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Internet of Things - about how we can integrate sensors and other new technologies

This year we made a big step in our path. We were able to integrate the first temperature sensors into our systems, enabling us to identify equipment overheating in real-time. The sensors we are testing are wireless, so non-intrusive and very easy to mount on any type of equipment. Therefore, installation is done without wires or cables.

This event thus marks the path to the digital, technological age of maintenance. Vibration, motion and consumption sensors will also be integrated into our systems to prevent other kinds of problems. As a result, the entire ecosystem will be able to simplify the maintenance process, maximize productivity, minimize time spent troubleshooting, and increase the efficiency of maintenance procedures to the point where equipment can predict failures based on the likelihood of them occurring.

The purpose of maintenance in the digital era should be focused on prevention and not on correction!

The essence of the internet can be reduced to a lot of computers that can communicate and exchange data. But what if I want to be able to connect and make other things, besides two computers, to connect and exchange data?

Well, this is the internet of things (IoT) - the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

But what has all this got to do with maintenance, and more specifically with predictive maintenance? With the help of IoT we can facilitate the data exchange between our machines and by doing so we can assure a better overview over our everyday activity, and minimize the risk of malfunctions.

More specifically by IoT we mean one thing: sensors. Data from various types of sensors is transmitted to monitoring applications that ensure key processes are running optimally. These same sensors can also prevent unexpected downtime by predicting when parts will need to be replaced.

Here at MentDrive we have already implemented temperature sensors that can predict and prevent overheating or other temperature related malfunctions. In the near future we plan to integrate within our systems movement/vibration and consumption sensors. By doing this we can prevent almost any kind of malfunction, and give back to the customer the time and resources needed to further grow their business.

You may think all this is just a caprice of the digital era, but keep in mind that predictive maintenance is already present in our lives. Nature always finds ways to alert us if things start to go downhill. If there is a storm, usually before the actual rain falls, we hear thunder, and an almost blinding short beam of light appears in the sky. That’s all the signals we need to take action: close all windows, open the curtains, make some hot coffee and enjoy the unhingedness that unfolds outside.

But what about all the “unnatural” that we heavily rely on? All the cars, fax machines, automatic doors, coffee machines, CCTV’s and so on. What if a ‘storm’ is going to start inside them? Who is going to alert us? Who is going to tell us to ‘close the windows’ and ‘open the curtains?

The answers are “sensors”. In other words these sensors are meant to tell us if the windows must be closed, or just crack open, or changed with a more tinted one, or replace it because it was never supposed to be there a window in the first place. The outcomes are limitless but always aligned with the enterprise's best interests.

Of course, you may be thinking that without any specialized knowledge, maintaining industry equipment is a losing battle.

But our software extracts the data and translates it into an easy language, so anyone can do it. It's like having a cool tech-savvy guy in your pocket. Someone who knows how to fix every machine. Every maintenance process is built up in a checklist form, so the process itself is less scary and easier to comprehend.

And with our system starting to shift from correction to prediction, the hard work is going to be done by computers and sensors, and the maintenance workers will just have to adjust some metrics in order to keep the flow running.

We as an industry must realize that the purpose of maintenance in the digital era should be focused on prevention and not on correction!



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