The prospect of updating and connecting legacy machinery to the IoT can seem daunting. You may not have the expertise in-house, you’re already strapped for resources, and it seems...complex. Rest assured, there are simple and effective options that don’t require a team of NASA engineers.
Below are the 5 key steps to setting your equipment monitoring strategy up for success, once you’ve selected a vendor.
#1 - Identify mission-critical devices
In some cases, you might have backup machinery and/or the capability to divert a process or switch to manual, in order to bypass equipment that has gone offline. But for some mission-critical devices, when they go down, all operations go down with them. These are your top priorities and Phase One of your monitoring strategy should begin here.
#2 - Bring together the right people/owners/experts
These critical devices likely have a dedicated person or team who owns the maintenance and are the first on the scene to troubleshoot anomalies. But don’t be afraid to look externally too. Your vendor knows their monitoring devices just as well as your internal resources know theirs. Their expertise can ensure you have the right tools, in the right places, tracking the right data.
#3 - Identify key issues affecting those mission-critical devices
This is where your internal experts will shine. They’ll bring to the table information on ideal conditions, common anomalies, and the more fragile components of the equipment. Most importantly, they can speak to the circumstances that have commonly led to downtime in the past.
It could be as simple as monitoring temperature (to predict and prevent overheating) or vibration (to adjust something that’s gone out of balance before putting too much wear on the equipment). These will be the KPI’s you’ll track on an ongoing basis.
#4 - Get employee buy-in
Consider filling your workforce in on the “why” behind this decision, especially if they’re expected to change their processes based on the data gathered by these new monitoring efforts. These changes aren’t because they’re not doing their job well, but rather to give them better tools with which to do their job. And of course, you’ll want to educate the specific end-users who will be responsible for the devices themselves.
#5 - Establish a baseline from which to measure deviations
Now that you have all the tools in place, let the tracking begin. Allow your monitoring devices time to “learn” operating baselines and program in the thresholds that the devices will watch out for. If they have the capability, you’ll want to set up automated alerts for when those thresholds are reached.
Equipment monitoring is a marathon, not a sprint.
You may find that it’s quick to install these monitoring devices and begin tracking operations, but fine-tuning your strategy and establishing proactive and preventative maintenance procedures will be an ongoing process.
Here at Atomation, we start by asking questions, deconstructing difficult problems, and searching for the simplest solution. We don’t monitor everything—we monitor and measure only what is critical to your operational objectives. Because of our unique approach, implementing the Atomation solution is simple and affordable.