Mobility becomes a competitive advantage in plants

Mobile devices enable technicians to complete tasks and record notes directly at the machines they are maintaining and repairing.

04/10/2017


Mobile devices enable technicians to complete tasks and record notes directly at the machines they are maintaining and repairing. Courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE MediaBy offering increased flexibility and accessibility, mobile devices play a key role in helping manufacturers compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. The use of mobile devices offers manufacturing technicians and managers quick availability to important data, helping meet maintenance and operations demands on the manufacturing floor faster and with additional value.

For the simplest to the most complex maintenance operations, mobile devices enable technicians to complete tasks and record notes directly at the machines they are maintaining and repairing. In fact, technicians who use mobile devices to access equipment maintenance data are reporting more frequently and with higher accuracy than without their tablets and phones. They can also track their work, view it and record it.

Using phones and tablets to access, analyze and report on-work assignments can drive key advantages for manufacturers.

Efficiency benefits

According to manufacturing client data at Dude Solutions, using mobile devices helped generate a 300% increase in added work orders, completed work and completed data forms.

Access to maintenance checklists at the equipment location lets technicians quickly update the status of tasks. They also can retrieve instructions and diagrams on their devices, eliminating any need for printed documents. The real-time visibility of a mobile platform ensures that problems are solved faster without administrative lag.

Minimizing Errors

Entering real-time data means technicians' reports are more accurate and more data is entered with fewer errors. Real-time problems can now be answered with real-time solutions. For example, technicians can take a picture of a damaged part that needs to be replaced and record the problem immediately.

The technicians also can record information and other notes, without needing to write it down or remember it at the end of the day. Technicians also have access to the latest instruction manuals, material safety data sheet documentation and training materials.

Cost savings

Mobile devices can help organizations achieve a more significant return on investment, as they are very affordable and allow for more efficient equipment and labor monitoring.

For example, if technicians can simply swipe tablets to begin their time and swipe again to stop their time, they can record exact labor hours and labor monitoring reports. This makes it easier for an employer to track time spent on each piece of equipment but it also saves a lot of time that technicians previously would have spent on their computers or with manual log sheets. It also can increase the willingness of employees to track their time.

Once disabled equipment is operating again, this can be communicated to all stakeholders, guaranteeing there is no delay in using equipment due to communication processes.

Critical data

Data is an important part of how organizations assess their operational health and identify continued success and areas for improvement. Mobile devices make it extremely easy to collect precise data. Combine that accurate data with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that simplifies and centralizes the process of gathering, storing, and analyzing data, and intelligent operations is a day-to-day reality.

Critical insights can be made on preventive maintenance (PM) compliance and equipment failure reasons, and the correlation between the two. For example, the data could show that implementing a PM program could save thousands of dollars per year by preventing electrical failures.

Mobile platforms developed specifically for manufacturing yield the best results for manufacturing organizations, as those platforms are in tune with tracking relevant trends and metrics. This includes the cost of equipment downtime and the comparative performance of specific lines or plants.

Cloud-based opportunities

When using a mobile platform, cloud-based solutions are often the easiest, most affordable and quickest way to go mobile. Cloud-based solutions offer secure, high-performing platforms regardless of the device or operating system used-whether that is accessing an app on a personal device or utilizing corporate-issued devices.

Cloud-based solutions also do not require IT expertise or the purchase of software or servers, which can lead to cost savings. Systems should allow for unlimited users, ensuring the system can scale over time without the added expense of paying for additional licenses.

Businesses and consumers have realized the value of mobility in the way they access, analyze and interact with data. The manufacturing world is no different. Flexibility is critical on today's manufacturing floors, and mobile platforms can provide the flexibility needed to support these organizations as well as their customers.

Alexandra Altvater is manufacturing industries manager for Dude Solutions.



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.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
Safety standards and electrical test instruments; Product of the Year winners; Easy and safe electrical design
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Diagnostic functions for system safety; Specifying industrial enclosures; Effective decision support for a crisis
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

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.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me