Infusing New Operational Intelligence into Old Equipment

Posted 23 March 2018 by Jon Rabinowitz

A client of ours recently installed energy sensors across two areas of their facility. One area is significantly old using good practice equipment for the time, the other brand new and utilising advancements in equipment technology. Both areas are similarly sized and perform the same operation, however, measuring energy performance between the old and new will provide our client with real insights when making future strategic decisions.

internet of things enterprise infographic

While our client operates a large portfolio of facilities around the North Island, they are using this specific site as a sandbox environment, a testbed to trial new initiatives as they look to upgrade and replace existing equipment at their other facilities.

Utilising real-time energy data to measure performance against a range of benchmarks will allow them to verify performance gains and deliver insights into which areas should be prioritised in their long-term business plan.

Non-intrusive wireless energy sensors that can be easily moved to measure other areas, combined with powerful cloud-based software reporting tools provide a cost-effective and flexible way to build business cases.

The following article, written by Jon Rabinowitz at Panoramic Power, highlights the fact that, with Internet of Things (IoT), businesses can now test ideas in a quick and cost-effective manner while collecting valuable data for future decision making.


 

The Internet of Things has exploded onto the scene and with it a slew of potential business applications. In navigating this terra nova, most decision makers take their cues from the competition, afraid of wading too far into the unknown. This is reasonable, of course, but it’s also a big mistake.

Smart business owners and managers should know that they don’t need to resign themselves to the role of a follower in order to hedge their bets and mitigate their exposure to risk. You can lead and be cautious at the same time!

A False Dichotomy in Applied Internet of Things Investment

Consider, for example, the business value of smart, self-reporting assets. These assets hold the promise of constantly refined operational processes, reduced maintenance costs (as issues are caught and corrected in the earliest stages before degradation occurs), extended lifecycles and the elimination of unplanned downtime.

Still, few things ever go exactly according to plan and deliver quite as advertised. So it’s understandable that prudent decision makers might set expectations below the promised value. Add to that the fact that overhauling and replacing the entirety of your asset infrastructure is incredibly expensive and a terrible disruption to operations.

It’s easy to see why some business owners and managers might prefer to sit back and let “the other guys” take the lead in implementing Internet of Things into their business operations. But easy to see and right are two very different things.

The right approach is significantly more nuanced, as the rationale presented above is built on a false dichotomy. Your choice isn’t between sitting back and doing only what the other guy already succeeded at or totally replacing all your critical assets. There’s a world of options spanning the divide between those two.

The Golden IoT Mean: New Operational Intelligence, Old Equipment

Science and technology are both predicated on the principle of testing and your business should be the same. It always makes sense to “pilot” new technologies or techniques before deploying them at large. Beyond that though, using advanced Internet of Things technologies and tools, you can infuse new operational intelligence into old equipment without replacing anything.

Until your industry has reached a “mature” state in its development and integration of IoT technologies, this is the best way to mitigate risk without forfeiting access to value while it’s still a comparative advantage.

Using smart, non-intrusive energy sensors – each about the size of a 9-volt battery – you could retrofit past-gen assets to enable next-gen operational intelligence. Simply snap a sensor onto the circuit feeding the intended asset. No need to suspend operations; no need for complicated installation.

After your sensors are in place, enter the corresponding ID numbers into the mapping console. Immediately, these sensors will begin reporting granular energy data, pumped through an advanced, machine-learning analytics platform, and turning out new operational intelligence to be acted upon.

In this manner, facility managers can give a voice to their critical assets, allowing for advanced operational automation, predictive maintenance and generally increased production.

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