Wireless technologies have enabled businesses in the oil and mining industries to kick their sensor data collection efforts into high gear.

Operational success in the oil sands and mining sectors has long hinged on getting the most out of all assets and infrastructure. New innovations and technologies arrived in the form of better-functioning tools and higher-capacity hardware. In this traditional environment operational staff are charged with the task of maintaining equipment reliability. Developments in sensor technology made it easier to oversee machine functionality, but reading the sensors and turning data into action quickly was difficult. The introduction of wireless data transfer technology in machine maintenance software has represented a turning point for these thin-margin industries.

Wireless devices have arrived at a critical time for oil refineries, according to Hydrocarbon Processing. Many facilities have had to reduce or shutter operations due to a tough economic climate and problems with oversupply. Facilities are expected to optimize on-site operations and reduce equipment-related costs on stricter schedules and with tighter budgets. Wireless transmitters are able to help these organizations cut down the amount of personnel and resources devoted to overseeing each piece of equipment and ultimately enables the institution of a predictive maintenance strategy. This allows refinery personnel to stay ahead of their machines and make planned repairs before equipment breaks down.

Wireless technologies are easily configured. Operators can add new measurements to their data collection to keep better track of machine performance, according to the news source. In time, field gauges can be replaced with transmitted measurement tools, alleviating the need for personnel to spend time checking every asset in the field with a handheld device. Wireless solutions also allow for monitoring of assets in tough environments, delivering data from equipment in places that are hard to access or require invasive measures to do so.

From assets to endpoints
Deploying wireless equipment maintenance software solutions enables refinery, plant or mine personnel to create a system of endpoints. In this network, devices feed diverse pieces of information, such as strain, crack, load and temperature data, to a central data capture unit. From there, personnel can download, manipulate and analyze the equipment monitoring data to make actionable decisions about assets.

Emphasizing equipment as endpoints also allows organizations to gain a better perspective on the worksite as a whole unit, of which each asset is a contributing part. This can help organizations improve other aspects of their operational strategies, including energy efficiency, according to Manufacturing Business Technology. Because such diverse data is readily available, companies can easily develop and monitor several new operational efficiency tactics at once.