Since the early 2000s the manufacturing industry has trended towards employing preventive maintenance
methodologies in production areas in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Industries have used
a process called “condition monitoring” to identify critical equipment parameters such as temperature,
vibration and visual inspection characteristics such as leaks and abnormal noise to predict and
prevent mechanical failure. This process moves the concept of maintenance away from a tactic
of “fail and fix” to an optimal approach of “predict and prevent”. This approach "saves time,
money and resources" by providing companies with a conditioned-based status of critical operational
equipment, and thus promotes optimal repair, downtime and shut-down planning.
To accurately capture condition-based equipment information, a data asset collection system is used.
This system usually consists of a front-end mobile device such as a handheld and a back-end data
storage system: i.e. SQL database server. Due to the hazardous environments present in many
operational areas of manufacturing plants, the handheld devices used by field operators to capture
data have to be intrinsically sealed to prevent explosions. This intrinsically safe characteristic
is referred to in industry as “Class I Division(Div.) 1” and until recently was limited to rugged smaller
handheld type devices. Within the past year, manufacturers in the oil industry have developed
and certified intrinsically safe covers for both android and iPad tablets. This development has
opened a new avenue for condition-monitoring data collection with tablets, which provide several
advantages over the typically lower performing handhelds. These advantages include a larger screen,
faster processing and 3G and 4G network connectivity. An aspiring idea for a software capstone would
be to develop a versatile IOS or Android tablet application that could be configured to capture and sync
condition-based monitoring data for manufacturing.
In order to realize the importance of employing mobile computing devices such as PDAs and tablets for
maintenance in industry, major industry changes along with the concept of condition-based-maintenance
must first be examined. Today industries are faced with an ever growing demand to provide improvements
on system productivity, availability and safety, product quality and customer satisfaction . To remain
competitive companies must be able to produce goods and services faster and safer and continuously without
production shutdowns or delays due to process equipment failures. “In this environment maintenance plays a
critical role in a company’s ability to compete on the basis of cost, quality and delivery of goods produced .
In order to meet these high demands of production companies have undergone major changes which require “transforming
from traditional “fail and fix” maintenance practices to “predict and prevent”...