Do Better. Everything you want to know about equipment connectivity, and way more than you will want to remember.
Machine connectivity and data acquisition requires data sources appropriately designed to supply useful information about your process. Modern equipment with control systems designed for this purpose often provide a connection point and protocol that enables free flow of information, while legacy equipment without information-enabled controllers hold the information locally with no practical or cost-effective means to connect and collect that process data. Pratt & Whitney has a mix of modern and legacy equipment and has engaged us to connect the modern equipment to your network and help provide a modern way to collect information from the legacy machines.
Connection and protocol (language) are the first challenge and determining the required granularity of data is the next step. You must first examine your goals.
What will you use the information for?
If your goal is to understand when your equipment is on and producing, count production, count kick-off or scrap produced, know when the machine stops and starts again, and know some rudimentary reasons for the stops, then adding an appliance to the existing system will allow you achieve that goal. The cost can range from $600 to $6000 per machine, and your ROI is quick when you act on the information you get from the system each day. (You can learn more about our appliance further on in this reading.)
If your goals include understanding the health of your equipment, the impact of your equipment on the quality of your product or process, then modernization of your control system is the only practical way to achieve this. Modernization can include the upgrade or replacement of your control system, the addition of sensors and I/O, or sometimes the addition of ethernet options and hardware expansions to the existing control.
Costs for modernization are entirely dependent upon equipment configuration, machine process, your functional requirements and your specifications for control systems. You can expect modernization to be a significant investment; however, this too should be quick ROI when you act on the machine health, product and process quality, and downtime information at your fingertips. (Not to mention the increased reliability and availability of support for modern control systems.) A well-designed system will help you know about trouble early enough to prevent problems, keep you from over or under maintaining your equipment, and keep everyone informed with one source of the truth.