September 20, 2016
Real-Time Manufacturing Data Collection With a CMMS
When we think of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), we tend to think of them in terms of how they can help us with simple tasks, such as inventory control and issuing work orders. While those are certainly important functions of any CMMS worth its salt, there are other features that are just as important if not more so, particularly in a manufacturing environment, such as real-time data collection.
What is real-time data collection, and how does it come into play? If you are in the reliability industry and work in the manufacturing sector, you probably already know the basics. But as new technologies begin to emerge and infiltrate the workplace, it is important to understand the present and future role that data collection is going to play.
Real-time data collection for tools and machines lets you analyze what is going on with equipment to enhance productivity and workflow. This, in turn, increases your overall profitability and revenue opportunities. For starters, by monitoring how a particular machine works, you can see ways to run it more efficiently. If, for instance, you notice that the equipment is not producing as fast as it once did, this can be a key sign that maintenance is needed or that there is something going on with the machine that requires a closer look or inspection.
By catching these issues early, you can prevent equipment failures, shut-downs, and halts in production. You can also save on machine wear and tear, as you will catch smaller issues before they become large ones. (Think about the "check engine" light in a car: If you did not heed this warning, your engine would eventually suffer dire and expensive consequences.)
As the much-lauded Internet of Things (IoT) takes a firmer grip on reliability business, the ability to track this real-time information is only going to expand. The larger your data needs, the better your storage and processing solutions will have to be. A simple computerized maintenance system of the past simply isn't going to cut it; you are going to need a fully optimized CMMS or maintenance software program that incorporates all of the traditional features as well as new ones, such as real-time tool data collection, mobile usability, social media functions, and even virtual reality applications.
Another great feature of a real-time CMMS is that it reduces the time and resulting costs associated with traditional data-collection methods. Not only does collecting information take time, but human error also factors in, which can cause problems when analyzing the data as well as add to costs when someone has to go back to fix mistakes added into the system.
Some additional side benefits of a real-time CMMS include a reduction in billable man-hours, lower overtime pay, and a more streamlined system. By alerting managers to potential issues faster and showing trends that will help you spot slow-downs in production, you can get your team on top of a problem before it becomes a major issue. Instead of having to repair a machine that goes down without warning, requiring potential overtime hours, you can predict that a machine might fail and then act appropriately.
So next time you are in the market for maintenance software, be sure to check out whether or not real-time data collection is included in your CMMS package as a feature or possible add-on in the future. A little foresight and data collection will save your company bundles in the future!