ames Kime of HMS Industrial Networks offers MEGSA members some advice on the benefits of IoT-enabled technologies in working with generators. If you want to get the most out of your generator, we all know that regular maintenance is vital. Probably one of the most important uses of connectivity is simply to monitor how long a generator has been running. Sometimes the maintenance is simply a quick check of levels or to read a status from the controller. More in-depth service takes more effort and must be scheduled, with the times being allocated, tracked and interfaced with the company management system, so personnel can be assigned and available as needed. Now this is where things get complicated.
It is relatively easy to manage one generator and track its maintenance cycles, but what about 10 or 100 or 1,000? And what happens when there are gensets with different controllers… or no real controllers at all? Maintaining a generator ‘fleet’ is no small endeavor and anyone undertaking this thankless task knows the pitfalls of bad and inaccurate data.
Standardizing on a universal system or standardized interface becomes the only logical path forward. Even if a fleet starts with one model of gensets, it may not be expanded with the same model later, so planning for a consistent and standardized future will save money and hardship later.
There are in fact, multiple opportunities to take advantage of connected machines in solving everyday tasks. Imagine in this simplistic day-to-day that a generator in your fleet has stopped working. In a traditional or pre-connected scenario, an angry customer would call, demanding that you send a maintenance person out to fix the issue, and after pulling a valuable resource from another project, it is discovered that the generator simply ran out of fuel. Now if we apply this same scenario to a modern connected machine, the fuel level will be monitored constantly. Not only will this level be visible in the control center, but the low-fuel problem will be anticipated, and a fuel truck will have been scheduled to arrive before the levels become a problem.
Solutions to these and, indeed, far more complex operational and widespread needs, are provided by the Ewon Netbiter Argos solution from HMS Networks, which delivers a vendor-independent solution for connecting a wide variety of machines to a centralized system. The Ewon Netbiter Argos is not just a gateway, but it’s a complete turnkey solution with the communication gateways and cloud device management which is required to setup and manage the everyday business of generators. The Netbiter Argos cloud also features secure remote access which enables for easy in-depth trouble shooting of the connected controllers. The gateways are available in two variants (Ethernet only and Ethernet + GSM/GPRS/3G/4G), these communication gateways connect to field equipment – using Modbus RTU/TCP, SNMP, EtherNet/IP and J1939 . On-board I/O provides the option to connect sensors and additional equipment directly to the gateway too. The Argos IIoT platform, allows you to extract the potential of IoT technology out of the box.
Complex or multi-vendor systems no longer present barriers to seamless connectivity and IoT exploitation. With effective interfaces, any system can be connected and can deliver the essential two-way information streams upon which modern installations thrive.