Condition Monitoring Empowers Every Employee, Including HR

Condition Monitoring (CM) can mean different things to different people. A natural aversion to anything Big Brotherish would seem to complicate CM adoption in general and Human Resources’ role in particular. But that doesn’t have to be the case. CM in fact adds robust capabilities for employees across functional areas including those in HR. From COO’s to machine operators, CM offers verification of events, providing critical insight to specific issues and possible process improvements. CM has as much to offer in performance reviews and training as it does to productivity and quality.

CM platforms that can take disparate equipment from a range of vendors and marshal them into a coherent event-based condition monitoring network offer the greatest potential. Today’s CM systems can utilize sensors to see, smell, hear, and feel the analog as well as digital world in which they operate. And maybe the best development is that you are no longer limited by the native capabilities of a particular piece of equipment. Relatively generic sensor hardware combined with modular data acquisition and intuitive programming provides for virtual instrumentation (VI). VIs in turn give CM the ability to be user defined. So how important is user defined CM?

The COO is rarely able to witness specific events first hand. Even shift supervisors are challenged to see specific events first hand. The events that are of interest to the shift super may or may not be the same as the ones the COO prioritized. Machine operators will have a very different set of conditions that they focus on. The ability of users to define and monitor events, that matter to them specifically, has great promise to generate the next big productivity dividends.

In a lot of ways it’s more like adding super-powers to the labor force than the equipment. Sensors can “see” heat weeks before the cagiest operator could detect smoke. Other sensors use vibration to “hear” warnings months ahead of even the most experienced maintenance staff.  Being able to witness specific events makes CM a unique tool. Communicating CM events across the pant or across the planet further empowers HR.

– John Gleason

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