Industrial maintenance is a hot topic for industry 4.0 enthusiastic as well as for industry itself.
While there are extensive papers and publications about what is smart maintenance and how it applies in real world, we observe that there is something missing in most approaches: the worker.
The industry 4.0 paradigm seems to focus only on CPS (Cyber Physical System) or Connected Machines for a lot of companies and solution provider. And even when workers are taken into consideration, there are often seen as passive constraints that cannot be kicked out from the industrial process.
CPS are obviously a key enabler in the 4th industrial revolution as well as big data. No doubt about it. But connecting machines and workers, at a local level and if possible in real-time, can bring much more value to companies and industrial process.
Going even further, social acceptance is key for a successful industrial revolution and not including workers is counter-productive when time comes to transform your industry.
Once said that, connecting workers doesn’t mean that you just have to give them a mobile phone or a tab ! It can help but much more is required. The worker should be able to interact with other workers (do not forget that one of the human asset is collective intelligence and social interactions very useful when problems occurs) and with machines as well as with data and remote IT system.
Real-time worker interactions call for haptic industrial wearables connected together within a BAN (Body Area Network). Industrial smart wearable can be PPE (Personal Protective Equipment such as safety shoes, helmet, gloves, …) or TOOLS (screw driver, rugged mobile phones, …). What is very important is that human-machine interactions are possible in order to leverage the worker ability to act and to make-decision when needed. Even though big data could help in decision-making, it would be difficult in most industry to reach the required know-how capabilities to make the best decisions.
Intellinium has been developing since 2014 smart safety shoes technologies that transform a PPE (safety boots/shoes) into a smart active hub which can interact both with the worker itself and with other PPEs/Tools on the worker range. Our technology has been also integrated into an industrial smart data-logger that can help connecting machines (basically we integrate sensors to monitor the indirect effects of machine normal or abnormal behaviors such as vibration, temperature, …).
One of the main differences between PPEs and Connected Machines is that the entry cost is much lower and you can settle quickly an experimentation. We are currently evaluating several PoC opportunities with industrial companies and solution providers. Intellinium has already identified several use cases and developed technologies and functionalities to address those use cases but there is still a lot to do. We are open to collaboration with industrial companies or solution providers. Do not hesitate to contact us and/or to share your expectations/feelings about your own industry 4.0 projects.