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The future of CMMS Software is exciting with more and more advances in technology leading us to streamline maintenance management more and more to ultimately help businesses, both big and small, grow. The use of wireless technology has been a huge aspect of new technology in every field. Maintenance Management leverages this wire technology through the use of remote condition monitoring.
One of the biggest bane’s of maintenance management is unplanned maintenance. An asset or equipment breakdown can lead to an entire day of facility functions being put to standstill. Unplanned maintenance causes several problems that ultimately lead to increased expenses. Moreover, studies show unplanned maintenance costs almost five times more than planned maintenance. Some other disadvantages of reactive maintenance include environmental hazards, safety issues, wasted time and assets, missed deadlines, complex repairs, the list is endless.
This run-to-failure approach towards equipment ends up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what predictive maintenance would cost.
What is Remote Condition Monitoring?
Remote Condition Monitoring is the process that uses sensors and software to monitor abnormalities in assets and equipment. The process allows maintenance managers to closely scrutinize the current status of all existing assets and even prevent any failures and malfunctions before they actually happen. Any dynamic changes in equipment and asset can be recorded before damage from load constraints, power shortage, etc, applying the classic, prevention is better than cure. It is physically impossible for a human to even minutely carry out the kind of analysis that is offered by sensor technology.
Remote Condition Monitoring uses various factors such as temperature, body quality, equipment vibration, battery, oil quality to establish an estimate of potential future expenses. Some examples of the kinds of technology used by this process include :
- Vibrating sensors (detects problems on bearings, pumps, motors and other rotating equipment)
- Power Monitoring Sensors (measures current, voltage, frequency and such)
- Temperature Sensors ( measures temperatures to ensure equipment does not go beyond permissible limits)
Implementing remote condition monitoring in the several different aspects of maintenance management from sports and arenas to hospitals and restaurants can significantly strengthen an organization’s maintenance program. It’s important to note that implementing such technology takes a considerable amount of time and resources to begin with, however, given the scope of facility management and the role assets and equipment play makes it worth it.
Overall, installing a wireless system is more cost-effective than its counterpart. One recent example demonstrated that just the cost of wiring an online system to 60 sensors in an industrial environment required welding, electrical work, and specialized cabling with a cost of over $250k, roughly 3 times the cost of the actual hardware and software.
Moreover, as discussed earlier, predicting failure and taking appropriate action in time is far cheaper than a run to failure approach.
In several cases, maintenance technicians find themselves in close proximity to dangerous equipment. Implementing equipment maintenance software with wireless monitoring allows for data collection in more hazardous locations without endangering the technician.
Continually monitoring equipment ensures overall better equipment quality due to periodic and frequent updates on equipment condition. It allows for high-speed, real-time equipment testing on a frequent basis, not something that would be possible for a maintenance personnel. All the collected data can then be analyzed to determine the best course of action for equipment. Moreover, remote condition monitoring helps discover the root cause of any issues in functioning since it’s constantly monitoring and tracking equipment functioning.
However, it is important to remember that with every technology comes challenges and that is true for remote condition monitoring as well.
With wireless technology, comes the need for battery powered operations. While in most cases, for large scale operations as with manufacturing battery life usually lasts anywhere between two to five years, it might have some issues surrounding battery life reporting, changing and powering batteries.
Another challenge with wireless technology is interference from external sources that might lead to missing or incorrect information. These external sources may include simple objects that might have been placed in between a transmitter and receiver or even the presence of other wireless devices. How the different devices containing the wireless technology is also important to ensure that the technology in each does not interfere leading to disruptions.
Conclusively, it is important to remember that every technology comes with it’s challenges. What is important is to optimize existing business operations to achieve overall better profits and productivity. Remote Condition Monitoring can potentially revolutionize business and give organizations access to data that humans cannot possibly tap. While the switch to an entirely different technology can seem daunting, it’s essential to adapt to the new wave of technology. The advantages of remote condition monitoring move beyond just detailed analysis and large data sets but also relatively easier installation and overall better business decisions.