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    IoT Connectivity for Predictive Maintenance: Solutions and Benefits

    By some estimates, unscheduled downtime costs manufacturers $50 billion every year. While preventive maintenance plans significantly decrease this unplanned downtime, they can’t prevent every breakdown, and often result in wasted parts and services.emmanuel-ikwuegbu-_2AlIm-F6pw-unsplash-1


    Predictive maintenance leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) to close this gap by collecting real-time data and detecting abnormal performance. Connected sensors analyze: vibrations, temperature, acoustics, speed, and other factors, analyzing it against historical failure patterns and optimum performance levels. This ensures manufacturers can catch early warning signs to predict and prevent breakdowns.

    For Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and system integrators, equipping machinery with connected sensors is key to reducing downtime, decreasing operating costs, creating safer workplaces, and extending the life of critical assets.

    Here’s how IoT predictive maintenance is changing various industries today, and how EMnify can help you add connectivity to your equipment.


    Predictive maintenance applications

    Predictive maintenance applications

    Predictive maintenance is most commonly used in industrial IoT applications, and has been a critical component of Industry 4.0.

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    Manufacturing processes

    Smart factories rely on predictive maintenance to ensure equipment continues at peak performance for as long as possible. A single instance of unscheduled maintenance can completely disrupt production timelines, and predictive maintenance enables manufacturers to coordinate required maintenance to minimize the disruption.

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    Agricultural equipment

    Agricultural businesses often have thin margins, and equipment failures come at a steep cost. Predictive maintenance helps workers and owners detect when engines are running too hard and equipment shows the warning signs of a disruptive breakdown. Since performance abnormalities can be due to misuse, predictive maintenance also helps identify when workers need additional training or support to use the equipment properly.

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    Smart buildings

    Smart buildings already use IoT to monitor, automate, and remotely control systems like lighting, temperature, security, and utilities. IoT-enabled predictive maintenance is a natural addition that enables facility managers to detect inefficiencies and coordinate repairs around how the building is being used, such as servicing the HVAC before the all-company meeting, instead of dealing with an AC failure in the middle of it.

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    Oil and gas

    Some oil pipeline monitoring systems are in remote deserts and other isolated locations, which can make connectivity a challenge. However, detecting potential performance issues before they cause breakdowns can make the difference between life and death, and allow businesses to schedule work around maintenance needs. Isolated applications like oil rigs are an excellent opportunity to leverage cellular IoT, which doesn’t require OEMs or their customers to install additional connectivity infrastructure.

    Benefits of predictive maintenance

    Adding IoT connectivity and predictive maintenance capabilities to equipment provides several valuable benefits for OEMs and their customers. First and foremost, it reduces downtime—even if there’s already a preventive maintenance plan in place. But predictive maintenance also increases the lifespan of equipment, improves workplace safety, and lowers maintenance costs.

    equipment downtime

    Reduce equipment downtime

    Preventive maintenance plans operate on a fixed schedule. If equipment needs maintenance sooner (usually due to abnormal usage), a preventive maintenance plan won’t account for that, which can lead to breakdowns. Additionally, purely relying on preventive maintenance can result in unnecessary scheduled downtime when parts and equipment don’t need service.

    Predictive maintenance doesn’t follow a schedule, so it helps prevent breakdowns that would otherwise occur between services. When equipment that doesn’t need to follow a fixed maintenance schedule to stay in compliance or under warranty, predictive maintenance can also reduce scheduled downtime by empowering manufacturers to avoid unnecessary maintenance.

    equipment lifespan

    Increase equipment lifespan

    Every time a piece of equipment breaks down or a component fails, it has the potential to cause greater damage. Operating equipment to the point of failure also increases the wear on other components and systems, even if they don’t break.

    Predictive maintenance extends the life of assets by ensuring they don’t reach these breaking points, and managers are always aware of unusual performance.

    workplace safety

    Improve workplace safety

    You never want employees operating heavy machinery when it fails. In some work environments, breakdowns can easily cause injury or death, either because the equipment directly causes harm, or because it doesn’t work when someone depends on it.

    Predictive maintenance alerts equipment operators when something isn’t behaving as usual, and it gives manufacturers time to schedule maintenance before minor issues lead to dangerous breakdowns.


    Lower maintenance costs

    When technicians aren’t trying to coordinate emergency repairs in the middle of your operations, they need less time to resolve maintenance problems. In general, reactive maintenance is more costly than proactive maintenance, and implementing predictive maintenance reduces the likelihood that your equipment will need major work done.

    Cellular connectivity and predictive maintenance

    In remote locations, it’s simply not practical (or sometimes even possible) to build and support connectivity infrastructure. For manufacturers that want to implement predictive maintenance in these environments, they need IoT connectivity solutions that are designed for remote applications. Additionally, many OEMs are looking for ways to simply enable predictive maintenance on their equipment without having to develop one-off solutions with each customer’s IT department.

    Cellular connectivity is proving to be an increasingly valuable approach to implementing IoT-enabled predictive maintenance. Here’s why.

    • Global availability

      Wherever your equipment goes, cellular coverage is almost guaranteed to be available. There’s no need to build additional infrastructure on site—just connect to the towers that are already there. With EMnify’s global IoT SIMs, your devices can connect to more than 540 networks in over 195 countries, all with a single contract and one central management system. This saves time with global deployments and simplifies inventory management.

    • Easy implementation

      Some IoT connectivity solutions are complicated and require a lot of familiarity with network infrastructure—you may even need to build or install it for each deployment. But cellular connectivity is simple. Install the necessary components on each device, and managing your devices’ connectivity is easy. Partner with EMnify, and our Connectivity Management Platform keeps all your connectivity data in one place.

    • Built-in connectivity

      If you have to work with every customer’s IT department to integrate your equipment with their internal network, it becomes far more difficult and cumbersome to enable predictive maintenance. Cellular IoT enables you to comply with IT security policies by equipping each piece of machinery with access to a secure, independent network that it can connect to right out of the box.

    • Robust security

      Cellular networks are secure by design. But when you access them through cellular providers like EMnify, we can add layers of security like DNS filtering, a firewall, carrier agnostic end-to-end encryption, and block and unblock listing capabilities. We’ll also provide you with static IPs and VPN capabilities, and we follow the latest guidelines like NIRC-CIP and IEC-61850.

      With EMnify, you and your customers can rest assured that your data and equipment is protected.

    Connect your predictive maintenance solution with EMnify

    EMnify is a leader in cellular IoT connectivity. Thousands of businesses use our global IoT connectivity solution to keep their devices connected all over the world. Whether you’re an IoT veteran or you’ve never built a connected device before, getting set up with EMnify is easy. With our multi-layered approach to network security, we keep your data and devices secure—so your customers see your devices as assets, not liabilities.

    Cellular connectivity is ideal for predictive maintenance solutions that need to deploy in remote areas or operate independently of a customer’s private network. Not sure if cellular is the right IoT connectivity solution for your business?

    Talk to one of our experts. Or, sign up for our free test SIMs, and explore our tech for yourself.