You Don't Need Better Machines for Better Uptime, You Need Better Software

Posted: 16 March, 2021

Machine Uptime increasingly makes the difference between generating a profit or a loss, particularly in commodity industries where margins are thin or vanishing. However, there will always be a point at which machines cannot be made more efficiently within existing hardware constraints. What do machine builders do then? How can efficiency and reliability be improved using only existing hardware?

In order to satisfy such strong demand for machine uptime, machine vendors and system integrators are working to find ways to increase machine uptime with software tools that will allow operators to keep their machines up and running as much as possible without huge investments in hardware improvements. Here are some of the ways modern HMI/SCADA software is improving machine reliability and uptime:

Predictive Maintenance rather than Reactive Maintenance

Thanks to the newest features in SCADA/HMI software, it’s possible to build predictive maintenance into almost any machine. Scheduling and alarm functions can serve to remind operators and plant managers to handle machine part replacements, repairs, and upgrades before anything goes wrong. By scheduling a shut-down, it’s possible to control when and how the machine will go offline and reduce wasted product and production hours.

In addition, SCADA and HMI applications can be used to direct maintenance and repair staff to potential problem sites immediately, with a clear diagnostic of the issues. By keeping maintenance pro-active rather than reactive, it’s possible to reduce machine downtime by preventing problems before they occur, or by being able to take corrective actions when machine output starts to trend poorly.

Remote Management Capabilities

Remote management capabilities may allow a machine to operate even when no operator is present or may allow an operator to diagnose or correct problems even while offsite. Remote connectivity may take the form of web-based applications or may employ secure thin clients. AVEVA has seen many examples of the ways remote connectivity has allowed machines to remain online even without in-person operators. 

AVEVA Edge offers remote management capabilities like the ability to quickly publish applications to the web, which can then be viewed on any device with a browser that supports HTML5. In addition, AVEVA Edge offers secure thin clients that can be easily deployed on many machines at once.

Better Data Analytics

Data can play an enormous role in machine uptime, particularly if your SCADA/HMI application is designed to give operators a clear picture of how the machine is operating. Machines are capable of taking in incredible amounts of data, but it’s up to the designer of the HMI to show that data in a way that will make the most sense to operators.

One way data can be used to improve uptime is to contextualize information with easily visible visual cues that offer context to the information. One example is to accompany numerical values with a graph or accompanying trend so that operators can better see when machines are not sending alarms, but may still require attention. Another method of evaluating machine health is to use something like the Business Intelligence Tool to monitor machine efficiency. If efficiency is steadily declining, it may be a good idea to schedule maintenance.

Start with Great Software

AVEVA Edge offers you all the tools you need to improve your uptime, and move further in your digital transformation journey. 

 

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