Five ways to improve machine maintenance with remote monitoring

Learn how mechanical and electrical contractors are turning to technologies such as mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) to automate machine maintenance and provide care throughout the lifecycle of the equipment.

By Joanna Rotter, MSI Data June 27, 2016

When it comes to building maintenance and facility services engineers, certain key trends are emerging as vital for business success in 2016.

1. Service offerings will become key differentiators for many mechanical engineering firms.

2. Mobile is a crucial tool to enable maintenance teams to get work orders completed and billed faster.

3. Remote monitoring—through sensors, cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – is taking off as an industry standard.

Even though many of these technologies have been around for years, 2016 is the year they become more realistic for building maintenance and facility service businesses of all sizes. As quality, reliable service becomes a must-have for most commercial equipment customers, service providers will need to get creative about how they apply the latest technology to improve product support.

This article reveals how mechanical and electrical contractors are turning to technologies, like mobile and the IoT, to automate machine maintenance and provide care throughout the lifecycle of the equipment.

1. Understand how equipment is being used

Monitoring equipment through the industrial Internet allows manufacturers to understand their end users’ needs and track how customers are actually using equipment (not just how they say they’re using it).

Gain visibility into equipment details like number of hours it runs per day and the number of work cycles it uses. Know what happens when a crane gets overloaded. Does it happen on 3rd shift when no one’s there? Or on 1st shift when the whole facility is running?

With detailed analysis of how equipment is being used, business leaders can make informed decisions to run more efficiently.

2. Improve operator behavior

Understanding how operators are using equipment, identifying issues to machine efficiency or project safety, and improving behavior through training is a key benefit to remote monitoring thanks to IoT sensors.

After analyzing operator behavior, businesses often discover their operators need more education. They structure operator training classes to overcome challenging areas. For example, if an operator is having a problem with frequent overloads, maybe it’s a situation where they’re not rigging the load correctly and the load is shifting when they’re lifting it. Equipped with that knowledge, organizations can train an operator how to properly load the equipment.

3. Develop better products

With remote monitoring capabilities, manufacturers have insight into how equipment is actually being used and are able to understand how operators are using the equipment day-to-day.

Mechanical contractors can use that information to better understand equipment use and, with that information, design a better machine to help the operator work more productively.

4. Decrease crane incidents and improve safety and convenience

According to a recent crane incident study conducted by Konecranes, 59% of crane incidents were caused by operator error. The study reveals that as a direct correlation to tracking and correcting improper operator behavior, project managers can cut crane incidents by more than half.

In addition to decreasing the number of crane incidents, equipment monitoring improves safety by preventing workers from putting themselves in dangerous situations. For example, workers can gauge machine temperature from their desks instead of having to climb up on the crane and measure the temperature by the control cabinet.

5. Provide proactive maintenance before the customer even knows anything’s wrong

One of the biggest financial benefits of remote monitoring is being able to use the Industrial IoT to sell more service contracts.

With connected equipment in the field, service organizations can set up parameters and trigger alerts based on specified equipment conditions. They can sell preventive maintenance contracts, and customers can hand over all machine care to the manufacturer or dealer. This sort of all-in-one service partnership offers reliable, consistent care for the customer and reliable, consistent revenue for the contractor.


The IoT holds huge possibilities for engineers, equipment manufacturers, and mechanical and electrical contractors, as it impacts each piece of the service management process. How will you use IIoT to take advantage of the opportunity in industrial service management?

– Joanna Rotter is the content marketing manager at MSI Data, a field service management software provider and creator of enterprise field service app, Service Pro. MSI Data is a CFE Media content partner.

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