Updated: Nov 23
As you evaluate various solutions, and there are many great ones to chose from, there are some important things to keep in mind. Doing a very thorough and complete criticality analysis will allow you to control the conversation on which assets will be continuously monitored and what metrics will be recorded.
Here are some of the key issues to watch out for during the evaluation process:
Too much hardware - The success of the project will depend on meeting the financial goals you established during the planning stages. The vendor selling you the system will benefit from you monitoring a maximum number of assets. Unfortunately this could push your return on investment out beyond a reasonable time period - or never. There are also ongoing costs including subscription and hardware replacement.
Exaggerated claims - We actually had a customer tell us that a vendor claimed that by using an inexpensive vibration sensor on a motor they could send a work order to the plant to add grease. Although there are ways to do this using ultrasonic or high resolution sensors, this most likely exceeds the capabilities of most low end sensors
Vendor support - Be sure and understand what this means. Is it limited to helping resolve hardware issues? Or are they going to help you interpret the data and set up the system?
Battery life - Many sensors are sealed and have a non rechargeable, non replaceable battery. You may here claims of 3 or more years of battery life. But there is no absolute for this. It is dependent on temperature and quantity of data transmission. The ideal sensor for battery life can be configured to send data packets infrequently under normal operating conditions but start sending frequent data packets if conditions cross a sensor programmed threshold.
It may be best to chose a system that's easily scalable and start small with monitoring the most critical and/or troublesome assets. Your solution partner should be capable of providing the level of support you will need after the system is installed. If you are monitoring rotating apparatus there could be great value in working with a company that specializes in this area.