Last week, Valve Magazine published an article by ARC Advisory Group consultant Peter Reynolds on how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will be instrumental in improving control valve maintenance. Using data and analytics, companies will be able to time service and repair more accurately, which will reduce costs and eliminate downtime.
In this article, we explore exactly what the “Industrial Internet of Things” is and what implications this new level of connection will have for the valve equipment in manufacturing facilities and along pipelines.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things?
The term Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the billions of Internet-connected sensors and devices in our world today. These devices are often referred to as “smart.”
For example, you can now control the temperature and even the lighting in your home with your smartphone. There’s a tennis racket that provides players with data about their strokes, power, and impact. Even Johnnie Walker has joined the Internet of Things, with smart bottles that can detect when each bottle is opened and when it’s consumed. According to Gartner, there will be 26 billion connected “things” in the IoT by 2020.
The Industrial Internet of Things is the application of IoT technologies to the manufacturing sector by adding sensors to equipment and tracking the data through software. The effect of this will be huge.
“Within a decade, the Industrial Internet will be worth more than twice the consumer Internet, and a new breed of digital industrial companies will deliver faster innovation and growth than industry has ever seen before.” ~Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE
A few benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things:
- Improved operational efficiency
- Better business intelligence
- Ability to find and solve problems earlier
- Better quality control
- Supply chain traceability and efficiency
- Cost savings on maintenance, energy, and more
What does this mean for valves?
As Reynolds wrote in his article, one of the main implications of the IIoT for valves is improved maintenance schedules. This will require the combination of connected devices and software to collect and analyze the data.
For example, ValvKeep is a valve management system that allows you to keep track of all of the valves in your facility and along your pipeline. The data includes all valve history, including problems and repairs, maintenance work, documentation, and much more. By tracking your valve data, you can better predict when maintenance is likely to be required for individual valves. This helps you make repairs before you have a serious problem on your hands, and also decreases the amount of time and money you spend on unnecessary maintenance.
Now imagine how much more efficient your operations would be if the valves were connected and constantly streaming real-time performance data.
Currently, the main place we’re seeing smart technology is on control valves, where it’s used for diagnostics. As the IIoT evolves over the next few years, we’ll likely see smart technology be adopted for other types of valves and actuators, as well. It’s an exciting time.
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