Machine Safety: Can hand held devices play a role?

Wireless hand held devices (smart phones, tablets, pads, etc.), common in daily life, are emerging on the shop floor. Can they improve machine safety?

02/10/2013


Hand held devices (smart phones, tablets, pads, etc.) are common place for almost everyone in day-to-day life. We’re even beginning to see these wireless devices on the shop floor. Can they play a role in machine safety?

What are you beginning to see where you work? Are you spotting devices like Nexus pads, tablets, Apple iPads and iPhones, Google Android devices, RIM Blackberry smartphones, and more? Aside from cell phone features, what are they doing?

Consumer-grade smartphones and tablet computers are fast becoming commonplace extensions of industrial networks, permitting process monitoring and, even (gasp!) process control. Control Engineering

I’ve seen them displaying machine drawings on the factory floor right beside the machine. This helps technicians communicate directly with engineering offices to quickly diagnose a downtime issue to quickly bring the machine back into operation. I’ve also seen applications where a technician communicates directly with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) halfway around the world while standing a few feet from the machine and looking at the machine drawings or live operating metrics. This type of timely and accurate communication is priceless when significant cost savings are waiting in the wings.

I’ve also seen applications where live dashboard tools are displayed highlighting one machine that’s laboring behind other similar machines. This helps to pinpoint critical pinch points in the production process that might limit overall output. This enables manufacturers to target their focus and fine tune their operations. Notice that so far I’ve not mentioned anything that directly has to do with machine safety.

At this point in time I believe that these devices will not have a direct role in machine safety because they are not compliant with regulations and standards like IEC 61508 or NFPA 79 for example. Is this how you see it as well? Firmware and software based devices intended for safety-related functions have very strict regulations for design, build and testing compliance. However, it’s my opinion that at the rate innovative technology is advancing it won’t be long until we might find general purpose hand held devices performing some safety-related functions.   

 

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Have you seen wireless commercial devices used in machine safety or related support roles? Should they? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

 

Related articles:

Machine Safety and Wireless Devices

How to choose wireless technology for industrial applications

Cableless (Wireless) Operator Panel Applications

Machine Safety – Cableless vs Wireless

iQagent for Holistic Data Display & Machine Optimization

 

Contact: http://www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me