What benefits can the internet of things (IoT) bring to a condition monitoring system? Is it worth investing in, even if your legacy system is working just fine?
The greatest benefit is that a collective cloud back-end and on-line, real-time monitoring, problem diagnosis and management by domain experts will always be better than a plant based reactionary approach.
Is there a cost-effective way to turn an ordinary machine into a “smart” machine?
Yes, there are Smart Senors like the FAG Smart-Check and IoT networks like Sigfox that allow sensors to be deployed and put on-line very quickly and cost effectively.
Are computing power and data costs seen as barriers to the implementation of smart condition monitoring?
Yes and no, for the same reasons as above. Deploying a smart condition sensor like the FAG Smart Check will cost in the region of R15k-R20k per measured point, however on a multi-million rand complex drive train and gearbox it is minimal in comparison to the whole project. It can intelligently identify the problem and pre-warn of an impending problems, preventing costly downtime. However putting some simply process measurements such as temperature, vibration, pressure and flow on the internet using a network like Sigfox is not a costly exercise.
Is there a limit to the kind of machines which can be linked to the IoT – for example, machines with high vibrations?
No, cost is really a prohibitive factor.
Is linking machinery to the internet worth the cyber-security risk? Hacking of a manufacturing plant has the potential to be disastrous.
I believe the ICS (Industrial Control System) market will deliver products (for example, Pharaday) to match this challenge. However, this just drives the price up, which is the unfortunate part, it will definitely impact the uptake and benefits.
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