By Jamie Smith and Sky Matthews
Organizations in the industrial sector – energy, water utilities, oil & gas, manufacturing, mining and transportation – have a lot of pre-existing equipment that isn’t instrumented. Truth be told, the equipment is just old. According to a Wall Street Journal article citing Morgan Stanley, most of the industrial machinery in use is at least 10 years old. Not since 1938 have North American factories worked with such out-of-date equipment.
Industries with aging infrastructure but increasing demands need better monitoring and predictive technology. To address this challenge, IBM and National Instruments (NI) are teaming up to create an industrial Internet of Things testbed – a cloud-based platform that lets organizations better monitor and manage the health and performance of any connected device, machine or industrial equipment.
To bring industrial equipment up-to-date by today’s standards, modifications need to be made so that these machines are able to fully harness the potential of the Internet of Things. For example, installing sensors and software for condition monitoring helps provide greater insight into the machine’s performance and health, and can help to detect early indicators of performance issues or failure in advance of catastrophic and costly repairs. Even greater potential lies in adopting analytics technologies for predictive maintenance to recommend maintenance actions to correct an issue before there is unforeseen downtime or a dangerous situation occurs.
The IBM-NI testbed combines IBM’s cloud environment and analytics with NI’s monitoring and data acquisition tech to provide this Internet of Things-industry use-case validation. Made possible through the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), organizations can use the testbed for condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, performance and cost of technologies they’re considering. For example, a mining company would be able to monitor and ensure its machines run reliably, even when operating at a higher level in order to resolve an issue before it becomes a dangerous situation.
We demonstrated the testbed for the first time this week at the IIC Quarterly meeting. It will also be showcased at NI Week 2015 in Austin, TX August 3-6 and at loT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Spain September 16-18.