How the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionising maintenance
The Internet of Things (IoT) has seen equipment, machinery and devices all over the world given their own access to the World Wide Web, along with a unique identifier so the data they transmit back to base can be organised and monitored.
In doing so, predictive maintenance has been transformed. The Alliance for IoT Innovation (AIOTI) explains: “A company provides predictive maintenance services for products. The products have built-in sensors and communication interfaces. The predictive maintenance service is running in the cloud.
“At the customer premises the product is securely connected to the maintenance service using, for example, the customer’s network or a mobile network connection. The product has a ‘thing identifier’ that is stored in its non-volatile memory and is referenced by the maintenance service in the cloud.”
This allows equipment to be monitored for predictive maintenance needs, from restocking consumables, to fixing hardware errors before they escalate. Here are just some of the powerful applications of the IoT for predictive maintenance.
The availability of mobile network connections and public Wi-Fi means devices do not need a wired connection back to base. Remote assets can be monitored, and the presence of their data signal can itself serve as an indicator of whether maintenance is required.
Building management systems (BMS) and building automation systems can be centrally monitored, configured and controlled, not only enabling centralised admin of predictive maintenance, but also environmental targets and energy consumption.
Smart sensors and monitoring
Smart sensors can automatically detect when an error occurs. That might be a mechanical breakdown, a software error, or some other unacceptable state. Sensors can then trigger a signal back to headquarters – removing the need for round-the-clock manual monitoring of incoming data unless an alarm is received.
The IoT is always-on, providing a network connection or remote data signal is available. Alarms can be transmitted to designated individuals at home via their smartphone, tablet or other device. This means there is no need for an individual to be on-site during unsociable hours, providing someone is close enough to take action when necessary.
Identify condition and repairs
Finally, sensors don’t just tell you when an error occurs. They can also provide real-time updates about the condition of a device, identify exactly what type of error has occurred, and diagnose the kind of repair required. This allows you to dispatch the right kind of mechanic, reducing wasted time and expense, and restoring devices to working order faster.
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