Operating fine-tuned machines located in harsh, remote environments is not for the faint-hearted, but the Internet of Things (IoT) can make it easier.
Wind power is a great example of this. Imagine giant turbines sitting offshore. Every day there are potential hazards – wind, waves, heat, cold. Hardware can be damaged, sensitive electronics destroyed, resulting in customers being deprived of reliable power.
There are some lessons to be learned from this industry. IoT remote monitoring is already being used for connected equipment to deliver greater efficiency, cost performance, uptime, and customer value. So, what can equipment makers in other industries who want to make smart, connected products learn from their success?
There are some challenges. In a new report, IoT Brings Firms With Remote Assets Closer To Their Customers, Forrester outlines three of them for industrial IoT (IIoT):
Challenge 1: Communicating with remote assets
Wind power is an extreme example—most industrial facilities aren’t located dozens of miles offshore. Factories may be closer, but it is impractical to connect hundreds or thousands of sensors to the cloud for collecting and analyzing the data. Instead, processing data on the edge, close to the source of information, reduces latency, increases security and cuts networking costs. IoT edge computing is the key to fast analytics, no matter where your asset is located.
Challenge 2: Integrating hardware with software
Information technology (IT), the domain of enterprise systems and data processing, and operational technology (OT), which manages and controls industrial operations in near-real time, are two very distinct environments in a factory. Bridging that IT-OT gap can generate deeper insights from IoT edge data and take actions to deliver better services. IoT application and data integration is key to generate the most value from industrial IoT.
Challenge 3: Lifting the conversation above asset management
While, it’s true that most smart equipment makers start with remote monitoring to learn how products are being used, Industrial IoT can deliver value far beyond that. From there, predictive maintenance is a natural next step by analyzing the data from IoT remote monitoring (including applying machine learning) to anticipate problems before they arise and reduce downtime for customers. And, with overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), smart machine makers can deliver the trusted standard for measuring machine availability, performance and quality.
Remote asset management is just the beginning
But that’s just the start. As they climb the IoT maturity curve, they can differentiate their products through new services and performance.
At the height of this IoT maturity curve, manufacturers can transition from equipment sales to equipment-as-a-service (EaaS) business models. Customers see reduced up-front expenses and costs that scale with their needs, manufacturers can build a longer-term relationship that includes high-margin services. The ROI for smart products starts here and many of our customers at Software AG are moving up the IoT maturity curve.
Here are just a few:
Nordex, one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, is using IoT remote monitoring at the edge to improve real-time operations at its wind farms. With a platform that enables it to manage up to 5,000 real-time parameters, it can monitor, gather, and process real-time data, and remotely manage equipment. It has been able to cut the cost of energy by 2% through minimization of operations and maintenance and increase total annual energy production by 1-2%.
Dürr, which makes and services robotic paint stations used by major vehicle manufacturers, is using IoT at the edge to seamlessly record all data from the automotive painting process. With this approach it is reducing errors, lowering manufacturing costs, and accelerating the speed of decision-making.
SMC, which specializes in manufacturing pneumatic equipment for manufacturers, is using IoT at the edge to deliver predictive maintenance and real-time insights. With “smart field analytics,” SMC can deliver the granular data that its customers demand and help them achieve their sustainability, money saving, and efficiency goals, plus much more.
Do you have challenges with implementing IoT remote monitoring in your industrial facilities? Read the Forrester report to learn more and see the benefits achieved by those who have embraced the IoT.