Leveraging 5G for Monitoring, Maintenance and More

Feb. 28, 2024
The integration of 5G technology in industrial systems helps enable real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance and energy efficiency.

When it comes to the critical considerations and requirements for leveraging 5G to enable real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics in industrial systems, it is best to take a holistic approach, according to Michael Weller, practice lead for manufacturing, energy and utilities at Verizon Business. It is important to understand what characteristics a company is trying to capture, such as temperature, humidity and vibration.

In a conversation with Power & Motion, he asks, “Do we need [the data] on a real-time basis, or do we need it on a near-real-time basis, or do we really just need it for archiving purposes? And once we have that information, what types of alerting and signaling do we have to do to react to that?”

Another important aspect to consider, Weller says, is the location of the sensor. Will it be under a roof inside of a plant, or is it going to be outside of a plant? “We’re seeing a lot of interest in how can I track what's going on outside, whether it’s out in my yard, if it’s at a factory or whether it’s in a mining operation or an agricultural operation, or if there’s an oil field, all these large outdoor spaces.”

There are different circumstances that must be accounted for when it comes to machine health, so one of the things Verizon talks to customers about is the importance of mapping the bandwidth that is required for each use case, for each service, to what makes sense. Weller explains, “If a sensor, for example, is spitting out 50 kilobits of information every 15 minutes, it’s really hard to say that 5G is going to provide any meaningful value. It’s complete overkill.

“On the other hand,” he continues, “if you’ve got large video files that are being captured and they’re consumed at a 4K resolution, that's a 20-meg file, it’s being uploaded somewhere. And if you have lots of cameras doing that, the dynamics of the economics really change and that absolutely plays well to 5G.”

In this second of a three-part video interview, Weller offers his insight on this holistic approach to leveraging 5G to enable real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics in industrial systems; the placement of sensors; and when 5G works and when it might be too much. “We tell customers that it’s going to be about network optionality,” he said.

Watch additional parts of this interview series with Michael Weller of Verizon Business:

About the Author

Sharon Spielman | Technical Editor, Machine Design and Power & Motion

Sharon Spielman is a technical editor for Power & Motion and its affiliate publication Machine Design. As technical editor, her beat includes 3D printing/CAD; mechanical and motion systems, with an emphasis on pneumatics and linear motion; automation; robotics; and AR/VR.

Sharon has more than three decades of experience as a writer and editor for a range of B2B brands, including those that cover electrical design and manufacturing; interconnection technology; food and beverage manufacturing; process heating and cooling; finishing; and package converting. 

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