It’s a buzz-worthy phrase, for sure, but it’s becoming a reality for those who are doing it right. Using the right tools. Implementing the right strategies. And training their staffs to minimize machine downtime using data and smarts, rather than just hunches.
A hidden benefit of predictive maintenance is safety; the less you have to repair your machines, the less likely somebody is to get his arm caught in the gears. With that in mind, we chatted with Artur Rdzanek, general product manager of Dodge-sensored products at ABB (which sponsored our latest Technology Report “Turning Downtime Upside-Down with Predictive Maintenance”) to learn more about the predictive maintenance / safety connection. Take a look…
Smart Industry: How do smart sensors enable safer working conditions?
Artur: The ability to monitor bearings remotely allows maintenance and other relevant personnel to safely access the health of the bearing without touching equipment, thus eliminating potential hazards due to rotating equipment or hot surfaces. This also means that personnel are not having to climb ladders, get into small spaces, or face other obstacles to check bearings in difficult to access locations.
Smart Industry: What do smart sensors enable the modern workforce to accomplish with industrial powertrain systems?
Artur: Smart sensors allow you to work smarter and safer. By knowing when your bearing needs maintenance you can reduce downtime and improve reliability. You can also begin to schedule maintenance according to actual needs rather than based on generic schedules, allowing your maintenance team to focus on areas of your facility that need attention. Sensors also give you the option to connect to the power of the Industrial Internet of Things, where ABB offers a unique digital advantage by combining connectivity and data analytics with our expertise to make your operations efficient, predictable and safe.
Smart Industry: Do customers consider the safety element when considering smart sensors?
Artur: Customers are focused on safety in their operations, so I do believe that the safety element of the smart sensor is a strong consideration. The ability to know a bearing needs maintenance before a failure occurs not only eliminates unplanned downtime for the facility, but avoids potential harm to employees working near the equipment if a failure has occurred.
Smart Industry: Provide an example of a smart sensor, such as the ABB Ability Smart Sensor, being able to monitor a machine in a manner that previously would have been difficult to access.
Artur: A typical example would be bearings on an aggregate conveyor high off the ground, or located behind equipment. We often think of physical distance or obstacles, but sometimes the confined area of equipment can make the bearing difficult to access.