KCF Technologies Blog

The ABC’s of the Near-Future Industrial World

By Jeremy Frank

You already have a calendar that reminds you when to change the bearings in your plant’s equipment? Nice work, you’ve checked the box on preventive maintenance. You already take occasional vibration readings on your machinery? That’s great – you’ve progressed to the predictive maintenance world!
But let’s face it, unless your plant is already bursting with wireless sensors and featured on the cover of Popular Mechanics, chances are there’s a serious gap between where your plant is today and where it soon must be.
Just as the Internet of Things (IoT) now dictates how many steps you’ll take today (the Fitbit you got for Christmas), the IoT is now dictating when your machines need maintenance. Let me tell you, the days of wired sensor systems that cost more than a Porsche are quickly coming to an end. Even time-based calendars that tell you when to change bearings are going the way of the dinosaur. And that IT Manager who’s blocking your access to the Internet and cloud-based tools? Sorry to break it to them, but Mr. Anti-Cloud is the most doomed dinosaur of all.
The future is:
        A) wireless,
        B) cloud-based and
        C) predictive

It’s inevitable that the industrial world will soon be crawling with “smart” machines. Granted, these “smart” machines will be like your iPhone: hundreds of features available but only a handful that most of us will ever use. But again, the features you WILL use include A, B and C.
“Ha!” you respond. “Maybe a few companies will jump on this technology bandwagon but my company’s been using the same equipment and the same maintenance methods for decades. No way our leadership will drop money on this stuff. Ain’t nothing gonna change around here!”
You may be right, but someone else in your industry is going to sneak up and surprise you. For example, I know one David company in the Goliath oil and gas industry who’s quickly embraced A, B and C and they are absolutely killing the Big Three. This innovative company is now saving more money on maintenance than their competition believes is possible. While the big boys are desperately fighting to keep 30 percent of their teams employed, this company is at 100 percent capacity and growing faster than anyone.
Another relatively small company in the paper industry just crushed the Big Boy competition on quality and turnaround time.
In today’s world, smart trumps big; agile trumps deep pockets.
The ABC’s: wireless, cloud-based and predictive.
How does your team score in these three areas? And more importantly, where can you begin this journey without breaking the bank?
We’d love to hear your feedback, or give us a call any time to explore a few simple ways to get started.

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