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Gain a Data Edge

Justin Kolterman


Move Towards More Proactive, Data-Driven Maintenance

Does this sound familiar?

Your technicians are spending the first several hours of their day going around and looking at multiple pieces of equipment – checking for leaks, topping off oil, taking temperature and vibration readings, etc.

It’s hard to blame them. They have no other way of knowing what’s going on inside them. If this is the situation in your facility, it’s time to ask: Can your facility afford to accept these routine, non-value-added activities? Isn’t it time to move from fighting fires to taking preventive, productive action?

Too many companies today are not using equipment data to their advantage. Accessing and applying relevant data has the potential to give your operation a significant edge.

Think of the possibilities. New technologies are increasingly capable of monitoring, collecting and transmitting all kinds of data regarding equipment and lubricant performance. In the case of lubrication, parameters could include temperature, viscosity, oil level and more. Pairing this monitoring with data analysis could help you:

  • Identify equipment that needs attention and why, so you can go directly to a problem instead of making routine rounds.
  • Uncover trends, enabling you to continuously fine-tune equipment performance.
  • Anticipate failure/malfunction risks based on changing operating modes – so you can prevent problems before they occur. 

In other words, data could go a long way toward instilling a greater sense of confidence on your team. So, how do you become more data driven?

Let’s take a quick, simple look.

Start Collecting Data

Collecting data related to equipment and lubricant can be hard to get. But Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology can make it a lot easier. Wireless sensing devices and cloud-based software continuously monitor and collect data related to the equipment and lubricant. These devices have the potential to put those non-value-added activities in the past.

Interpreting the Data

Dashboards play a crucial role in helping you to examine, analyze, interpret, and question the data. Having all the historical and current data in one location – dashboards provide a holistic view of important information.

However, being data-driven is more than just collecting and viewing copious amounts of data. It’s about what you can make of the data. Data alone is not going to help you. It is leveraging the insights available from the collection and trending of data to make more informed decisions. Making decisions backed by metrics and facts, instead of the gut, can ensure effective action by your team.

Act on the Data 

If you’re only reacting to a value in a red alert on your dashboard, you aren’t using data to its full potential. Greater value comes from predicting when problems will occur and acting on them prior to happening. Getting this information integrated into tasks, work orders, projects, changes orders, and other actions may be the most essential element of data collection.

The Rise of Data-Driven Maintenance

More and more facilities are discovering the benefits of applying data and analytics to drive maintenance. Before resorting to visual inspections or reacting to failures they are interpreting and acting on the data they are provided with – overall offering significant cost savings and increasing the bottom line.