Simply put, prognostics is the art of being able to accurately forecast when a component or machine will fail. If you’ve an afternoon spare, Wikipedia has a nice article about it with a deeper explanation.
It can be easy to confuse it with condition monitoring but it differs in the way that condition monitoring tends to focus more on the alerting of the here and now state of the machine, identifying failure as it is happening. It’s great when you know what you’re looking for but often the failures that catch you out and lead to downtime are things that you never expected to see – your condition monitoring system then become next to useless.
Prognostics is all about forecasting the risk of failure long before there is operational impact, providing a time to the failure (Remaining Useful Life, RUL). It is achieved through combining condition indicators to determine a degradation indicator that is modeled and tracked.
Think of prognostics as ‘what does this condition information tell me about sustaining real-world operations’ and condition monitoring as ‘some data that shows me what is and has been happening in things that I know to look for’.
IIoT changes everything
With the introduction of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), prognostics is going to get a lot more accessible. It’s already been used on ultra-expensive assets like the F35 but with the IIoT, the cost of similar technology is being driven down dramatically; allowing you to economically predict failure on a machine worth $100,000 instead of $116 million (the price the last time we entertained the thought of an F35C as something fun for the weekend).
Rather than spending up to millions of dollars a year on prognostics, manufacturing companies can now implement prognostic solutions for less than the cost of a specialist technician. Allowing them to avoid downtime and maximize Overall Equipment Effectiveness.
Prognosis is the means to shift from being a reactive organization to one that takes proactive action at the right time, removing operational surprises.
Want to learn more? We’re running a pilot scheme right now which could give you the chance to get early access to our prognostic & condition monitoring software, PROGNOSYS and start predicting when your machines are likely to fail, without the cost or complexity of traditional solutions.