As much as technology has progressed, there remain a significant number of repetitive tasks done manually in industrial settings that have been waiting for the price of equipment and service to be at a level where business cases can justify moving to more reliable, consistent, and automated systems. The business “pains” in these environments are often described by the amount of overtime being paid, the potential risk of injury for performing risky behaviors, the costs of not having the information in a timely manner resulting in emergencies, and the need for more accurate and timely information to make better decisions – remotely. Turnkey offerings of affordable Industrial sensor technologies, affordable Industrial connectivity hardware, and reliable connectivity services for data delivery are now a reality.
Continuous and Repetitive Manual Data Collection (and Blindspots)
Most industrial environments have onsite and offsite inventory supply inputs that can range from full to empty, high pressure to low pressure, high flow to low flow, etc. over the course of minutes, to hours, to days, to months. Having an accurate read of the state of these inventories at a frequency that is relevant to their relative use, can help:
- upstream business and process owners that are responsible for planning, purchasing, and replenishing the inventories in a timely and cost effective manner
- immediate business and process owners who control and manage the actual equipment and flow of the supplies into other processes
- downstream business and process owners that count on the outputs from these inventories and need confirmation about the continuity of supply
These manual checks currently involve everything from:
- teams of drivers driving routes to every pickup location hourly/daily looking to see if anything needs to be picked up,
- workers climbing ladders or towers every day (or multiple times a day) regardless of weather or conditions to check levels in multi-story bins and tanks,
- employees carrying measuring devices to determine the operation of equipment, depths of reservoirs, and environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.),
- and many many others.
Whether these checks are collected on paper logs or electronically, if not done consistently and somewhat predictably, can create blindspots for all of the business and process owners.
Automated Data Collection (Data Visibility)
The most immediate benefits gained from a solid IIoT installation are:
- Predictable measurement frequency
- Reliable accuracy
- Real time visibility/reporting/mapping
- Ability to share measurement results
- Exception alerts and notifications
IIoT installation(s) can range from simple installations of boxes that simply track the location or existence of an asset (especially important if the asset is mobile) to more involved installations where holes need to be drilled in the top, side, or bottom of a vessel and sensor instrument(s) installed to measure/detect the level of inventory. The outputs of measurement instrument(s) are connected typically to small connectivity equipment that communicate the information wirelessly over the cellular network to the back-end where the data can be processed and presented to any and all business and process owners that want or need to know the changing status of the inventories.
The nature of the activities where IIoT is initially best suited are those that improve safety, improve visibility to critical resources, and/or monitor remote assets that would be cost prohibitive to “put eyes on” 24×7. The equipment installed in these situations is typically always “listening” for events that need to be reported when and if they occur – and as they occur. The benefit of having this event driven information is that issues can be addressed quickly and before they turn into real problems, processes and assets can be tracked and management much more efficiently, and the ongoing and historical data can be used for insights into opportunities for greater overall operational efficiencies and savings.
The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be as quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense). The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available and easy to put in place today. Moving from very manual activities to more automated data collection and reporting can seem daunting when just starting out – that is why we have assembled all the pieces you need with Cellio.