Kevin Clark also addresses cybersecurity and the skills gap

Vice President of Fluke Accelix Kevin Clark comments on the annual State of the Industry for Pumps & Systems.

For extensive state of the industry coverage, click here.

What are the biggest roadblocks to IIoT adoption?
Some of the biggest barriers to IIoT adoption are:

  • Missing or inaccessible data and reliance on scheduled routes
  • A lack of connectivity between assets, management systems and maintenance and reliability personnel
  • Limited access to relevant data for timely, informed decisions on the plant floor

What equipment and/or processes are most vulnerable to cybercrimes?
Historically, on-premise servers seem to be the most vulnerable. Cloud-based data is often more protected than private servers. According to a Jan. 23, 2017, article in the New York Times, “‘Cloud’ data is stored on hard drives (much the way data is usually stored). And yes, it’s probably more secure than conventionally stored data.” While data being looted and personal information becoming endangered has been much-discussed, “most of those attacks hit traditional servers, though. None of the most catastrophic hacks have been on the big public clouds,” the New York Times article stated. However, vigilance is required, and we are doing what we can to help ensure that our clients’ data remains secure.

What are the biggest benefits to organizations that are embracing IIoT technologies?
The IIoT provides the infrastructure and price point at which any plant can begin the connected reliability journey, which can deliver:

  • Comprehensive data collection—Because having the right data, with no gaps, is the fundamental requirement of the reliability promise
  • End-to-end connectivity—Because making asset data available across key operational systems enables unified views and better decision making
  • Empowered teams—Because ultimately, reliability can only be achieved by the actions of M&R teams on the plant floor

In short, connected reliability delivers “the working man’s IIoT”—a practical roadmap to leverage the IIoT. It allows us to connect the previously unconnectable equipment. With these essentials, M&R personnel are empowered with what they need to make the right decisions at the right time, before failure occurs.

What is your company doing to address the skills gap?
The skills gap is obviously something the entire industrial sector needs to think about. Within Fluke, we have a partnership with the Reliability and Maintainability Center at the University of Tennessee, and we work with other universities to make sure we provide support and training for the young people who want professions within the industrial sector. As a technology company, we also provide technology that allows M&R personnel to do their job more efficiently and safely without the reliance on as many route-based activities.

Also, adding technology and mobile interactivity to your maintenance strategies may make industrial positions more appealing to the Xbox generation—the talent plants are trying to attract. Essentially, socializing data is what we are doing. Our software is viewed as social media for assets, allowing equipment to communicate via data their condition, and providing a way for teams to collaborate using the same information, all in one location.

What else should the end users who read Pumps & Systems know about the year ahead?
We suggest that everyone remember that reliability is a journey, not a destination. The hardest part is getting started. Don’t be afraid to put technology to work for you. In 2019, move forward somewhere in the plant to implement condition monitoring and predictive strategies. You don’t have to start plantwide … we actually suggest that you don’t. Begin a small pilot program on a few machines or in one part of the plant, and after some wins, scale the solution to other areas within your facility. With time, these technology solutions will free up personnel so that they can focus on assets that need attention instead of walking routes to take measurements on healthy equipment.