IBM_NI_Test BedRepresentatives of National Instruments (NI) and IBM recently discussed their collaboration on a test bed demonstrating the possibilities for using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for taking companies from Condition Monitoring to Predictive Maintenance.

Chris O’Connor, IBM General Manager of IoT who works with divisions such as Maximo told me this is a new business unit that is built around IoT. There are about 6,000 clients. The explosion of data coming from devices means that industry must change from data centers to IoT. “For us, this entails the analysis of sensors information, aggregating the information, then constructing lifecycles. This will help world adopt IoT.”

The collaboration from condition monitoring and analytics changes questions manufacturers can answer such as, can I gain competitive advantage, can I offer better warranty, change frequency of maintenance.

Jamie Smith, NI’s Director of Embedded Systems, said the test bed project will roll out in multiple phases. It demonstrates the interoperability between two industry leaders including edge computing capability from NI to IBM’s cloud technology and analytics. Therefore, users can progress from condition monitoring to predictive maintenance.

The test bed consists of a motor and a couple of fans. Various failure modes are introduced. The first go consists of NI CompactRIO communicating via MQTT to IBM. Now that the proof has been completed, other companies in the Industrial Internet Consortium have been invited to join the collaboration. “All they need to do is contribute time and resources to it,” added Smith.

The next step according to Smith is insuring that it’s end to end secure. They are working with IIC to do security assessment. They will then look at more robust assets—most likely power generation assets—hoping to work with someone with large turbines or pumps to continue to demonstrate the technology and benefits.

Following is a description from the statement on the Web.

The Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance Testbed (CM/PM) will demonstrate the value and benefits of continuously monitoring industrial equipment to detect early signs of performance degradation or failure. CM/PM will also use modern analytical technologies to allow organizations to not only detect problems but proactively recommend actions for operations and maintenance personnel to correct the problem.

Condition Monitoring (CM) is the use of sensors in equipment to gather data and enable users to centrally monitor the data in real-time. Predictive Maintenance (PM) applies analytical models and rules against the data to proactively predict an impending issue; then deliver recommendations to operations, maintenance and IT departments to address the issue.

These capabilities enable new ways to monitor the operation of the equipment – such as turbines and generators – and processes and to adopt proactive maintenance and repair procedures rather than fixed schedule-based procedures, potentially saving money on maintenance and repair, and saving cost and lost productivity of downtime caused by equipment failures.

Furthermore, combining sensor data from multiple pieces of equipment and/or multiple processes can provide deeper insight into the overall impact of faulty or sub-optimal equipment, allowing organizations to identify and resolve problems before they impact operations and improve the quality and efficiency of industrial processes.

Through this testbed, the testbed leaders IBM and National Instruments will explore the application of a variety of analytics technologies for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. The testbed application will initially be deployed to a power plant facility where performance and progress will be reported on, additional energy equipment will be added and new models will be developed. It will then be expanded to adjacent, as yet to be determined, industries.

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