What data analytic solutions are available today for both process and factory industrial applications, and what tips and advice can you give for successful integration of these solutions into legacy systems? Thomas Mueller, Director of Sales & Marketing (EMEA) at Shiratech, a leading international provider of Industry 4.0 solutions, explains:
“Maintenance in the industrial environment has long since graduated from being a reactive function based on components being ‘run to failure’ – with all the unplanned downtime, safety risks and associated issues this creates – to a highly analytical process reliant on real-time information to support decision-making in the areas of maintenance and component replacement.
Central to this is accurate monitoring of the condition of components within machinery – properties relating to vibration, magnetic-field, temperature and acoustics, depending on the specific component and application in question.
Harnessing data in these areas enables ongoing analysis of the issues which may be causing components to fail prematurely and enables maintenance to be scheduled at a time when interruptions to production will be least damaging. Root cause analysis is indeed a central pillar of many industrial maintenance strategies, even more so as Industry 4.0 takes hold.
To gather and make the most of this information in the modern factory or production environment, Edge AI technologies such as intelligent condition monitoring and anomaly detection solutions provide a rapid link between the sensor and the cloud. They provide key data in real-time for trend analysis, smart predictive maintenance and calculation of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), whether the maintenance function is managed on-site or remotely.
Modern, plug & play systems such as the iCOMOX (short for Intelligent Condition Monitoring box) are specifically designed to be rapid and simple to deploy for multiple device management in conjunction with legacy systems. They typically include embedded software and an on-board time-domain, as well as Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analytics for condition-based maintenance (CBM) of all types of industrial including machinery, production lines and structures. Meanwhile, user-configurable sensor interrupts give users the flexibility to activate the system on detection of specific events and thresholds.
These systems will typically also be supplied with a range of adapters, to enable rapid and easy attachment a broad range of legacy industrial equipment, and are designed to withstand the rigours of the factory floor, being housed in compact, rugged enclosures, compliant with international standards such as IP66 for ingress protection. Purchasers should also check that their chosen system is CE and FCC marked.
The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is opening up multiple opportunities to improve current practices and develop new services that can enable equipment providers to become service partners to their customers. Intelligent condition monitoring is a powerful tool in the kit, which can enable predictive maintenance as well as helping improve new product designs in the longer term.
Choosing a turnkey sensor-to-cloud platform of this kind enables companies to implement an end-to-end condition monitoring solution with minimal investment, and quickly begin exploring the benefits which are achievable.
These solutions are seeing broader and broader usage internationally – for example, iCOMOX has been selected by Arrow Electronics and Siemens MindSphere for Siemens’ MindSphere predictive maintenance cloud platform.”