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Modern manufacturers depend on a suite of applications to manage their businesses effectively. Innovators are constantly thinking about the weak links and looking for solutions to improve efficiency without sacrificing quality. IoT (Internet of Things) and Industry 4.0 technologies offer new ways to speed up the flow of information, improve data accuracy, and predict problems. For smaller manufacturers, a great way to enter the IoT highway is with Direct Machine Data – or Machine Monitoring.

Machine monitoring companies provide a way to collect information directly from equipment, via hardware attached to equipment, from ERP systems, and directly from operators. When all this information is in one database, a front-end application shows meaningful real-time data, historical analysis, and predictive information. Some programs calculate OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency), a very meaningful, informative metric once the team understands it. Manufacturers with these technology catch problems quicker, identify and correct issues, and keep equipment and people working more efficiently than is possible with siloed data and the “walk around the shop” method of management.

So, how do you know you are ready to invest in an IoT solution that connects machine data to everything else?

Here are some indicators:
1) You have unexplained downtimes, longer than planned setups and runtimes that you only catch after the fact, and inconsistencies between shifts, operators, machines, and jobs.
2) You want to know in real-time what is happening on each machine from anywhere and can no longer quickly see all the machines at one time.
3) You either run “lights-out” or want to run equipment unattended.
4) You want to increase the number of machines an operator can manage at one time.
5) You want to increase the amount of automation in your manufacturing process.

Check out 4 Tips on Selecting an Agnostic Machine Monitoring Solution for ideas on getting started. Or visit the websites of these companies who all provide machine monitoring services: Machine Metrics, Freedom, Memex, SensrTrx, JITbase, Amper, FactoryWiz, and FreePoint. If you would like to learn more about a comparison, contact me for a free consultation.

Rose of Sharon DeVos is the CEO and Founder of IIoT Automating Solutions in the Chicago, Illinois area. She helps manufacturers select, implement and optimize technology solutions like machine monitoring for proven ROI. 


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