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Simplifying predictive maintenance for rotating equipment

By Vinnie Strey, Senior Marketing Manager, Manufacturing, HPE Aruba Networking

Asset breakdown is expensive. So as purpose-built gateways

Uptime is the watchword in manufacturing and industrial facilities because it directly impacts operational efficiency, productivity, and profitability. The continuous wear and tear on rotating equipment makes it particularly susceptible to failure, regardless of the original build quality. Since abnormal vibrations and heat typically precede the failure of rotating equipment, instrumenting machines with a temperature-sensing multi-axis accelerometer and monitoring for abnormalities can detect and prevent impending certain failure modes. Problems that are discovered can be repaired faster and at lower cost compared with addressing a catastrophic failure.

Adhering a sensor (accelerometer) to a machine is straightforward. However, that isn’t the case with data collection and monitoring. Installing a dedicated sensor is expensive, especially for sites with just a few in-scope machines. Gateways to collect and forward sensor data to a monitoring application have high life-cycle costs and pose security challenges because of the way they handle security keys, authentication, and encryption. Even though popular nowadays, bypassing secure corporate IT networks using cellular links creates the potential for unauthorized data exfiltration.

Leveraging your network as an IoT gateway for predictive maintenance

The ideal solution is to use the existing IT infrastructure to securely collect and transport operational technology (OT) sensor data to its intended application. To this end, HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi Access Points include IT, Internet of Things (IoT), and OT radios to communicate with sensors and actuators. Access points are available for ATEX Zone 2/Class 1 Division 2 hazardous environments, allowing them to be locate wherever people work or machines operate. The access points segregate and securely tunnel IoT and OT devices traffic over encrypted tunnels to their target applications. Since HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi Access Points are pervasively deployed throughout facilities to facilitate secure mobility for employees and contractors, they provide the ideal platform for OT data collection.

HPE Aruba Networking has partnered with ABB, HID, and other vendors to interoperate with their BLE-enabled sensors. The access points collect and securely forward vibration and temperature data over encrypted tunnels to on-premises, private cloud, or public cloud preventive maintenance applications. If sensors are located remotely, such as oil rigs or along pipelines, HPE Aruba Networks Edge Connect SD-WAN can provide secure and redundant communication over Internet, cellular, fiber, satcom, and MPLS links. Edge Connect has been validated by cloud vendors, and can land the traffic directly in AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, should they host the preventive maintenance applications.

A more resilient, cost-effective predictive maintenance architecture

The financial advantages of this solution are many. Vibration and temperature data can be streamed from rotating equipment to monitoring application over existing, secure IT infrastructure. Dedicated sensor networks or hardware gateways are not required. This fact:

  • Lowers the cost of deployment and maintenance since access points already include the IoT and OT networks. Customers can add predictive monitoring at any time without ripping-and-replacing infrastructure.
  • Lowers the cost of operation by allowing multiple sensors and actuators (from various vintages and different manufacturers) to operate at the same time over a plethora of radios on access points. Therefore, it also helps prevents vendor lock-in.
  • Reduces MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) of the equipment by allowing maintenance to be conducted prior to a catastrophic failure while planning for service and spare parts without expediting.
  • Boosts MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) of the equipment by anticipating failures and increasing uptime.
  • Reduces complexity of the technology stack to enable predictive monitoring.
  • Ensures end-to-end security and visibility using existing security monitoring tools.

Maintaining high uptime of rotating equipment is no longer an expensive challenge. Machines can now be instrumented with temperature-sensing multi-axis accelerometers and monitored without adding new infrastructure or busting a budget. For more information, please visit Aruba Manufacturing Solutions.