Advantages of real-time machine monitoring in the cloud

There was a time not so long ago when one may have questioned the benefits of automated machine monitoring for small to medium sized organizations. The biggest reason which would be provided is that the as-is manual process works just fine, excel sheets are good enough, we are not that large, etc. But the year 2020 has turned the situation on the shop floor upside down. Everyone is trying to figure out the actions required to sustain and grow the business in the current environment. For the factory and the shop, getting the most out of the equipment of the shop floor is vital. To achieve that goal, one needs to first understand the current status of machine availability, asset performance and product quality.

Traditional methods of manual monitoring, measurement and reporting are proving to be slow and constraining – automation and speed of machine monitoring is key element to enable quick decisions and actions on the factory floor. Hence, real-time machine monitoring is turning out to be the go-to solution for speed and agility in the shop and factory. Regardless of the size and scale of the setup, new generation machine monitoring solutions help manufacturers understand the real performance of their equipment. This is the one of the initial steps which help a manufacturer meet the typical business challenges of shorter product lifecycles, variable customer demands and pricing competition in the market. It also helps an organization embark on the journey of digital transformation.  

Another key factor which determines the pace of the transformation is the time and cost required to set up the infrastructure required to launch such a digital transformation. This is where many organizations falter. However, there are many success stories of organizations leveraging the cloud wherein their own infrastructure has come up short or the time and cost of a cloud deployment has significantly outweighed that of a local deployment even with off-the-shelf components. One of the main reasons for any hesitation in adopting a manufacturing analytics or machine monitoring solution is capital costs…leveraging a cloud based real-time machine monitoring solution helps you start with as few machines as required to meet your improvement targets and budgetary constraints. At the same time, scaling up rapidly is multiple times faster than a locally deployed or home-grown solution. Leveraging a cloud solution allows connections of multiple machines to ready-to-use dashboards and reports within a few hours. 

Real-time machine monitoring in the cloud makes lightsout manufacturing and remote monitoring of the equipment in the factory a realityThis enables factory personnel elevate resource constraints and leverage the critical equipment to the fullest. This enables real-time communication of appropriate notifications and alerts to the responsible personnel for preventive and corrective actions. 

A cloud based solution helps a manufacturer benefit from continuous software deployments and latest manufacturing analytics. Considering that predictive and prescriptive analytics is a growing field, there are rapid improvements made each day and it makes sense for a manufacturer to be ready to extract benefits from the latest and best solutions which are far easier to leverage in the cloud compared to the time and cost of local deployments and upgrades. 

A cloud based solution, by design, along with the right security infrastructure helps make it transparent and globally accessible for the organization. This ensures that best practices can be easily communicated and standardized. Any improvements in metrics such as OEE in one factory can be communicated globally and the relevant learnings and best practices can be replicated. Role driven global access helps everyone in the organization get remote access to real-time data and analytics required for agile decision making in the factory floor. Leveraging the cloud also opens up possibilities of big data analysis for predictive and prescriptive analytics.  

cloud based real-time machine monitoring solution helps you define the single source of truth eliminating the possibilities of errors, delays and subjectivities in the dashboards and reports. Metrics like OEE are typically prone to misuse and miscalculations if manual interventions are involved. A real-time machine monitoring system eliminates any such possibilities since the data is collected directly from the machine, transformed and transmitted to the cloud without any human intervention. The only manual input to this system is normally from the operator who can proactively provide reasons for a downtime which could be due to breaks, meetings, machine failures, tool breakage, etc. 

Once we have real-time machine monitoring, data is being collected and transmitted in minute details and hence the ability to process and analyze large volumes of data becomes imperative. OEE evaluation along with corresponding decisions and actions can be accelerated by leveraging the cloud. A cloud based real-time machine monitoring and manufacturing analytics solution provides the fastest route to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions.  

The terms “internet of things”(IOT) and “industrial internet of things” (IIOT) are heavily reliant on a scalable, robust and secure cloud infrastructure. Implementing disconnected machine monitoring solution would be akin to reinventing the wheel and potentially lagging peers and competition in digital transformation and productivity improvements. 

One of the simplest reasons and driver to leverage real-time machine monitoring cloud based solutions would be to leverage the right resource for the right job. Why waste operator or supervisor efforts in gathering, collating and reporting machine data when it can be done faster and efficiently by a software? Why waste IT/OT personnel efforts in local software deployments, maintenance and upgrades when all of this can be handled seamlessly in the cloud? It makes business sense to leverage the skills of factory personnel for their skills and knowledge and hence appropriate value adding activities by providing them the right tools required for taking the right decisions and actions on the factory floor.  

To summarize, cloud based real-time machine monitoring solutions allow small and large manufacturers to improve automation, reduce or remove manual intervention and associated errors in machine monitoring and reporting thus bringing agility in decision making on the factory floor. MINTVIZOR is such a SaaS solution from HCL. Want to know more? Visit https://mintvizor.com for more details or write to mintvizor.marketing@hcl.com. 

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