Amid an overwhelming threat to physical and economic health, organizations are finding new ways to maintain business continuity. That is especially true for industrial maintenance and reliability groups that have already adopted new cloud-based technologies for asset monitoring, maintenance tracking, workflow management, and reporting. Many are in decent shape to maintain their operations within the confines of lockdowns and social distancing.
For those still on the fence, the current crisis is making the benefits of the cloud and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) more obvious than ever. It is driving some “early majority” and perhaps even “late majority” adopters to investigate how the cloud and IIoT with software-connected equipment and advanced analytics tools can turn volumes of data into meaningful maintenance intelligence that is accessible from anywhere.
The ability to monitor conditions and processes remotely helps maintenance teams stay on top of critical plant operations while keeping their distance from each other. Plants can keep a skeleton crew of maintenance technicians onsite, abiding by social distancing rules. Maintenance and reliability staff working offsite can track asset conditions, share strategies and ideas with the team, and be available instantly for consultation if a problem occurs. Numerous organizations have a network of cameras in the plant, so they can see the equipment in real time as well as the condition data being collected.
Cloud-based solutions such as eMaint Computerized Maintenance Management System software can deliver exceptional scalability, flexibility, and security for asset condition tracking, work order and workflow management, compliance, and other critical maintenance tasks. Data can be transmitted from sensors or test tools to the cloud via software such as Fluke Connect.
Enabling authorized users to have remote access to applications and data, cloud-based solutions help eliminate data silos and lack of collaboration between departments. This facilitates faster and more effective problem resolution while maintaining stringent security requirements equal to those of the U.S. military to protect against unauthorized access.
The cloud enables maintenance techs to create a work order on a mobile device, include failure codes, and requisition spare parts while still at the inspection site. Asset-based devices can automatically generate alerts based on specified abnormalities to create work orders.
Technicians on the plant floor can view resources such as product manuals, diagrams, and asset history on their mobile devices and compare baseline measurements to current readings to spot problems quickly. If they have questions, they can access online tutorials related to the component in front of them or connect to a supervisor and collaborate using live data to reach a timely resolution.
With remote condition monitoring devices and a cloud-based CMMS, maintenance managers can monitor assets located around the world from their home, office, or other remote location via a PC, tablet, or smartphone.
Moving to a cloud-based asset management and maintenance solution is an investment that can reduce the cost of ownership over time because you can automate manual processes. You can also connect independent systems that have separate servers and software, which may become unnecessary.
Fluke Reliability offers cloud-based maintenance solutions such as eMaint CMMS, Fluke Connect, Connect2Assets, and PRUFTECHNIK tools and systems that work with its Alignment Reliability Center and OMNITREND Center cloud-based software solutions. These solutions allow authorized workers most anywhere to easily access live asset data and share it with other team members in real time.
The unexpected business interruption has resulted in unprecedented reliance on remote workers to keep companies operating. For this reason, and others, this may be an excellent time to explore the advantages of cloud technology to help ensure the continuity of your maintenance operations during the next unpredictable crisis. It may not only help you tomorrow, but it also should improve the efficiency, safety, and ultimate profitability of your facility today.