are suited for a variety of use cases. They come with a battery life of up to 10 years and can be configured Over the Air (OTA) without the need for in-person interaction. This allows the system to function with zero on-site maintenance, which saves time and resources.
Make sure you select sensors that offer a variety of mounting options in order to ascertain you do not introduce measurement errors in your data. Additionally, it is considered a good practice to provision factory-calibrated sensors so you can avoid systematic errors in measurements. NCD adheres to these practices and the sensors it offers are factory calibrated and come with a selection of mounting options depending on their particular application.
The data collected by the sensors needs to be integrated with machine monitoring software to provide real-time monitoring and analysis. The software should be capable of collecting data from multiple sensors and displaying it in a way that is easy to understand. It should also be capable of generating alerts when anomalies are detected, allowing for timely corrective action.
The sensors should be able to connect with the most popular platforms. AWS IoT core, Azure Hub, and Losant are all widely used especially in the IoT and LPWAN field. MQTT is another popular solution for getting your data to the cloud efficiently (minimal signalling overhead).
NCD sensors support all the aforementioned platforms. They can work as a stand-alone solution if a gateway or an industrial edge computer is utilized. Alternatively, they can work with a Modem, where data is decoded and forwarded to your cloud platform of choice, utilizing a separate device hosting the Node-RED platform.
To ensure continuous industrial machine monitoring, ongoing maintenance of the sensors and software is essential. This includes regular calibration and testing of the sensors to ensure accurate data collection. The software should also be updated regularly to ensure that it is functioning correctly and providing the most up-to-date features.
In addition to these steps, it is important to have a team in place to manage the continuous industrial machine monitoring process. This team should be responsible for monitoring the data collected, analyzing it to identify issues and opportunities for optimization, and taking corrective action as necessary. This team may include data analysts, engineers, and technicians.
For the aforementioned reasons, it is essentially the devices you utilize that have complete and details documentation. Datasheets, guides and tutorials of good quality are important for staying up to date on good practices in the field. They help engineers and technicians to effectively manage not only the machines, but also the machine monitoring installation itself.
Look for equipment manufacturers that provide informative content in the form of documentation and articles, like the NCD Learn section. Make sure your product of choice has good support and an active Community space where to exchange ideas and troubleshoot issues.
This will ensure not only that you have a well-designed and deployed system, but one that stays in peak condition and up to date for a long time.
Continuous industrial machine monitoring provides many advantages for organizations that are brave enough to implement innovations in their operations. Since the process is complex and requires investments and commitment, the rewards are also big and branch out to more than just better care of the machine assets.
Deploying and utilizing such monitoring solutions enables early detection of potential failures, allowing for proactive maintenance to minimize downtime and reduce maintenance costs. By monitoring the performance of machines over time, organizations can identify trends and patterns that may indicate an impending failure. This enables maintenance teams to schedule repairs or replacements before a failure occurs, reducing downtime and avoiding costly emergency repairs.
Continuous industrial machine monitoring provides valuable data that can be used to identify inefficiencies and improve performance. By analyzing the data collected by sensors, organizations can identify areas where machines are underperforming or consuming too much energy. This information can then be used to make adjustments that improve performance, increase product quality, and reduce energy consumption.
Anomalies in energy consumption alone can save up to $50K a year alone according to some studies on small and medium businesses with factory environments. These improvements on spending are only due to optimizing working modes of equipment, they don’t even take into account potential downtime reduction and fault prevention. The benefits can be as high as 20% of all maintenance costs.
This is an important aspect of any operation. Continuous industrial machine monitoring helps organizations comply with safety and environmental regulations by providing real-time data that can be used to ensure compliance. For example, sensors can monitor emissions, noise levels, and other environmental factors to ensure compliance with local and national regulations. This can help organizations avoid fines and penalties and maintain a positive reputation with customers and regulators. Not to mention that entire businesses can be closed if they fail to comply with government standards.
It all comes to the decisions that the management of a company takes. Either they will be well-educated, data-driven ones is entirely up to them. Implementing a solution that provides real-time data, can be used to inform decision-making. By analyzing this data, organizations can identify trends and patterns that may indicate opportunities for optimization or improvement. This can help decision-makers make informed decisions that improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase revenue.
One of the most significant advantages of continuous industrial machine monitoring is the ability to gather long-term data. Collecting data over an extended period makes it easier to spot patterns. It is also more reliable as the pool of information is bigger. Something occurring once may be a fluke, occurring twice – a coincidence, but three times makes it a trend. It is also valuable to analyze the changes in time as this will inevitably show the progress that the decisions made now are driving into the future and it will also flush out the bad decisions, thus give the option for adjustment of strategy.
Long-term data gathering enables historical analysis, which is the comparison of past and present performance. As said above, by analyzing historical data, organizations can identify long-term trends, evaluate the effectiveness of past decisions, and make informed decisions based on historical performance. This enables organizations to make adjustments to their operations to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
An additional benefit comes when data is gathered over a longer period of 5 years and up. Having historic data that spans so far behind can prove that a business or facility was well maintained and ran optimally. Furthermore, the equipment was no mishandled and it is in good conditions so in the event of a sail or appraisal one could get a high value for the assets having the data to prove it.
Looking at the numbers for long enough enables the development of predictive models. By using historical data to develop predictive models, organizations can anticipate future performance and enhance decision-making. Predictive models can be used to identify potential problems before they occur, enabling organizations to take proactive measures to avoid downtime and reduce costs. This is the base of predictive maintenance.
Furthermore, baselines can be established in case the systems need to be replicated or adjusted for a new environment and settings. Having the data to build on would make a new implementation both saver and quicker to accomplish.
Long-term data gathering also enables the use of historical data in big data analytics. By analyzing large volumes of data over an extended period, organizations can identify correlations and causations that may not be apparent in short-term data. This is another tool for organizations to make informed decisions based on advanced analytics, leading to improved efficiency and reduced costs but it is way more reliable, thus the benefits are bigger.
It is evident that continuous industrial machine monitoring is a critical tool for organizations looking to optimize their operations and reduce costs. By using sensors and machine monitoring software, organizations can collect data in real-time, enabling them to make informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.
In this article, we have discussed the importance of continuous industrial machine monitoring and the benefits of long-term data gathering. We have seen how continuous industrial machine monitoring enables predictive maintenance, optimization of machine performance, compliance with regulations, and improved decision-making. Additionally, long-term data gathering enables historical analysis, the development of predictive models, and big data analysis, leading to improved efficiency and reduced costs.
We believe that continuous industrial machine monitoring is essential for any organization looking to stay ahead of the competition and improve their bottom line. We encourage managers, solution architects, solution providers, and IoT experts to consider implementing continuous industrial machine monitoring in their operations or those of their clients. By doing so, they can take advantage of the benefits discussed here and improve the efficiency and profitability of their operations.