What is Remote Monitoring Equipment?

Remote monitoring equipment has been in use for some time. It can be so simple as someone going out to a site to check the condition of sensors and gauges, or it can be a battery of cameras and an audio tape the monitors those same sensors and gauges and transmit their signal to another location.
The new means of remote monitoring is through the Internet of Things (IoT).

What Might I Want to Monitor?

  • A temperature gauge for over-heating
  • The location of an asset
  • The amount of vibration an asset is generating
  • If a machine contracted to a client site is running smoothly
  • How to make an asset work more efficiently by monitoring and assessing optimal operating conditions

Knowing this information can allow for preventative maintenance and help save expensive downtime of machines. You will be able to respond more rapidly to maintenance issues that do arise.

Limitations of Traditional Forms of Remote Monitoring

Sending someone out to a remote site for monitoring on a regular basis does not help for those times between visits. Also, video and audio monitoring are only effective when someone is watching the video. Some remote sites do not have the ability to power a video camera.

Industrial Internet of Things 

Because of the new infrastructure of the Internet of Things, industries can attach sensors to devices and wirelessly transmit the data from the sensors on a machine to a cloud in the internet. The cloud software provides a dashboard of sensor data. Software in the cloud can be programmed to alert key personnel of certain conditions present in the sensors. For example, a maintenance worker can be alerted with an email when a device stays at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for over a half an hour. The Internet of Things can allow technicians and other key personnel to intervene when conditions demonstrate the need to attend to the asset.

Also, the software can be programmed to respond to certain conditions and activate other devices or change the machine’s settings. The IoT cloud can also track data from sensors over time, gathering data in the search for optimal settings.

Steps in Creating an Internet of Things for Remote Industrial Monitoring

Step 1: What is Your Business Objective for IoT?

There are questions you need to answer when thinking about installing IoT system:

  • Is your goal to determine when to perform preventative maintenance?
  • Is your goal to get maintenance workers out at the first sign of a machine that is no longer working effectively?
  • Are you trying to determine the optimal settings for machine efficiency and long life?
  • Do you want the IoT to catch a dangerous situation and reset a device before there is a failure?

You may have multiple goals, but you need to decide upon the goals before you begin placing sensors on your assets.

Step 2: Fully Profile Each Asset

You will want to determine where each asset is physically located that is related to this IoT goal. You will also need to determine what data is needed, how to connect to the device, and what the connection protocol will be. You will also need to decide who will have access to the data and what security will need to be provided.

In some cases, you may have sensors with such sensitive data that they will not be connected via the IoT software cloud. Instead, those sensors with more sensitive data may have to be connected via other methods, such as gateways that can route the data through a more secure location.

Step 3: Provide for Security in All Phases of Data Transmission

Data needs to be secure at the device, through the gateway, in the cloud, and as it is transmitted to staff cellular devices.

Step 4: Profile the Data

  • What is the type of data – Temperature, vibration, throughput, etc.?
  • How frequently do you need the data transmission?
  • Where are you getting the data and where will you store it?

What New Procedures Will Accompany the IoT to Ensure Business Objectives?

  • What events will begin an alert process?
  • What is the series of events in the alert?
  • What is the response procedure for either the IoT cloud software or a maintenance technician to the alert?
  • When a technician responds to the alert, how can they change the priorities of their work at hand?

Step 5: Scaled Trial Before Full Implementation

It is better to conduct a trial with one set of assets or on one site before doing a large scale implementation. This allows for tweaking of the IoT system. You may discover that you need more data from more sensors. You may find that the rules of implementation will need to be tweaked as well. Also, you will be able to take the IoT data and optimize your machine usages, operating conditions, and workflow in order to achieve the business goals of the IoT implementation.

Conclusion

The Industrial Internet of Things is an exciting new means of optimizing the use of your business assets. By constantly being able to remotely monitor and change settings on devices, you can run machines at their optimal settings.

Also, you can eliminate downtime from out of service assets. You can save the time of your maintenance personnel by eliminating unnecessary drives to remote locations. Solutions can be created that allow the cloud software to change settings on machines in the case of sub-optimal conditions, like over-heating.

All of this can help save money and employee time and help your industrial sites operate more efficiently with less outlay for repairs.