IoT Business Case: Preventative Maintenance

 In IoT Applications

Preventative and predictive maintenance for static equipment, such as printing presses, fluid pumps or power generation systems, has been around for a long time. At first, this was as simple as “oil the thing every week” or something similar. In the last 30 years, it’s evolved into a careful analysis of vibration, sound, temperature, and other variables measured directly from the equipment. This data, combined with a deep understanding of failure modes of the machine being observed, allows for very accurate, frequently-updated predictions of when that machine will fail, and why. This in turn allows for a clear assessment of changes in maintenance to save money. Maybe you only need to oil the machine once a month vs. once a week. It also allows for major maintenance to be scheduled and planned out well in advance, often saving huge amounts of money.

These same concepts apply to vehicles, remote equipment, and to an extent, even people and animals. You can monitor the vibrations off a railroad car and know when you will need to change the breaks or the wheel bearings. You can monitor vital signs on a person or animal to know how to adjust medical treatment, diet and other factors. The only difference is if the thing your measuring moves around, a wired connection to harvest all that useful data isn’t going to work very well.

Examples of preventative maintenance vary greatly by industry. Some implementations include:

  • Manufacturing – Temperature and vibration sensors can help determine when essential equipment, such as a printing press or milling machine, may need maintenance or break down.
  • Power plants – IoT-based maintenance can help ensure uninterrupted power generation for gas, wind or steam turbines, or detect maintenance needs for solar panels and other components.
  • Transportation – Sensors can keep fleets of trucks, railways and other methods of transportation in working condition by predicting when maintenance is needed.
  • Healthcare – IoT devices can alert medical professionals if a patient needs an adjustment in care or if the device itself is in need of repair.

The possible applications are seemingly endless and can provide numerous benefits to an organization. This is where the following business incentives and the new technology intersect:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Legal compliance
  • Reputation protection

What assets does your company use? How much time does your organization spend on maintenance? Would you be more profitable if you were able to predict when work was needed? Could identifying potential problems before they occur benefit your reputation and maintain organizational compliance? At F3, we can help you address these questions and incorporate the right technologies into your business.

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