Every once in a while, an idea comes along that is so visionary and so dynamic that it transforms an industry. One earth-shaking concept was the moving assembly line. Manufacturing was changed forever. Today, a new engineering revolution is being driven by the tens of thousands of smart controllers and millions of sensors that are used to run production facilities in every sector, everywhere in the world.

Currently, enterprise assets are equipped with sensors that provide process status and health feedback. This isn’t a new concept; it’s been used in the industrial sector for many years to control processes through devices such as PLCs, PACs, and VFDs that use this process data . What is new is the recent emergence of AI that makes it possible to analyze this data, learn from it, and make more intelligent business decisions.

Novate Solutions, an industrial technology and engineering services firm in California, is leveraging AI and remote monitoring tools from IBM to develop a revolutionary new approach to process reliability and ultimately to enhance industrial process control. The idea is to offer a scalable remote monitoring service that identifies system anomalies and predicts issues long before they ever become a problem.

Smart controllers and AI revolutionize asset monitoring

Traditionally, industrial controls systems operate based on continuous feedback and predetermined set-points. Alarms are based on boundary conditions predetermined around those set-points. This makes the common industrial control system reactive to events and puts maintenance teams in the role of firefighter. Valuable production time is lost. Money and manpower are wasted.

“Using our client’s existing control system infrastructure, IBM Maximo Asset Monitor, and our own team of highly trained experts,” says Rob Mora, Vice President of Business Development at Novate Solutions, “our AI-enabled remote-monitoring system will alert our engineers at Novate’s Support Operation Center to an anomaly. Then, drawing on their years of process experience, familiarity with our client’s operations, and knowledge of engineering principles, we determine whether the anomaly is indicative of a problem upstream or downstream, or whether there is no significant impact.”

Ultimately, he states that Novate’s remote monitoring service will use AI to anticipate the right actions so companies can deploy technicians immediately with speed and confidence to prevent a predicted failure.

“Before we can create something truly predictive,” says Rob, “we need to learn. With help from IBM’s Watson-enabled AI, our service will teach systems to recognize events as they are developing. And to do that, we have to gather data, analyze it, identify anomalies and apply the expertise of on-staff Novate engineers who interpret the data and determine the implications.”

Rob Mora believes that the Novate service is the next evolution of Six Sigma and other process improvement methods. “We’ll be constantly enhancing production systems…making them better and more insightful.”

Because the service is scalable, organizations of every size – in every industrial sector – will be able to subscribe. Eventually, every manufacturer will have the opportunity to ensure that Novate’s qualified engineers are monitoring their operations and taking proactive preventive measures to improve plant reliability.

Manufacturers will be able to increase uptime, reduce costs, and improve overall performance. Best of all, they’ll be able to affordably achieve these benefits whether they’re a multinational chemical operation or a local wine producer. Imagine what that means to an industry.

Why did Novate choose to work with IBM?

Some organizations choose IBM for all the traditional reasons: we’re a large, respected, multinational organization that has excelled in technology for over a century. But Novate? You may be surprised. They chose to work with us because we take risks. And we collaborate.

“When we first connected with IBM, we were surprised by their willingness to take risks,” Rob told me. “They weren’t worried about immediate return on their investment. Their goal was innovation.”

“Additionally, everyone at IBM has been collaborative. It’s been consistent with every contact.” Much to my delight, he also used the “humility” when speaking of IBM culture. We exhibit humility and a willingness to learn.

With Novate’s process expertise and our world-respected and industry-leading Maximo technology, we can achieve a revolution.

Introducing IBM Maximo Asset Monitor

IBM’s new remote monitoring solution aggregates operating state data and process parameters across legacy SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems, historians, IoT sensors, and other repositories. The solution scales quickly and easily to provide enterprise-wide visibility into performance. With Maximo Asset Monitor, organizations can now aggregate data from across the enterprise and combine it with advanced predictive analytics and AI to identify operational patterns. Capabilities like AI-powered anomaly detection can help organizations identify the most important alerts among the hundreds generated daily from critical assets. This can help teams respond quickly to the most critical anomalies and gain greater insights into root cause variables that lead to asset failure.

Only IBM delivers remote monitoring at enterprise-scale, with AI-fueled anomaly detection, so OT and IT teams can act confidently to make insightful decisions that drive digital re-invention.

IBM Maximo Asset Monitor reveals essential insights for intelligent asset maintenance and operations. Novate is using it to develop an innovative service. Now, imagine what you can do with the power of AI and advanced analytics in your hands.

Sign up for the live virtual event on November 21, 11:00 AM ET to learn more about the new solution. Rob Mora will join IBM VP of Offering Management, Joe Berti, to share Novate’s vision for optimizing operations with Monitor.

Read the press release for the official announcement.

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