Category

Field Service

Galileo Facing the Roman Inquisition (Chistiano Banti, 1857)

Why Service Organizations Resist Predictive Maintenance

By | Field Service, Internet of Things, Reliability, Service Technology | No Comments

Much of the buzz about the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive algorithms is calling service organizations to adopt predictive maintenance (PdM) methods and tools. In fact, PdM is one of the frustratingly few-well flashed-out use cases for IoT.

The rationale for adopting predictive maintenance is quite convincing.

Many service organizations schedule equipment maintenance activities based on statistical models.  Routine preventive maintenance (PM) schedule is based on average failure rates of components and systems and prescribes mandatory part replacement and other maintenance activities before a critical failure is likely to occur.

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The Conjurer (School of Hieronymus Bosch, after 1500)

Predictive Maintenance: Myths, Promises, and Reality

By | Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Field Service, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Service Technology | One Comment

The industrial Internet of Things and its Digital Twin surrogate are fueling exciting conversations about business process innovation on the factory floor and in industrial equipment manufacturing. One hot area in particular is the broad and often loosely-defined practice of Predictive Maintenance (PdM) of complex machinery. As is frequently the case when technology innovation is trying to penetrate (should I have said “disrupt”?) an established business practice, there’s a good dose of hype and optimism on the side of technology pundits, countered by skepticism and resistance to change from maintenance organizations and experienced field service technicians.

A business associate sent me an article written by a technology vendor seeking to debunk what the authors deem to be myths about PdM (try searching for “predictive maintenance myths” and you will find a few on the topic). That article and recent vendor presentations I attended suggest that further examination of misunderstandings and perhaps exaggerated expectations from PdM technology is in order. Read More

Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey

Augmented Reality and the Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey Demo

By | AR/VR, Field Service, Service Technology | 4 Comments

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology seems like a natural fit for personnel performing intricate assembly, maintenance and repair jobs. AR technology is used to annotate physical objects by superimposing physical objects, in real-time, with virtual information from documents, databases and sensors to assist technicians in performing complex tasks. For example, the AR annotation layer could highlight a part to be replaced, identify special tools needed for the task, prescribe detailed work instructions, and display warnings about potentially hazardous materials and activities.

Unlike virtual reality, which replaces the physical world, AR adds information that augments and enhances the real-world experience.

Work on using augmented reality in industrial settings dates back to the 1990s. The renewed interest in applying AR in service and maintenance tasks stems from two converging trends. Read More

Section perpendiculaire du moulin des Verdiers (Jean-Jacque Lequeu, 1778)

Industrial IoT and Equipment Service

By | Field Service, Internet of Things | One Comment

Despite criticism of being overly hyped, IoT technology remains top of mind in many organizations and  will continue to dominate conversations and drive new investments, and for many good reasons. There are numerous areas where Industrial IoT (IIoT) offers clear and significant business value potential. One of the better articulated use cases is service lifecycle management (SLM) and, in particular, remote monitoring and diagnostics.

The annals of equipment service reveal that remote diagnostics and telematics in general are anything but a new concept. In the 80s and 90s, IBM, Digital Equipment, Xerox and other product companies build equipment capable of “phoning home” using commercial telephone lines to report a malfunction, and remote access to enable equipment troubleshooting.

Why IoT, Why Now?

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Augmented Relaity

Virtual Reality is Awaiting its iPhone Moment

By | AR/VR, Field Service, Service Technology | No Comments

I have been involved in developing, evaluating and selecting tools and methods for field service and failure diagnostics in complex equipment for many years. Among the many technologies, virtual reality (VR), the technology that was heralded and then flopped in the 90s, seems to stage a comeback, thanks to significant improvement in hardware and visualization technologies, and eye-catching products like Google Glass (discontinued earlier this year), Oculus Rift (acquired by Apple in 2014) and Microsoft’s Hololens. A client sent me links to articles on virtual reality that appeared in a recent issue of The Economist and asked for an opinion.

The longer article, titled Grand Illusions, offers some historical perspective and discusses numerous opportunities for virtual reality applications, mostly related to gaming and gaming-like areas. The article cautions readers to “curb your enthusiasm”, citing multiple technology, human physiology and social barriers. Read More