Prognostics is difficult. Forecasting the failure of your machinery takes a great deal of experience and time, commodities that are respectively rare and in short supply!
With the advent of cloud computing and Industry 4.0 (connected machinery), it’s now possible to remotely monitor your factory machinery for failure and use that information for predictive maintenance (saving a lot of money).
With the aforementioned short supply of experience and time, monitoring machinery manually can be time consuming and expensive; a number of tools to automate this are starting to become available and to help you evaluate them, we’ve put together a short checklist:
What level of hardware investment is required?
Some solutions are only compatible with specific hardware and may not work correctly if you already have some condition monitoring in place. Refitting hardware is a costly and unnecessary expense to be avoided. The prognostics tool you choose should be capable of interfacing with whatever hardware and factory historians you already use.
- Is it compatible with other systems?
Some application developers sell a whole ‘solution stack’ which means that you’re locked in to their technology and can’t change solutions should you find something that better fits your business as it grows. It’s important for the solution you adopt to be compatible with software systems not developed by the developer of the prognostics tool that you are evaluating and so uses standard and easy to use technologies like RESTful web services. You’ll also want to ensure that the developer has good working relationships with other industrial automation software providers to make sure that you don’t have to take on the time-consuming role of middle-man.
- How easy is it to use?
The most advanced applications can be useless if those meant to benefit from it can’t access the power hidden away. Is the application you’re looking at going to be able to provide you the information you need to know within seconds of accessing it or are you going to have to navigate complex functions and have to do any manual interpretation of the condition monitoring or prognostics information it is giving you?
- Is it cloud-based?
Beyond meaning that there is nothing to install if you want to use the application and that it should be compatible with mobiles and tablets as well as standard desktop PCs, cloud computing offers the ability for an application to learn from thousands of machines at the same time, giving benefits to all users of that platform.
Many condition monitoring installations require manual installation and configuration which means you can forget about using them when you’re out of the office to keep an eye on things.
- It is actually prognostics?
Prognostics is relatively new term compared to condition monitoring and it can be easy to get the two confused. Essentially condition monitoring evaluates the current state and prognostics determines how long the machine is able to continue working for you. We’ve explained this further here.
Make sure that the tool you’re evaluating isn’t just a condition monitoring tool, so it doesn’t just tell you when your machine is broken but when it’s going to break, so that you can plan and implement your predictive maintenance correctly.
We’ve developed an easy to use, cloud-based condition monitoring and prognostics software tool to automatically forecast machine failure which can work with your existing systems. It provides you with warning of when machinery will stop being able to work for you and so helps you to save money and avoid downtime. Find out how it can help you by booking a demo here: