Manufacturers have become accustomed to the presence of mobile-enabled data platforms called dashboards that display real time information about machine assets on screens. All too often, however, they have also realized that seeing such data and acting on it operationally are two very different things.
The addition of IoT functionality in the manufacturing environment is like any other investment in advanced technology. Expectations for the outcomes of such investments are best defined at the time of the purchase to assure satisfaction.
Unlock insights from critical systems
It seems intrinsically valuable – the ability to unlock insights from the production floor tied to critical systems and processes, and to see those insights from anywhere. Neither running equipment to failure nor scheduled walkbys are effective approaches to ensuring reliability and machine uptime, so data can be a powerful catalyst for continuous improvement.
A detailed analysis by Accenture and GE, however, revealed that in the Connect-Monitor-Analyze-Predict-Optimize continuum, companies reported a higher percentage of Analyze activity than Connect and Monitor over the course of IoT’s time in their industrial space. This is consistent with what we find when we talk with customers – and woefully out of sequence.
In an increasingly connected world, these findings suggest a disconnect. They suggest that the conduit for the voluminous data arrived before the connections that would drive the collection and monitoring of the right actionable data were made. The raw data may not have been correlated to the specific insights required.
What is the value of dashboards for plant professionals?
Nowadays we’re seeing plant professionals taking a step back and asking: what is the value of this dashboard I have today – or the one I will have in the future? As management of plants and other assets grows more complex, integrating automated monitoring of key performance indicators at the discrete level is a built-in safeguard against unplanned downtime or consequential damages. That is where the value begins.
Discrete IoT sees a large enterprise asset as a system of systems. Every subsystem contributes to the overall performance of the asset and expertise in that subsystem is required to predict its failure. Consider which products in a subsystem contain safety, reliability and productivity insights. Connectors, hose, tubing, pumps, motors, actuators and filters all contain them.
When plant professionals learn in real time about anomalies in values set for such variables as pressure, temperature, flow rate or particulate count against threshold values as defined by relevant standards, decisions can be made.
Now consider the example of alerts and alarms. In the inevitable failure progression a piece of untended equipment is subject to, the diminished performance of a part or component can elapse over hours, days or weeks. Notifications should arrive on the early end of the spectrum so that action can be taken before operations are disrupted.
Embedding productivity into your operations
What can you do to get on the road to paying off the investment in a dashboard and embedding productivity advances into your operations?
- First, it is crucial to harmonize the needs of the enterprise and unify all stakeholders with a common purpose. Broadly ask and answer the question, “Do we agree on where we want to be, and to that end, what we require a dashboard to tell us?”
- Second, commit to a login schedule and ownership of the process. Who will view the dashboard, why do they view it, and when do they view it? How will those insights be shared and acted upon, and how often?
Once becoming smarter via connected products is routine, you can dive deeper. An example is exporting sensor data to a spreadsheet to generate profiles and trend curves that lead to full system optimization. This includes identifying root causes of common work orders and failures because data can be aggregated in the cloud and further dissected.
The power in dashboards is only now beginning to be exploited. As part of Parker’s Voice of the Machine platform, our experts in discrete component monitoring can provide guidance on using dashboards to generate exactly the data on the critical parameters that can optimize your operation.
Learn more at www.parker.com/IoT
Article contributed by Jeff Smith, Business Development Manager, Internet of Things
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