A holistic approach to minimising Industrial ICT network-related downtime

31 March 2021

Do you know how much an hour of downtime costs your business? Unplanned downtime is one of the challenges faced by many industries and it can lead to a significant impact on your bottom line especially in these COVID-19 times.

An interruption in your plant may be accompanied by a loss in productivity, disruption of normal operations, and other negative business implications. Some of these consequences may include lost revenues, scheduling delays, client dissatisfaction, and damage to your brand reputation.

Understanding your network vulnerabilities, scheduling regular maintenance, and providing your employees with certified training are effective ways to decrease interruptions. Plant managers throughout all industries are confronted with the task of ensuring that their assets run at peak capacity throughout their life cycle. Having the correct maintenance solution in place can help you increase your operational uptime and reduce costs.

Here are some tips on how to make the most of your plant assets:

  • Perform regular network audits
    An important aspect in the prevention of downtime is to ensure your systems are installed to the correct technology specification and identify risks. A comprehensive site audit will identify all these risks and provide information on the state of your network infrastructure.

The network diagrams should be kept up to date and ideally, a log of all changes and faults related to the network should be retained. We recommend that you schedule an annual audit as part of your routine maintenance to determine any weaknesses or security vulnerabilities that exist in your network.

  • Establish a preventative maintenance plan
    Applying the results from the audit, develop a preventative maintenance plan that is customised to your specific operational needs and risk tolerances. The goal of preventative maintenance is to proactively minimise failure before it occurs.

Defective equipment should be repaired or replaced to prevent potential failures. Ensure that you regularly measure your progress and whether your plan is working. Permanent monitoring solutions can greatly assist with tracking and monitoring the health of the system.

  • Prioritise employee training
    Train employees on every piece of equipment and technology. This will assist them to be proactive in recognising an issue and in trying to solve it before it becomes a major malfunction. Certified training will empower employees with the knowledge and insight to conduct routine network audits and carry out effective network fault-finding activities.
  • Invest in permanent monitoring solutions and mobile diagnostic tools
    Real-time access to key network diagnostic data from permanent monitoring provides credible insight into the causes of downtime when it occurs and more importantly, can help prevent downtime altogether. Diagnosing network or device issues requires the collection and analysis of the network statistics and physical electrical health data on your network.

This type of data enables plant Engineers and Technicians to keep an eye on their network and to fix problems as they arise. When downtime does occur effective resolution usually requires mobile diagnostic tools and staff trained in their use. Invest in the right tools and ensure staff are properly trained in their use.

  • Sign up for a Service Level Agreement (SLA)
    An SLA is designed to reduce downtime, lower maintenance costs, and increase system availability, offering long-term peace of mind based on the criticality of your system. An SLA agreement can cover your annual audits, support hours for call-outs and solution development costs.

There is no single solution to minimising downtime and these tips are certainly not an exhaustive list, however, they are a great guideline to get you started. A methodical approach to mitigating risk is the smartest route. Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) can assist you in maximising the performance of your plant and preventing downtime.

IDX specialises in industrial applications, everything from process control systems, sensor technology, and systems engineering to custom development, data acquisition, logging, monitoring, and alerting. After your infrastructure has been implemented, our ICT team can provide support, in the form of call-outs and audits to improve your system, and we can facilitate training so that your employees are adequately equipped with the knowledge and skills to optimise your networks.

Categories: Articles
<a href="https://blog.idx.co.za/author/dhashika/" target="_self">Dhashika Ramgolam</a>

Dhashika Ramgolam

Marketing Manager

Dhashika has nearly twenty years of experience across the construction, engineering, fitness, mining and software development industries. Her hobbies include reading, baking, playing scrabble and watching movies.

Show your love!

Recent Posts

Driving Productivity with LineView Training

In light of our partnership with LineView Solutions, our team has taken up the opportunity to equip themselves with insights into the LineView system and its impact on the industry. “LineView is a production line monitoring and recording system that automatically...

Exciting New Launch: Onsite ProfiDay

IDX is excited to announce the launch of our onsite ProfiDay offering. This is available to all industries and companies that utilise PROFIBUS and/or PROFINET within their industrial communications systems. What is ProfiDAY? An exclusive onsite program offering...

Introducing our Partnership with LineView Solutions

We are excited to announce our partnership with LineView Solutions, a leading UK-based company specialising in smart factory solutions for optimising production processes. LineView developed a cutting-edge software suite designed to automatically gather data from the...

Optimise PROFIBUS and PROFINET Network Performance

As a field technician handling PROFIBUS and PROFINET systems, it is crucial to recognise the common errors that can result in costly downtime. From improper network configuration to neglecting regular maintenance, these mistakes can greatly affect system performance...

Delighted Customer Shares Experience

We recently assisted a client in rectifying damage to the Anybus ABC4090 Communicator caused by incorrect power usage onsite. We arranged for the device to be sent to HMS in Sweden for repairs, and they restored it before promptly returning it to us. Here are some...

Price Decrease on PROFIBUS Connectors

PROFIBUS connectors play a crucial role in industrial automation and data exchange systems by facilitating smooth communication between devices and networks. We are pleased to announce a significant price decrease on all our PROFIBUS connectors. Thanks to recent...

PROFIBUS Standards: Functional bonding and shielding

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and earthing issues can significantly impact the performance of your network. By following these six proven recommendations, you can ensure that your network is always up and running.

PROFIBUS Standards: Terminations

What is the Volts Direct Current (VDC) required for optimal operation of a PROFIBUS DP termination circuit? Get the answers you need in our latest video on PROFIBUS Standards: Terminations. Don't miss out on this essential knowledge to boost your system's performance!

PROFIBUS Standards: Segment Cable Lengths

Finding the perfect balance between PROFIBUS cable length and network speed is crucial. While longer cable segments might seem tempting, they can lead to signal degradation and slower speeds. Conversely, too short segments might limit your layout options. Striking the...

Sign up for our newsletter

Get exclusive updates and a sneak peek into our world every two months. Stay connected, stay informed.

Related Posts

Our expertise lies in establishing, maintaining, and leveraging plant data for business benefit. Through our innovative solutions, we work alongside you to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and reduce costly downtime.

CONTACT US

Main: +27 (11) 548 9960
Sales: +27 (11) 548 9970

SOCIAL MEDIA

Copyright @2024 Industrial Data Xchange. All rights reserved.