Why organisations don't greenlight wireless condition monitoring projects

We're in the business of deploying wireless condition monitoring to critical, fixed rotating assets. So naturally, we regularly come up against objections and reluctance. Change is scary, and so many organisations seek safety and security in maintaining the status quo. So I thought I'd take the time to discuss the common reasons organisations don't move forward with condition monitoring solutions.

The belief that Wireless Condition Monitoring is expensive

People, very justifiably, can assume that it’s costly or difficult to implement. The perception stems from the fact that comprehensive, wireless smart sensors often require specialist installation and come with a hefty upfront price tag. However, this isn't looking at the full picture - or even the right picture. With so many options now available in the IIoT condition monitoring space, solutions are getting cheaper and less complicated to deploy. 

Solutions such as FitMachine offer organisations the opportunity to implement real-time condition monitoring without the need for specialists (or platform gurus). Usage-based pricing also means that organisations simply pay for the hours their assets are used.

Furthermore, organisations often don't factor in the long-term, full cost of ownership when evaluating solutions (including their incumbent ones). In comparison to wireless solutions, when deploying or inspecting, wired solutions can warrant machine stoppages, plant reorganising, and extra labour. All this adds up to significant costs after the initial purchase.

Wireless solutions, by their nature are attached to an asset in such a way that eliminates the need for costly shut downs.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

Some organisations give us feedback that they’re hesitant to move away from preventative maintenance programs which are established and have served them well in the past.

And, at least initially, we don’t advocate for wholesale changes to programs that keep your plant running. Getting an equipment condition monitoring project up and running is about spending time on collaboration. This ensures that all data is being interpreted and actioned appropriately, stakeholders are bought in and you have an actionable plan to alter existing programs.

The misconception that Condition monitoring projects require specialists

A lack of sophistication in plant (or at least a perceived lack) often puts a halt to CBM and condition monitoring projects. The misconception that highly skilled or operators with remote condition monitoring PM experience are required on-site stems from incumbent vendors building information and talent silos around their products. Whilst there are still some systems out there that require specialist experience, this is not the case for many IIoT-enabled solutions.

Open platforms, a focus on UX and user-centric UI have given rise to condition monitoring solutions that are easily deployed and provide information (and actions) that can be interpreted by anyone within a business. For example, FitMachine sensor deployment across a fleet can be conducted by one person, in minutes, and live data can be shared with everyone in an organisation almost instantaneously.

No organisation and process is EXACTLY the same, so it's important to identify solutions that are flexible. With adaptable platforms like FitMachine, organisations can mould the solution to their requirements, and serve all stakeholders on the platform.

The key for organisations is to seek out and evaluate products with the relevant parties involved. As mentioned above, a collaborative process leads to less headaches down the line, and consensus from the people who will be affected by these new technologies.

"We can't identify an ROI"

Perhaps the biggest blocker is a lack of understanding of the real ROI to be achieved through condition monitoring. This stems from 1) an existing inability to measure and attribute performance of current processes & technologies and 2) not asking the right questions. Simply looking at an upfront or short term costs against the bottom line, leads to missing some other measures of value - even missing the true, total ROI.

Some great questions to ask of your organisation are:

  • Is equipment downtime excessive?
  • Are the machines meeting their expected life?
  • Are risks (health and safety) in the business being properly managed?
  • How much is being spent on unnecessary maintenance?
  • Is the business willing to implement a program?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then a condition based maintenance program can add value to operations. 

Want to discuss more about positioning your wireless condition monitoring project for success? Get in touch with me


Photo by David Guenther on Unsplash


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