Adjusting to the New Normal: The Need for Pervasive Remote Monitoring
As we continue to adapt to the evolving impact of COVID-19 on every aspect of our lives, one thing is clear: this pandemic will redefine our “normal.”
Work-from-home policies and shelter-in-place mandates are persistent and very personal reminders of the paralysis caused by COVID-19 that is so starkly reflected in massive macroeconomic market losses and manic swings of instability. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent statewide shelter-in-place order for the 40 million people who reside in the world’s fifth largest economy is a trend likely to be followed by other states, further highlighting the severity of this pandemic.
As we learn from these events, we can better prepare for the future. An increasingly remote workforce quickly turned to digital and virtual collaboration tools like Zoom, highlighting the ability of service professionals to remain (somewhat) productive through crises like these.
Remote monitoring technology can provide similar value for those responsible for maintaining our physical-world assets—providing peace of mind around critical and non-critical plant equipment and infrastructure. Everactive’s unique service offering of continuous monitoring utilizing batteryless wireless sensors offers a low-cost and maintenance-free way to achieve real-time remote visibility of the world around us (or, more aptly, of the world not around us).
Like most, our first concern at Everactive is for the health and safety of family and colleagues. With social distancing now hopefully helping to “flatten the curve,” there’s time to return some attention to what’s happening in our plants, labs, campuses, and offices that are now understaffed or even vacant.
Know What’s Happening Where You Aren’t
The value of remote monitoring of critical assets has always been clear, but the major disruptions that we’re all experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic hammer home the value of knowing all that is happening in the places you cannot currently go.
The obvious benefit of remote monitoring has always been knowing what’s happening without being there, providing certainty that can guide decision-making and resource allocation. With all the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic, pervasive remote monitoring can provide peace of mind and a level of confidence surrounding the health of all plant, property, and equipment.
Everactive is committed to giving its customers access to fundamentally new data streams, based on the belief that more knowledge is always better. Our first two products provide insight into steam traps (STM product) and rotating equipment (MHM product), with scalable batteryless Eversensors allowing deployment across every one of those assets throughout a facility. With fewer personnel on-site and limited third-party access, the insight from these monitoring systems enables efficient, targeted responses to equipment issues. By identifying failures immediately and prioritizing alarms, Everactive’s remote monitoring service helps de-risks asset operation.
Hard ROI & Savings in Belt-Tightening Times
The value of remote monitoring increases during staffing limitations like those occurring with the COVID-19 response. Uptime is always of paramount importance, but with fewer people operating and supporting systems, and with possibly scaled back working hours, equipment reliability and efficiency is more important than ever. As consumers clamor for essential health and safety supplies, downtime of certain manufacturing lines can have even more dire consequences than in a pre-pandemic world. Remote monitoring identifies key faults that require immediate attention and allows coordination of less critical fixes during planned downtime.
As the economy hits the brakes during this pandemic response and every business looks for ways to tighten the belt on spending, the hard savings available from remote monitoring become even more attractive. For example, stream traps that fail open (blow through) allow steam to blow down the drain continuously, increasing energy costs, while traps that fail cold (plugged) expose a plant to costly downtime and catastrophic safety issues. By monitoring every trap, the Everactive STM product finds these failures immediately and prioritizes them by impact. This enables rapid fixes for high-cost failures that help the bottom line. From steam trap monitoring alone, an average-sized plant can save well over $1M per year, which certainly makes a difference in tight times.
Everactive’s MHM product expands remote monitoring coverage to rotating equipment, including motors, pumps, fans, compressors, and gear boxes. Here, widespread coverage on all such equipment can provide peace of mind around unanticipated downtime, while also helping to improve energy efficiency and reduce the overall cost of eventual maintenance and repairs. Depending on the industry, this type of remote awareness can help save millions of dollars every year.
Predictive Maintenance, Virtualization, and the Future of Remote Monitoring
Virtualization has seemed like a good idea for a long time, and the increased value of remote monitoring during this crisis emphasizes its importance. Everactive supports virtualization by offering full system solutions that solve end-to-end problems to bring insights from new data streams that empower customers to take action right away. Our batteryless technology offers unique advantages for digitizing and virtualizing traditionally manual tasks. Since batteryless devices require no maintenance and last for decades, you can deploy them on large fleets of assets that previously defied digital solutions. The thousands of steam traps and thousands of motors in a plant are great examples; deploying that many batteries just adds a different maintenance task, so it doesn’t help team efficiency.
Everactive’s mission is to use batteryless sensing to provide full end-to-end system solutions that give customers insights from new data streams from assets that previously required manual inspection. We hope that these solutions can give our customers more knowledge, less risk, better responses, improved outcomes, and more peace of mind, especially during this challenging season.