We’ve talked before about the importance of monitoring equipment for safety and improved productivity, but how can you set up your systems and equipment in a way that makes this level of monitoring easy? And how does the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) play into your decisions and monitoring processes?
With today’s technology, it’s possible to monitor your foundry, mining, or materials processing equipment. Using sensors, apps, and predictive software, you can actually be notified of problems or inconsistencies before anyone on the floor or in your facility ever notices a concern. The days of unexpected downtime can be virtually eliminated thanks to Industry 4.0 and all of the technological advances it brings.
Of course, the benefits of this are self-evident, but the process to get there isn’t as obvious. How do different facilities adopt this sort of monitoring — and what will it cost?
When it comes to setting up monitoring systems that connect your capital equipment to the IIOT, there are generally two ways to go about it:
In many cases, sensors are a great way to retrofit your existing systems without spending a ton of money on the frontend. Devices like General Kinematics’ APEX™ accelerometer is a mobile tool for maintenance that allows you to attach a monitor to your capital equipment and get readings on the performance of multiple equipment units via the free smartphone app. It also notifies the need for service and maintenance on your vibratory equipment. These sensors work great for on-the-go crews, especially when they need to read real-time data on speed, throughput, frequency, and other data points.
At GK, our new equipment is being designed and sold with IIOT in mind. For a more permanent tracking solution that is directly integrated with your equipment, an innovation like VERTEX™ can collect and report on data 24/7. This comes standard on all of GK’s new equipment. Since all data is stored on this type of device, technicians can read a quick overview of the unit’s performance on the spot. Of course, you don’t have to be physically near the sensors to take advantage of them.
Portable monitoring devices that are connected to a vibration monitoring smartphone app via Bluetooth increase efficiency and analytic measurement capabilities.
Collectively, the components of the BARRIER™ system offer full data collection and reporting options that are already set into the equipment. With an upgrade to NOMADX®, you also get GK Field Service so you know someone is always monitoring your equipment, 24/7/365. Once you purchase your new equipment, all you need is a WiFi connection and a smartphone to get BARRIER up and running.
Here at GK, we know that IIOT is making monitoring easier than ever for our customers, and we’re here to make sure it’s accessible and beneficial. But there are also some considerations to keep in mind as you invest in new sensors or equipment to streamline your operations.
As you upgrade your monitors or equipment to meet the new standards of Industry 4.0, we’d like to offer a word of caution. These systems are no longer just manual, nor are they reported on with pen and paper. These systems are robust and use the internet to collect, store, and share data. That means they are also susceptible to the same risks as any device attached to the internet: hackers, internet malfunctions, and cyber-threats.
While hackers can’t hijack your capital equipment the same way they can hijack your personal computer, they can do a lot of damage. And data security is important, especially in highly regulated or competitive fields. We want to make it clear that working with reliable, innovative, and properly educated companies is critical. Equipment development teams need to understand how to create systems that mitigate cyber risks while also maintaining the same quality of monitoring.
After all, a tool that creates a weak point for your operation isn’t worth the investment. That’s why GK works hard to ensure that our monitoring and IIOT systems are top-of-the-line, properly supported by our team of experts, and constantly updated to stay one step ahead of the industry — and IIOT — standards.
If you have a question about how GK’s BARRIER™ can make capital equipment monitoring easier and more effective, talk to a member of the GK team today!