Supplement Condition Monitoring Networks with Alarms
As manufacturers increasingly invest in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology, and build out more robust digital infrastructure, specific use-cases are emerging as primary practices. One major frontrunner is condition monitoring. Real-time data insight about machine operation have made it possible to prevent breakdowns and administer service based on reliable data. But to make the most of an intelligent condition monitoring system, manufacturers must also incorporate intelligent alarm systems.
Where a simple IIoT system relays the data and triggers preprogrammed alerts, intelligent alarm systems can actually shut down machines or make operating adjustments to thwart breakdowns. It’s the next step in automated manufacturing operations and a significant shift in the direction of dark factories.
A first line of defense against downtime
Unplanned downtime can cost manufacturing companies significant sums in lost profits. A 2016 report from Aberdeen Strategy and Research found downtime costs the average business $260,000 a year.
IIoT-enabled alarms are a defense against unplanned downtime. This alert technology features sensors for detecting data indicative of an impending breakdown, an alarm system for notification purposes, and operation adjustment or shutdown capabilities. These smart alarms can also be integrated to work in conjunction with existing safety systems to protect equipment, production, and factory personnel.
Integrate alarms with IIoT Devices
Companies expanding their IIoT networks can take advantage of the interconnected nature of smart factories. Alarm systems can be built in tandem with IIoT networks to work on a machine-by-machine basis and prevent an entire production line shutdown. Network engineers may build an alarm to trigger a diversion from one machine to another, so if one machine breaks down, another can pick up the slack without significant interruptions to production. As technology continues to develop, more complex and sophisticated if/then processes will become available, and networked machine alarms will grow even more prevalent
The benefits of IIoT-enabled alarms
Proper installation and set-up of IIoT-enabled alarm systems helps companies save money and run more efficiently. Some of the top benefits of these systems include:
- Increased safety. IIoT-enabled alarms alert employees of a problematic machine and allows them time to clear the area if necessary.
- Increased productivity. Since some IIoT-enabled alarm systems can trigger diversion between machines, manufacturers won’t have to worry about lapses in production time.
- Increased efficiency. IIoT-enabled alarm systems help operators understand the causes of a machine shutdown and pave the way for condition monitoring solutions.
To reap the benefits of these systems, it’s essential for manufacturers to properly train staff on the operation of IIoT-enabled alarms. Improper installation or operation could end up costing a company more in downtime the alarms can and should prevent. And, as with all manufacturing equipment, it’s important to address alarm system issues as soon as they arise.
A step closer to dark factories
Dark factories — automated facilities with a limited onsite workforce — are a concept closely associated with a tech-driven manufacturing future. They have the potential to transform the industry, but they can’t come to fruition as long as factory equipment management relies on human attention and intervention. There’s still much to consider before manufacturers turn off facility lights, but condition monitoring and intelligent IIoT alarms bring manufacturing one step closer to a dark factory future.