The global trend of getting continuously smarter equipment has introduced another key parameter for any manufacturer: Do my products generate useful data?
A “no” answer is an urgent call for action to avoid obsolescence and oblivion. On the other hand a “yes” answer should trigger a profound and thorough analysis of the company position in markets beyond the historical ones.
The focus, hence, will shift to the ecosystem around a product and its linked environments.
Sensors in equipment are designed to measure and collect different parameters that conventionally are processed by centralized servers. Data processing from those measurement allows almost real-time decision support and making. How to get more from that environment is the big question.
A few examples can be found in the automotive industry. A growing demand of data can be generated from so far unlikely sources. Tires are not usually regarded as an important element in our everyday routines. However, in the mining sector, they are extremely helpful in collecting data to improve vehicle safety. Internal pressure and temperature, level of consumption are just the relevant parameters that should be collected and managed with the same importance we do with other engine indicators. Tires will become the "hub" of vehicle / road interface data collection.
A set of sensors with wireless transmission capability can adequately upgrade a passive device into a source of data for either the final user and the manufacturer, allowing safety and commercial data to be studied on the same platform. Embedding sensors on tires or patches can be supported by MQTT technology in order to have on servers and on mobile devices a clear picture of the tire status and allow users to make safer decisions.
In Oil & Gas, beyond the legacy SCADA systems, multiple types of equipment can be fitted with smarter and leaner devices to generate and analyze data.
Different plant components communicating would create an ecosystem exchanging data among themselves. The model would be similar to a "constellation of devices" each with a specific function.
Data generated through the constellation would be not just relevant inside the single plant to directly improve efficiencies and safety, it would enhance plant design by improving reliability, operators’ interfacing, equipment selection, time-to-market and the bottom line over all.
We will be sharing more about other examples, in sectors like welding, aerospace, food, of how data enables easiness-to-do-business and over all growth.