The modern shop floor poses an interesting conundrum for manufacturers: In one sense, it operates more efficiently than it ever has, with numerous machines performing more work with minimal human supervision or intervention. In another, that lack of human involvement creates a blind spot—absent major breakdowns or failures, manufacturers have little knowledge about how well their machines are actually operating. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) based technologies are rushing in to remedy that blind spot—new machines come equipped with internal sensors and the ability to transmit data about their condition to engineers and data analysts for monitoring. But new equipment alone isn’t a solution for all manufacturers.
One major opportunity is legacy equipment. Established manufacturers and maintenance facilities like Army depots already have large stocks of older production machinery, which generally lack IIoT connectivity. The cost of replacing them is prohibitive; at the same time, doing nothing isn’t an option when machines need to be kept up-to-spec to service new and ever more advanced assets and systems. Across all of manufacturing, real-time data about equipment performance has become indispensable for quality control, operator safety, and efficient management, but the initial investment needed to collect it acts as a deterrent. Perisense, founded by NCMS Board member Dawn White, has stepped into this gap, designing cost-efficient, self-contained sensor suites that allow manufacturers to retrofit older machines with a condition-monitoring capability and IIoT connectivity.
The aim is to provide an adaptable and affordable means for any manufacturer to tap into the wealth of data that exists on its shop floor and to give any employee, from an operator to a high-level manager, a comprehensive, longitudinal view of operations. Perisense devices are installed non-invasively to the surface of production machinery and contain a standard set of built-in sensors, with additional ports to allow user customization. Their basic configuration includes an accelerometer for measuring vibration, as well as sensors for temperature and humidity; the latter is particularly useful for guarding against condensation-related defects during welding.
They then relay this data securely in real time, to a database or hub for monitoring and analysis. These devices not only provide a stream of information about the status of a shop’s machines at any given moment but also a record of conditions over time, allowing users to address process irregularities or signs of degraded performance.
The technology is on the last lap of its journey to commercial availability. Perisense devices have been deployed and evaluated in a DoD production setting, monitoring machines and processes at a DoD subcontractor that are used to produce high-performance replacement parts., and are being evaluated by an auto OEM and a ground vehicle OEM. For more information about the company and its devices, visit its website at https://www.perisense.io or contact Dawn White at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or NCMS Program Manager Phil Callihan