3 Top IoT Applications in the Maintenance Industry

There’s no question that technology has disrupted and innovated the maintenance industry.

One technology that simply can’t be ignored is the Internet of Things (IoT).

Think the IoT is just a buzzword? Think again: McKinsey & Company states that the IoT has helped organizations realize major improvements, like a 25% reduction in maintenance costs. And, by 2025, the IoT could have $11 trillion in business impact.

For maintenance implications, the IoT uses sensors and connected devices across the industry to easily track key performance indicators (KPIs) and control machines. We’re left with access to accurate, real-time data to make the smartest maintenance decisions.

Furthermore, the IoT has the power to completely transform the industry through proactive maintenance strategies. For instance, with the help of IoT sensors and data gathering, maintenance managers are able to better predict when a breakdown will occur based on historic records and past service requests. A more proactive maintenance strategy means less equipment downtime, fewer emergency work order requests and better budget planning.

Ready to incorporate the IoT into your maintenance strategy? Read below to learn three applications that smart maintenance managers are utilizing across the industry.

Top Maintenance Applications

1.) Connected Machines

Communication is much more than just written and spoken word. Take it from connected machines, which systematically work together via machine-to-machine  (M2M) communication.

Maintenance managers use M2M techniques to collect data on KPIs, such as assets most likely to breakdown or top causes of unscheduled downtime.

Coupled with IoT sensors, M2M data helps maintenance managers gain insight into how often an asset is underperforming, or how long it’s been since the last work order was performed. Using this data, managers can map out when downtime will occur and tie this data back to their preventive schedules to improve uptime.

Examples of strategies maintenance teams can use to collect M2M data include:

  • Vibration analysis: Gauges machine vibration to identify potential failures.
  • Infrared thermography: Detects radiation to measure and analyze the heat of objects.
  • Ultrasound: Helps to hear issues that we normally cannot like a gas leak.
  • Tribology: Measures particles in fluids that prove mechanical wear.
  • Motor circuit analysis: Analyzes motor health through detection of electrical imbalances.
  • Laser alignment: Assists in the aligning of rotating machines.

2.) Improved Inventory Management

Using the IoT, maintenance managers can connect their stockrooms to track orders, incoming shipments or low stock.

For instance, the maintenance team has the ability to collect data remotely via sensors that tracks when certain inventory may be low. From there, they’re able to connect this sort of data collection to a software device to produce alerts when certain stock may be close to out.

If you depend on the power of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), connect your stockroom with your tool to automate reorders, generate inventory reports and track costs to avoid shortages and improve budget. This results in fewer emergency inventory orders and less downtime due to out-of-stock inventory to fulfill a work order.

3.) Preventive Maintenance Strategies

By now, you’ve certainly heard the benefits of a preventive maintenance schedule. But with time constraints and downtime occurring on the daily, it probably seems like a daunting task to implement.

The IoT is helping the maintenance industry bust out of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset to boost operational efficiencies, reduce costly downtime and better predict equipment failures.

Managers can depend on sensors to track certain KPIs and gather the best hard data like average technician response times, average length of downtime or technician efficiency into their preventive maintenance schedule with the help of the IoT. Try embedding sensors on devices to track abnormal conditions. From there, generate alerts when unscheduled downtime is approaching to implement an easy preventive maintenance schedule.

Use a CMMS? Coordinate these sensors to communicate with your CMMS to auto-generate work orders or notifications that a repair is needed soon. The benefits of your connected CMMS range from less unscheduled downtime to more efficient technicians.

Author Bio: Scott Lasher is the head of sales for Maintenance Connection, an industry-leading computerized maintenance management (CMMS). For more than eight years, Scott has been dedicated to transforming Maintenance Connection’s customers’ lives and jobs with a CMMS from purchase to implementation. Scott is the go-to guy for all things Maintenance Connection with deep knowledge ranging from the software to the customer satisfaction to product implementation. Connect with Scott for more information on his LinkedIn profile.

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