Predictive maintenance has always been a highly intriguing area for Industries. You need to be a domain expert to talk about it, understand it, or even given an opinion.

There is a shift in how industries operate and maintain their equipment. Increased productivity pressures and high uptime demands of equipment combined with a shortage of qualified maintenance personnel are driving facilities to rely more on predictive maintenance tools (PdM).

It has become imperative that the maintenance of the equipment becomes easier. We have different ways of predicting an equipment failure. One very important metric is vibration. In the old days, or I would say even today in certain facilities. You have trained, skilled maintenance professionals who take a tour of our facility, listen to the noise made by equipment, Touch the equipment, and will tell you if there is something wrong. Just as a doctor, holds our nerves and tells our ailments, without running any tests. This method cannot be scaled and is prone to human errors.

In modern days, we rely more on tests, probes and electrical signals. There came probes that are mounted on the equipment, that can give out signals based on the vibrations on the equipment. This signal is then plotted like an ECG, and a skilled professional understands the plot of the signal and can predict abnormalities, to give you an early indication of a failure, or a downtime. This process is time-consuming and not all industries can afford such expensive resources. Further mounting these probes wiring them to a particular transmitter or a plotter or electronics is challenging. The critical equipment is mounted in varied locations and conditions wherein it is not possible to install electronic panels, and hence these probes need to be wired, all the way to the control room, hundreds of meters away.

Today’s wireless technology can eliminate these long lead probes and give us a lot of freedom. The latest technology is mounting wireless sensors on a piece of equipment, which can send out signals up to hundreds of meters so that you need not worry about running cables. These wireless signals are then logged into smart software, which can give you complete insights into your equipment performance. This smart software helps us to run AI-based analytics so that maintenance personnel can get advanced information of a problem that may occur, saving expensive downtime.

Manufacturers want the highest OEE on their assets. Predictive maintenance is the weapon to improve the overall efficiency of the equipment. PdM has come a long way! Early technology adopters are reaping the benefits of technology. IoT + AI + Cloud Computing has given us the power to have early and advance information on our smartphones and mobile devices.

Pima Controls Pvt. Ltd. is an ISO 9001:2015 Certified professionally managed Company focused on Distribution and Supply of Industrial Automation and Electrical Products and Services, partnering with world-renowned quality companies since 1986. They help Machine Builders and End Users carry out Predictive Maintenance strategies.

Author: Vineet Parikh, Ahmedabad

Business Leader, Investor, Industrial Automation Consultant

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