The alarm of the future may be able to warn workers about incidents before they happen and make sure only the people that can fix the problem are informed.

Instead of an alarm alerting the entire factory and creating lots of confusion, GE Digital senior product marketing manager, Alicia Bowers, sees a world where alarms are informative, preventive, and not annoying.

See Also: Huawei and General Electric team up to power industrial IoT

As part of GE Digital’s industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) push, it wants factories to install analytics for its machines. From there, the machine needs to be able to alert a centralized system, which will find the closest engineer able to fix the issue using geo-location.

GE Digital has built a system that does most of that, though more complex analytics, like machine self-assessment, is still in early days.

GE systems notifies engineers of needed fixes

Engineers may receive notifications on a mobile device from the system, detailing what machine needs repaired, how to fix it, and a risk assessment of the situation.

Having systems that can identify issues could save factories millions in repair costs over the years, not to mention the rise in productivity from a significant reduction in machine failures.

“Consider temperature monitoring on a piece of equipment. If the temperature exceeds the upper control limit, an alarm is activated. Traditionally, an operator would now react to the alarm. Analytics have made it possible to evolve from being reactionary to predicting when the event will occur and taking steps in advance,” said Bowers in Automation World.

Businesses are interested in IIoT, but only 25 percent in a recent survey are in the deployment stage. Many are worried that staff won’t understand the analytics, which will require the business to employ higher paid engineers.

David Curry

David Curry