Having access to this data and information is, of course, reassuring, but is there still critical equipment that managers can’t see?
Unseen equipment that, if it failed, would create a major headache (or worse) in production loss and may prove difficult to repair quickly?
Most plants rely heavily on electric motors. Whether fixed or variable speed, they provide the motive force that transports, cuts, mixes, pumps, cools, doses, aerates, packages, and drives all manner of processes that products need to undergo before they are ready for dispatch and sale.
Whilst the demand control of these motors comes from the programmable automation controller (PAC), the grunt work, the actual switching of the electrical load, is usually through a motor control centre (MCC).
Frequently, MCCs are not located in the same area as the automation control equipment, but rather in plant rooms or switch rooms. And they quietly (or not so quietly) get on with their work. Their reliability – which is usually very impressive – being their worst enemy.
Why? Well, when something just gets on and works, it’s easy for it to simply be taken for granted. An expectation that just grows with each passing month or year.
But of course, nothing lasts forever and when the inevitable failure does come, it’s at best an inconvenience and at worst catastrophic.
It needn’t be like this. MCCs can be intelligent. They can be integrated through EtherNet/IP into your Connected Enterprise and they can provide important information on the health of not just themselves but also of the motors and machines they feed.