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Production Process Insights

Harness the Power of the IIoT in Your Plant

Posted by John Powalisz on 9/16/19 8:00 AM
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Industrial Internet of Things Power Plant

It’s not a matter of if, but when your plant will incorporate the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) into its everyday operations. The IIoT is making manufacturing smarter and faster than ever before by attaching networked sensors and intelligent devices to equipment to gather data, store it wirelessly, and then use analytics and machine learning to take actions that will optimize operations.

improve your facility with the industrial internet of things 

The IIoT delivers extra intelligence that helps operators make cost-effective decisions, improve safety, and increase efficiency and reliability. It promises to transform traditional plants into dynamic, integrated systems and revolutionize the world’s largest industries through:


1. Improved Preventive Maintenance

If a machine goes down, sensors automatically identify the issue and initiate a service request. It can also detect and analyze everything from sound frequencies and vibrations to the temperature of the equipment. By monitoring these conditions, these sensors help a facility predict when a machine might break down before it happens, making preventive maintenance easier and less costly. This in turn can help reduce equipment downtime and maximize productivity.


2. Improved Safety

If a dangerous pressure condition is about to be reached, operators will be warned well before it explodes so they can take corrective action.


3. Asset Tracking 

The Industrial Internet of Things helps operators keep track of assets, such as tools, equipment and people, so they spend less time tracking down what they need to do their jobs.


4. Lower Costs

IIoT implementations take advantage of advancements in wired and wireless sensors, networking and data storage technologies to deliver more data at lower costs. This allows plants to measure far more parameters than previously possible, many of which were too expensive to monitor with older solutions.


5. Accurate Predictive Modeling 

Traditional tools require manually copying and pasting both recent historical and planned data into a spreadsheet. But advanced analytics software connects to various data sources and helps operators quickly and easily view this data and its resulting insight -  improving the quality and timeliness of models.


6. AI Based "Smart Alarms"

The IIoT can enable Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based smart chemistry alarms that alert only when an actual chemistry event – such as a condenser leak or pH excursion – occurs. This helps give operators confidence that when an alarm sounds, it’s real. It also alerts the operator to specific issues, while identifying specific action to prevent damage.


hidden Challenges: Potential barriers to iiot implementation 

As with everything, however, there are some challenges your plant may face when implementing the Industrial Internet of Things.


1. Connecting Legacy Systems to High-Tech Networks

Many legacy systems have been in operation for decades and might not be compatible with new technologies necessary for the Industrial Internet of Things. What’s more, not all vendors’ sampling equipment is able to easily integrate with IIoT devices, keeping operators from the complete information they need. 


2. Security Implications 

Interconnected “smart” devices are uniquely vulnerable to security issues. Having these devices on a network directly connected to the internet exposes plants to risks such as cyber-crime and malware infection. Exposure to these crimes can lead to a major security breach or even a shutdown.

Undetected security gaps like exposed ports, inadequate authentication practices and obsolete applications contribute to these risks. Some experts recommend that plants adopting the IIoT must plan and operate like technology companies to mitigate these risks and maintain secure operations.


3. Need for Highly Skilled Workers

Integrating IIoT equipment means operators need to have an understanding of its inner workings.


4. Cost of Implementation

Many plants haven’t budgeted for high-tech solutions that weren’t available when the plant was planned and built. To maximize the value of an IIoT investment, it’s best to identify and deploy sensors at points that directly affect the bottom line - providing actionable return on investment (ROI). 


With the potential to add $10 trillion to $15 trillion to worldwide GDP over the next decade, making these considerations are becoming increasingly important. Make sure that your plant is ready by harnessing the power of AI with Sentry Guard SA smart alarms.


Topics: Power, Liquid & Slurry, Steam & Water

Written by John Powalisz

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John Powalisz, Director of International Sales, is dedicated to sharing his technical expertise and knowledge of sampling equipment and systems in power plants, refineries, chemical and food processing facilities garnered from more than 19 years with the company. John has worked with clients worldwide to help them to comply with regulations and optimize processes by applying proper sampling hardware and techniques. While he is well-versed in all Sentry products and applications, he is particularly focused on the food and beverage and power generation markets as well as emerging market development.