Prognostics, Predictive Maintainance Using Sensor Beacons

A growing use of sensor beacons is in prognostics. Prognostics replaces human inspection with continuously automated monitoring. This cuts costs and potentially detects when things are about to fail rather than when they have failed. This makes processes proactive rather than reactive thus providing for smoother process planning and reducing the knock-on affects of failures. It can also reduce the need for over excessive and costly component replacement that’s sometimes used to reduce in-process failure.

Prognostics is implemented by examining the time series data from sensors, such as those monitoring temperature or vibration, in order to detect anomalies and make forecasts on the remaining useful life of components. The problems with analysing such data values are that they are usually complex and noisy.

Machine learning’s capacity to analyse very large amounts of high dimensional data can take prognostics to a new level. In some circumstances, adding in additional data such as audio and image data can enhance the capabilities and provide for continuously self-learning systems.

A downside of using machine learning is that it requires lots of data. This usually requires a gateway, smartphone, tablet or IoT Edge device to collect initial data. Once the data has been obtained, it need to be categorised, filtered and converted into a form suitable for machine learning. The machine learning results in a ‘model’ that can be used in production systems to provide for classification and prediction.