Adding sensors to equipment

Design Insights: Taking Data Beyond the Numbers

April 27, 2021
A review of the day’s top trending stories from Machine Design editors.

Taking Data Beyond the Numbers

Machine Design writes an awful lot of articles about data management, and for good reason: The availability of inexpensive sensors and powerful analytics software can give any plant manager an insight into the health and productivity of equipment at any point in the day.

All well and good, assuming you know what you’re measuring, and why. That’s why a great article by Dan Phillips, technical director of monitoring and diagnostics at Regal Beloit Corp. deserves a thorough review. Phillips discusses that it takes more than just sensors and analytics to have an effective data management program.

Start with an Inventory

“The first step,” Phillips writes, “is for companies to understand what parts they have and where they are. That’s accomplished by completing an old-fashioned inventory audit. Then companies can categorize and codify the different machinery, parts and pieces, and decide what’s essential to keep in inventory to support operational targets and financial objectives.”

Asking the Right Questions

Questions to ask include:

  • Which units must be in inventory?
  • How can these units be standardized?
  • How can the number and variety of units be reduced?

“Companies of all sizes can execute this initial step,” Phillips adds. “It doesn’t require sensors connected to individual equipment or networked to an IT infrastructure. Begin with a simple survey of what’s in inventory and tag each item with a QR code. These actions alone can yield significant savings. Technicians will spend less time walking or climbing to find equipment or parts.”

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