Over the last decade and a bit, a new term has emerged in the technology space. This term is the “Internet of Things”, and by now, in 2021, it’s practically mainstream.
In its most simple definition, the Internet of Things describes a network of physical devices (which can be anything from a car to a mobile phone) that are connected to the internet. These devices are the “things”. And they’re connected to the Internet by multiple sensors, and other pieces of hardware and software they’re fitted with, to collect and share data.
It’s in this context that machine monitoring and the Internet of Things are interconnected.
Using IoT for machine monitoring
IoT opens up enormous opportunities for businesses.
IoT is a big topic, but generally provides a firm with a massive industrial platform to run production activities.
Previously businesses that manufacture machines, from fridges to tractors, coffee machines to airplanes, have had no way to understand how their products performed once they left the warehouse floor.
Now, with the capabilities IoT technology opens up, this is no longer the case.
Performance can be measured, and enhanced, no matter where the machine is located, even remotely.
This is a win/win development for both manufacturers and customers.
As machines are monitored with web connectivity, any hiccup in the running of the machines can be quickly addressed. Or, in many cases, completely avoided.
Best of all, the different components that make up the machines can be consistently tweaked and optimised to enable a better performance.
This functionality is what makes machine monitoring so exciting. For example, in the case of the aviation sector, machine monitoring is part of the process used to help fleets become more fuel efficient and thereby reduce emissions.
Running a business this way creates time efficiencies, boosts productivity and reduces downtime.
That’s a word that can strike fear into any firm’s heart, since downtime doesn’t simply mean that a machine is not working. It means that revenue is being lost every minute the machine is out of operation.
With IoT technologies, a real-time check can be kept on equipment 24/7. Data is immediately processed and interpreted via dashboards that can be viewed on tablets, laptops, desktops or smartphones. Based on what the data is revealing, managers can take immediate action to fend off a problem or increase productivity.
This is probably one of the most essential benefits IoT offers organisations that have implemented a machine monitoring system.
Increasingly, more industries and sectors are turning to IoT technologies to avail of the benefits and profits that can be gained.
Implementing a machine monitoring system is often the first step in building a full IoT suite of solutions within a company. Large and complex machines require constant monitoring to ensure as few breakdowns happen as possible.
Machines don’t work in isolation either. Therefore, it’s critical that individual machines, as well as the broader environment in which they function, are constantly monitored.
With this technology in place, long-term sustainability and the ability to scale become a given.
Machine health monitoring enables better planning
As already noted, a machine going down is more than an inconvenience. It becomes a severe drain on revenue (and profit) for the period of time it is down for.
A healthy company in no small way relies on healthy machines. In many instances, machine monitoring is called machine health monitoring for precisely this reason.
As much as we’d like them to, machines don’t work forever without requiring some attention and maintenance. A machine (health) monitoring system provides managers, executive teams and operational staff to supervise the equipment, from the largest machine to the smallest component, in their organisation to identify any impending faults.
This, in turn, means that maintenance time can be planned in a way that causes as little disruption as possible and prevents a failure of the entire system.
In no small way, a machine monitoring system is a way to future-proof a firm. By identifying and isolating a fault at the earliest stage possible, a large, and potentially catastrophic, failure can be avoided. This also negates the need for scheduled maintenance times that may not be fully aligned with business needs.
In the types of companies we work with at DreamTec Systems, there is a focus on including care for machinery among the asset management protocols within the firm.
The reason for this focus is twofold:
- Preempt machine breakdowns – and avoid them as far as possible
- Optimise for productivity, efficiency and create the conditions to scale
We’ve already shared how a machine monitoring system can prevent losing revenue by keeping tabs on a machine’s performance. However, it can also reduce operational costs.
Once a machine monitoring system has eliminated possible machine failures, budget that would have been spent on maintenance costs can be deployed elsewhere. Many companies find this to be one of the most compelling reasons to implement a machine monitoring system.
Forecast multiple scenarios with IoT and machine monitoring
IoT and machine monitoring technologies are also able to forecast different outcomes based on the data being collected from a machine network.
This allows an executive team to model a variety of scenarios, and make assessments about business viability, without needing to stop existing production patterns.
We work with a variety of businesses of different sizes. One of the key features about an IoT-powered machine monitoring system is that it can be completely customised for an individual business.
Contact us if you’re keen to explore how to transform your business using a technological platform. Our experience in designing and implementing machine monitoring systems has shown us and our clients how this solution can make your industrial machinery more productive and efficient.