Industry articles, Software

Driving Operational efficiences with IoT

Predictive and condition-based maintenance is a huge Internet of Things (IoT) use case, especially in the utilities, energy, and oil and gas industries. With low oil prices, for example, margins have been squeezed. Higher productivity and operational efficiency is required to maintain profitability.

For capital intensive industries, understanding the health of equipment in the field is critical. Should a key component in a gas install fail, for example a pump, then you are looking at a huge impact to the bottom-line. This equipment needs to be monitored and maintained to ensure it is operating at maximum efficiency.

However, just as detrimental to the bottom-line is wasteful ‘over-maintenance’. That is the replacing of parts on a fixed schedule that is more often based on historical trends and intuition. For example, replace a valve in the pump every 12 months to prevent failure regardless of the real health of that part.

What if you could know in real-time that these components were healthy and didn’t need replacing? What if you had a dashboard view with simple traffic lights and are alerted when a component‘s status turns to Amber and may need attention? What if you have a holistic view of the installation so that you can replace multiple parts at the same time and thus minimise costly down-time?

This is the power of the IoT, Data and analytics. Having critical equipment and devices connected to the Internet and stay in contact with operators via the cloud by sending real-time notifications that report on any technical problems.

Operational efficiencies are multi-faceted. Not only can you minimise costly down-time but you can use the data and real-time alerts to super-charge your supply chain logistics. For alerts about potential component failure can start a process so that the right part is delivered to the right site at the right time for the right Fitter to install. The entire process automated. This means you no longer need to stock of many critical parts based on your gut instinct of what you might need. It could also pave the way for those parts to be sent straight from your Supplier and therefore reducing your stock costs to zero. This information enables operators to improve operational efficiency, such as route optimisation, pre-emptive repairs and parts inventory.

Large-scale capital projects may require a lot of components, parts, units to be connected to the Industrial Internet of Things. This huge amount of real-time data will need sophisticated analysis to make sense of it all. We looked at how GE is approaching this challenge.

As previously mentioned, operating margins in many businesses can be small. Additionally there is the fact that Industrial IoT projects would require significant amounts to finance – this is not going to be cheap. Whilst businesses will want to see a fast time to value for such projects, the alternative of doing nothing while your competitors make the leap could threaten your very existence in the market.

The importance of data is at the heart of what Obzervr does for its customers. Getting more accurate, timely data allows Customers to make better decisions faster. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you with better data management for your fixed and mobile plant equipment.

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