Machine Safety: When workers use their own devices

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the new rage. Articles describe BYOD and IT departments are scrambling. How can companies maintain control over machine safety and plant security?

10/04/2013


CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, offers Apps for Engineers, an app of apps providing portable software tools for engineers. Courtesy: CFE MediaBring your own device (BYOD) is the new rage. Articles (see below) describe the practice and the IT departments are scrambling. How in the world will companies maintain control over safety and security?

Think of the situation this way. We now have had several years of technically based employees coming out of universities into industry, and most of their class work involved e-mail communication, electronic text books, smart phones allowed into class rooms, social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook), and research via Google or Mozilla Firefox. Text books and conventional libraries are significantly less involved. These key employees are now in technical roles in industry, and their friends are iPhones, iPads, Nooks, Blackberries, Androids…and the list goes on.

Furthermore, matrix codes (including Quick Response, QR codes) are quickly gaining speed in adoption by these hand held devices via scanning apps. They are a new of 2D bar code that is often used to provide access to information through hand held devices that have embedded cameras. The codes, which are small squares with black and white patterns, began to appear in a variety of places, such as magazine and newspaper ads. However, engineers are quickly learning how to apply QR codes in industry.

A matrix code is used to encode some sort of information, such as text, machine drawings or a URL.

Control Engineering offered a video with its February 2013 cover. Courtesy: Control EngineeringHere’s the opportunity (and dilemma). This relatively new wave of technically based employee is anxious to BYOD to the factory floor for day-to-day use in performing their responsibilities. That potentially means using their own devices to access machine data, temporarily engage a machine for a quick repair and re-set, or to report critical data to a resource center. Isn’t this a nightmare for typical old-school IT managers? How can all these unauthorized devices have access to the company’s network while still maintaining safety and security? 

Wireless control panels are available and in use today around machines. Many of these wireless panels also have emergency stop devices meeting standards requirements. Will this mean that BYOD devices could take the place of wireless control panels? If so, will your iPad be compliant for controlling an emergency stop?

Where will BYOD take us?

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

Related articles:

Machine Safety: Can hand held devices play a role

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



Anonymous , 10/17/13 09:48 AM:

Each organization should have policies and training in place to approve and secure personal devices. Also ther should be clear specific acceptable practices put into place to protect organization and personal data.
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...
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
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
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
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

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