Remote monitoring: 5 ways to modernize your operation

The information needed to diagnose, treat—and even predict—plant-floor issues is now little more than an Internet connection away. Industrial organizations are starting to take advantage of better remote access capabilities.


In today’s hyper-connected world, data and information moves quickly and constantly. The industrial environment is no different. Best-in-class production companies are constantly assessing their machines—monitoring them to ensure they’re at peak performance and making adjustments when they’re not.

In the past, maintenance personnel often were forced to make those adjustments based on a less-than-complete picture due to gaps in plant-floor data. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case any longer. The information needed to diagnose, treat—and even predict—plant-floor issues is now little more than an Internet connection away.

Industrial organizations are starting to take advantage of better remote access capabilities. Here are some ways industrial companies can use this technology to optimize production and solve maintenance challenges:

  1. Gather real-time insights. Remote monitoring systems offer real-time machine production data so systems can be continuously monitored and optimized. Everything from key measurements like switch temperatures, CPU usage, and flow rates, to faults and alarms and higher-level production trends can be collected, monitored, and analyzed around the clock and around the globe.  
  2. Diagnose the root cause of problems. Oftentimes manufacturers are cognizant of the symptoms of a major equipment issue, but diagnosing the issue and determining the best course of action is complex. The comprehensive view offered by remote access to plant-floor data makes it possible for operators to diagnose the root of the issue and apply the most appropriate solution to fix it—all without leaving the comforts of home.
  3. Rely on an experienced automation specialist. As today’s manufacturing staff becomes leaner, plant operators and IT staff often don’t have the training, time, or skill set to understand and address complex production issues. Third-party automation experts specialize in the area—possessing a deep knowledge of plant-floor technologies. Advancements in remote technology make it easier than ever to take advantage of this expertise. Secure Internet connections make it easy for automation professionals to help troubleshoot plant-floor issues, discover trends, and identify process improvements.
  4. Perform preventive maintenance activities. Don’t wait to perform routine maintenance tasks until something is already wrong. Remote monitoring can help change the status quo when it comes to maintenance. Allowing remote access to machine data enables automation professionals to access plant-floor data and perform a variety of support and maintenance activities—from suggesting overall infrastructure health improvements to monitoring individual process tags. By proactively monitoring conditions and data, specialists can remotely identify root causes and correct them before they become catastrophic issues.
  5. Increase visibility to remote locations. Companies with plants overseas, oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, and locations in a variety of other remote places often have limited, if any, access to their machines. Frequently this creates a time-consuming, not to mention costly, maintenance and repair scenario. Taking advantage of remote monitoring technologies allows global producers to access their facilities and equipment regardless of location. Working with specialists trained to monitor these facilities can save additional time and money. 

Jon Furniss is global product manager for Rockwell Automation.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
Industrial wireless cyber security: More complex than black and white; IIoT at the I/O level; Process modeling; Cyber security research
Robotic advances: Software, form factors; System-based ROI; Embedded control; MES and information integration; SCADA and cyber security; Position sensor; Controller, I/O module
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle