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Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics Solutions Save Money, Spare Headaches

Sept. 4, 2015
For the ultimate in-depth machine analytics, remote monitoring & diagnostics appliances have the edge over homegrown solutions.
For the ultimate in-depth machine analytics, remote monitoring & diagnostics appliances have the edge over homegrown solutions.

OEMs are always being asked to do more with less, and a great way to do that is by pursuing remote monitoring & diagnostics (RM&D) solutions, says Steve Pavlosky, general manager of OEM Solutions for GE Intelligent Platform Systems.

They do this providing a better look into equipment performance, even in remote areas, and allow the technicians to glean a  better understanding of a machine’s performance, failure modes, and actual usage patterns, Pavlovsky explains. This detailed data is then parlayed into improving asset availability and optimize equipment. Furthermore, OEMS can also use RM&D data to create the right-size designs the next generation of products.

The in-depth diagnostics grant OEMs almost precognitive abilities. The solutions can predict maintenance problems in advance and schedule preventative maintenance.

“What better way to serve customers than to be there before they even know they need you?” Pavlosky asks.

He also adds that that catching problems in advance can reduce compliance issues and warranty risks.

Some OEMs implement homegrown solutions. Pavlovksy cites several issues that could spring up:

•    Virtually centralizing unlike applications, devices and sensors via a web-based remote monitoring & diagnostic solution is hard, often harder than anticipated.
•    Developing an elegant user interface that is customizable for end-user accounts and optimized for both browser and mobile environments is really, really tough.
•    Some OEMs that initially shied away from cloud-based hosted data now realize the efficiency and scalability it provides, and are now kicking themselves a little. End-users don’t always understand where the scope of a software solution begins and ends.
•    Few seem to have clarity on what a three-tiered data privacy model between an automation vendor, OEM and end user should look like.
•    Collecting and historizing large amounts of data, making sense of that data and reporting it in actionable ways requires expertise and time. Acquiring and keeping that expertise in-house is also extremely costly.
•    Developing and maintaining a homegrown RM&D software solution that delivers on customers’ expectations also requires expertise, time and money.

The way to get around these is by installing R&MD appliances. The pre-built solution is designed for a specific problem and significantly reduces OEM costs and customer risks. They are also scalable and customizable.

“Today’s RM&D appliance solutions are controller agnostic and can be installed on a variety of equipment,” Pavlovsky says. “OEMs would be well served to let the monitoring experts handle installation and the other technical aspects. They can have an appliance up and running in just a few days.”

Read the full article, "Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics: Is the Risk Worth the Gain?," on Industry Week an NED companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.