There are numerous benefits to connecting field assets and equipment in order to gain visibility into their operation. Simply gaining visibility is a path to greater service efficiency, giving manufacturers and OEMs reactive, proactive, and even predictive capabilities down the line. But for many manufacturers, currently deployed assets may not yet be candidates for being connected.
While sensoring technology exists now that can allow for retrofitting many different types of equipment in the field, even equipment without electronic components, it may not be possible to retrofit your current assets. However, manufacturers’ service arms can still gain the advantages of connected assets and the power of the Internet of Things by thinking outside the service silo, and considering manufacturing, engineering, and designing for serviceability. How? By looking on the factory floor.
Odds are, while your field assets may not be ready for sensoring, the equipment used to manufacture those assets can be sensored. Factories are a terrific environment to start connecting equipment and do it faster, because most manufacturing machines are already connected on some level, through their Programmable Logic Controller (PLC.) Using IoT platforms like Kepware, manufacturers can connect directly into the PLC and start pulling its data into a dashboard and gaining insights into operations.
Connecting the factory floor can show manufacturers how the factory is running, and can do so quickly because the information is readily available from the PLC. These insights can then trigger innovation about IoT-enabled capabilities beyond the factory floor.
By connecting the factory, manufacturers can also gain immediate ROI by improving productivity. All those insights are turned into actionable strategies that can improve operational equipment effectiveness (OEE.) Beyond those benefits, manufacturers that connect their factory floors can start to think in terms of devices and serviceability, orienting future design toward connected equipment, and the possibilities that data visibility provides.
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