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Q: Given demands on our plant, when is an industrial IoT project worth the investment?
A: Derek Marek, Donaldson Company, says:
Plant supervisors are facing a barrage of claims about smart technology—industrial IoT. It’s important to evaluate whether an industrial IoT solution will reap a return on investment. There are three clear signals that an IoT project may worthwhile:
If you know the cost of your hourly downtime, it is easier to prioritize IoT projects that keep you up and running. In a survey sponsored by Donaldson, 38% percent of facility engineers reported that, if their dust collector fails, their production line must shut down—at an average cost of $3,700 per hour. If your facility requires a reliable dust collector, calculate your downtime costs and compare them with the costs of subscribing to an IoT-enabled monitoring service.
Ask yourself if the IoT solution will pay off in longer-lasting equipment or parts. In dust collectors, for example, filters may last longer with proper monitoring. One facility we work with was having to replace filters every six weeks and could not identify the cause. With connected monitoring, the issue became clear: inadequate compressed air pressure. The facility was able to address the issue and restore filter life to approximately one year. Where could real-time information help reduce your recurring costs?
Are you tasked with reporting pollution control or exposure data to a local, state, or federal authority having jurisdiction? You may often have to spend time walking to dust collectors and manually recording data, then later manually entering that data for storage. This is a time-consuming process that can lead to outdated reports or human errors. A connected dust collector automates data collection on factors such as differential pressure. This ensures up-to-date information during an audit, and reduces the errors often associated with manual entry.
In short, ask where a connected solution can spare you downtime, reduce equipment costs, and/or help you comply with regulations. With any or all of these benefits, an IoT solution may be a sound investment.