Is Your Operation Ready for Smart Sensors?

Is Your Operation Ready for Smart Sensors?

Unless you’re aware what is happening on machines installed in factories minute-by-minute, it’s impossible to maintain optimum productivity and efficiency at all times, or to avoid unplanned downtime and loss of production.

Conventional sensors can provide only a limited amount of information and lack the capability to offer diagnostic or parameter data that can be exchanged with a controller. An integrated smart sensor solution provides all the data required to create a comprehensive picture of the status of an enterprise at any moment.

As integral components of The Connected Enterprise, smart sensors provide easy access to actionable, contextualized data that can help maximize Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) while decreasing a machine’s Mean Time to Repair (MTTR).

But how do you know if switching to smart sensors is the right choice for your operation?

Webinar: Make Data Driven Decisions Faster Smart Sensors for Smarter Machines

It’s Time to Come Clean

Sensors that require frequent cleaning are prime candidates for a smart sensor upgrade. For example, in dusty and dirty industrial environments, photoelectric sensor lenses can often collect debris and therefore need frequent cleaning to maintain their performance.

Such applications could benefit from smart sensing technology, leveraging the inherent diagnostics to provide indication to maintenance personnel that a sensor lens may be dirty but still detecting presence/absence of objects.

In the future, the debris may build up to a point where the sensor can no longer detect the target.

When using a smart sensor, the maintenance team will be notified before the machine exhibits yield issues so the sensors can be cleaned during a normal maintenance cycle. This is extremely impactful since it actually PREVENTS downtime.

The same holds true for proximity sensors in applications involving weld slag or other metallic materials that can build up on sensor face.

Instead of waiting for a yield issue or a complete line down situation, the operator will receive warnings that areas of the machine require attention during normal maintenance.

Calculating the cost of sensor configurations for the downtime related to sensor damage and malfunctions is the key to determining whether switching to smart sensors is right for you. Still unsure if smart sensors are worth the investment?

If you want to learn more, see our free webinar, and keep an eye out for more posts in our series about smart sensors.

Kevin Zomchek
Posted May 3, 2017 By Kevin Zomchek, Business Manager, Rockwell Automation
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