Condition monitoring in the cloud (Part 2)

Sheila Kennedy says the cloud offers new and more-interactive approaches to asset condition monitoring, analysis, and response.

By Sheila Kennedy

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(Also read "Condition Monitoring in the Cloud (Part 1)" from Plant Services' June 2015 issue.)

The cloud offers new and more-interactive approaches to asset condition monitoring, analysis, and response. It provides an opportunity to aggregate wide-ranging measurements that can provide earlier warning of problems, and it allows for input from a broad base of experts to improve the quality and timing of corrective actions. The widening availability of software, hardware, and connectivity platforms for the cloud heightens the potential of predictive maintenance (PdM) and condition-based maintenance (CBM) programs.

Data aggregation and analytics

Numerous monitoring tools and sensor types are available to track changes in equipment health and performance. Schneider Electric's Avantis PRiSM predictive asset analytics software platform integrates with a wide range of data historians and control and monitoring systems and can be deployed in the cloud. It incorporates a set of algorithms called OPTiCS that uses advanced pattern recognition (APR) and machine learning technology to prevent the failure of high-value assets.

"The cloud provides an accessible customer-ready infrastructure for fast connectivity of remote plants to our monitoring center,” said Anthony Maurer, chief product architect at Schneider Electric. "This deployment model leads to a shortened time to value for our customers."

MicroStrain’s SensorCloud is a cloud-based platform for sensor data storage, visualization, and remote management that enables structural health and condition monitoring of critical assets. In addition to supporting MicroStrain’s wireless and wired sensors, it can interface with any Web-connected third-party device, sensor, or sensor network.

"SensorCloud brings to the CBM market all the enhancements of modern cloud technology," says Justin Bessette, sensing technology engineering manager at LORD MicroStrain. "Gone are the days of information loss and unscalable silos of information. With essentially limitless computing and storage, the CBM market can finally take advantage of vast quantities of machine data, maximizing uptime, reliability, and safety,”

Brand-specific monitoring systems also are available. Fluke Connect Assets software automatically compiles and organizes measurement data collected by Fluke Connect test tools and presents it in a management dashboard. Aggregating data from thermal cameras, vibration meters, multimeters, and process meters improves awareness of the overall machine state.

“The common hope for the cloud is better analysis from combined data," says John Neeley, mobility solutions product manager at Fluke Corp. "What has been an obstacle, and is now being overcome, is how to get combined data to the cloud and how to view it." The ability to view electrical, thermographic, and vibration measurements in combination allows for more-informed decision-making, Neeley says.

Tango reliability information management software from 24/7 Systems aggregates and standardizes data from multiple predictive technologies and brands and communicates it in a manner that ensures proactive action and follow-through. With cloud access, authorized Tango users ranging from plant personnel to condition monitoring contractors, oil labs, and motor repair shops can collaborate and securely bring anomalies to resolution.

“In emerging PdM programs, basic monitoring tools are used to identify conditions requiring attention. As programs mature, the focus advances to integration and communication of the data, making it actionable, and holding groups accountable for results,” says Forrest Pardue, president of 24/7 Systems.

Equipment-specific solutions

Critical rotating equipment needs condition monitoring to ensure maximum uptime. The ABB MACHsense-R service continuously monitors key parameters of motors and generators of all types and sizes. Detailed condition reports and real-time data are accessible from a cloud-based web portal, and alarms are sent immediately to the customer as well as to ABB service and technical centers.

“Monitoring systems have existed for a long time, but combining monitoring with automated diagnosis techniques and advanced communication systems makes a big difference in helping plant managers plan maintenance effectively,” says Vijay Anand, ABB regional product specialist for condition monitoring and diagnostics.

Dattus also offers rotating-machinery condition monitoring and failure-prediction solutions, including sensor data collection, aggregation, visualization, and analytics. Data-driven intelligent decision-making is the goal of this young company, which has its roots in an entrepreneurship and innovation program at Purdue University.

Dattus is designed, through a plug-and-play platform and a "reimagined" information architecture, CEO Anurag Garg says, to help "transform existing and aging equipment into smart-machines overnight.”