The CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, was the first to use the term machine wearables when he referred to to the practice of retrofitting industrial equipment with wireless sensors to capture data about machine performance in real-time. The sensor data is then used to identify equipment maintenance needs before they become breakdown issues, increase factory productivity, enhance life of legacy manufacturing equipment and lower costs. Although B2C IoT applications still addresses for 60% percent of the consumer wearables market, B2B industrial applications around condition monitoring are increasing annually giving rise to another IOT category – the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT).
IIoT Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) is the subset of IoT, targeted specifically at manufacturing industrial applications for condition monitoring. Industrial Internet of things is about the inter-connectivity of machine to machine, the sensor transmitted data exchange, and its benefits to the smart factory / manufacturing industry. But, for these high value equipment to be considered a part of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) they need the capability to “communicate” to each other. Fortunately, industrial and technology companies such as RipplesIOT have been able to achieve this by creating retrofit wireless sensor modules that connect devices and allow them “talk” using machine wearables.
Wireless sensor modules and connected equipment
The IIOT is more common than you, shop floor managers and maintenance teams may realize. For example, every time you access the camera from your smartphone you are using IOT. Essentially, the IIOT works in a similar fashion but is developed specifically for larger factory assets and manufacturing plants. The high value equipment communicates via wireless sensors that measure temperature, humidity, air quality, pressure, vibration, tilt, shock, noise etc. The shop floor premise behind this setup is that smart factory machines which perform better than the smartest of shop floor managers, at capturing, analyzing, and communicating large amounts of real-time data using machine wearables.
Deployment of Machine Wearable Sensor Technology
Incorporating machine wireless sensor technology with a manufacturing plant equipment can deliver considerable improvements in different aspects of their daily operations. Some ways which businesses are using it includes the following.
Manufacturing: With IIOT technologies, factories are becoming more smart and software-defined. Factory owners are having RipplesIOT wireless sensors fitted on fork lifts, conveyor belts, hydraulic machines, cutters, gas compressors, etc. to enable automation and wireless remote monitoring and enhance almost every stage of factory production.
For instance, European aircraft maker Airbus has launched its “factory of the future” to streamline manufacturing operations, reduce human errors, and improve workers’ safety to comply with the industrial policy norms. This manufacturing plant is a digital one, with wireless sensors on high value equipment (as depicted in the diagram above) and tools in the plant and manned by staff fitted with industrial machine wearable technology.
Proactive Maintenance : Wireless Sensors fitted on a high value physical asset transmit information on how that piece of equipment is operating directly to a wireless exchange network from where it is interpreted into human and supervisory applicable information using data visualisation tools. With time, this sensor data analysis reveals a pattern of events that are responsible for equipment failure (anomaly detection) and can warn maintenance team of potential problems.
Based on this timely information, supervisors and maintenance teams can then plan to have equipment repairs done well ahead of expected machine failure. This exchange of information and generating of proactive actionable insights is the crux of Predictive Maintenance (PdM).
Machine wearables and proactive maintenance
A great advantage of this type of IIOT assisted maintenance planning becomes evident when one considers a warehousing business or manufacturing unit that owns hundreds or even thousands of high value equipment. Imagine that in order to free up the maintenance team and allow them time to focus on mission-critical plant and machinary, such a enterprise concern decides to adopt Total Productive Maintenance or Predictive Maintenance using retrofit condition monitoring solutions.
Surely in the above proactive monitoring, with maybe thousands of equipment under the care of different supervisors and floor managers, it would be easier to monitor using machine wearables based on wireless sensors, each equipment and keep them running efficiently. See how wireless condition monitoring works.