Amazon Monitron – Kick start innovation with ML based predictive maintenance

By | 4 minute read | September 17, 2021

Small and medium scale businesses (SMB) contribute a significantly to the overall GDP, but they suffer from budgetary constraints due to the fluctuating markets and unpredictable supply-chain and eco-systems. This becomes a big impediment for any innovations. For a long time, the biggest challenges for these SMBs are to track and monitor the industrial equipment and avoid any unplanned downtime. In the Industrial 4.0 revolution/ the smart-factories, the approach is to use industrial sensors on these equipment and track-monitor using a IoT Platform SW. Any innovations needed high-end skills which were usually not available in-house and required to bring in consulting firms that costed expensive for these industries. Due to the limited budgets, these SMBs typically invested in small IoT R&D tasks and implemented using non-standard/proprietary IoT devices and IoT/I-IoT platforms. To invest in any standard products, they will need bigger budgets. Most often due lack of vision and high expectations on the RoI (Return-On-Investment), leads them to take smaller investments and with non-standard products. This poses big challenges as the IoT platform may not be scalable at the pace they grow and the sensor devices may not be rugged enough leading to inaccurate data points and frequent breakdowns. Also, the more proprietary these devices are, its riskier to these industries to find any in-place replacements in the future – overall a huge risk for further innovation. Clearly there was a gap that needed to be addressed.

AWS, the leader in this space, identified this gap as an opportunity and came out with a new service called Amazon Monitron. The following strategies made way for this winning service:

  1. Instead of targeting “everything”, very cleverly they targeted industries to track-monitor a broad-range of rotating equipment. Example: Motors, Gearboxes, Pumps, Fans, Bearings and Compressors. Every industry in some or the other way use rotating equipment.
  2. The idea is to monitor the equipment failure by tracking the vibrations and temperature of the rotating machinery and not any thing else that needed some specialized sensors. The goal is to use the same sensor for all the rotating machinery and by-and-large cover most of the equipment.
  3. The approach is to get these industries kick-start the innovation quickly and see the results quickly. If failed, it will help fail fast.
  4. Use a “standard” sensor that can be mounted on the rotating equipment. These sensors to have OTA (Over-The-Air) Update support for its firmware so that its future-proof. Use BlueTooth (BLE) as connectivity since its standard, uses low-energy and has a long-lasting usage.
  5. Build a IoT platform from the AWS IoT Services (such as Lambda, S3, DynamoDB etc) with good user experience. Good documentation to get start quickly and reap benefits. The idea is to keep the usability so simple that there are no high-skilled resources required to get started. This saves time and money.
  6. A Gateway to connect all these sensors and then push the data to AWS Cloud for analysis.
  7. Use Machine Learning (ML) built-in that studies the patterns of usage based on vibrations and gives the predictive inference. This is a great step as it takes away most of the technological grey areas that industries must experiment upon. This does save time and money. Using machine learning will improve accuracy over period of time.
  8. A companion mobile app that can be used to monitor the equipment. You can get alerted via push notifications when Monitron detects potential failures, and visualize sensor measurements inside the app.

Effectively, build an affordable solution that any industry can invest upon, do a PoC, see quick RoI and then extend it to the whole organization. Thus, none of the initial investment is wasted.

How it works: (Source: https://aws.amazon.com/monitron/)

AWS Monitron - How It Works

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting started is as simple as:

  1. Purchase the sensors and gateways, quantity is based on the requirements
  2. Mount the devices on the equipment and setup the connectivity with the gateway
  3. Configure the gateway, login to your AWS account, use the Monitron service to provision the gateway

Post this, the data starts flowing into the AWS cloud and the Machine Learning models study the data and provide the predictive inferences.

With Amazon Monitron, you can start tracking equipment condition in minutes without any development work or ML experience!

Sample screenshot of the metrics:

Amazon Monitron, by-far is the simplest Industrial IoT Platform to get started and see the real value and RoI.

Cost of investment:

There are 3 costs associated: cost of sensor, cost of gateway and Monitron service cost. As of now the service is available in limited regions (US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy). The cost of 5 sensors is $575 and gateway is $140. This is the initial one-time cost. While the cost for Monitron will be $4.17/sensor/month which is very reasonable.

The Amazon’s “Economies of Scale” will only make it cheaper with more and more adoption of this service and you can look forward to getting these prices cheaper.

The amazing advantage that acts as catalyst is the integration with other AWS Services for further innovation and value realization of data. Example includes all Data and Analytics services, AI/ML Services.

IBM has advanced digital manufacturing technology solutions. IBM’s deep expertise in Industrial IoT help manufacturers to accelerate digital transformation using an integrated approach, applying AI, hybrid cloud and automation to achieve new levels of agility, efficiency, quality and sustainability. To know more about IBM Manufacturing Services visit: https://www.ibm.com/in-en/industries/manufacturing.

With Amazon Monitron Service, now you can just focus on your business and value realization of the data rather than worrying about IoT Platform, its reliability and longevity. Get started, Now!