Home 9 Articles 9 Advantages of Continuous Monitoring Systems – and Why You May Need One

Advantages of Continuous Monitoring Systems – and Why You May Need One

It can be costly and time-consuming to deal with equipment failure when it happens. Although scheduled preventative maintenance (such as quarterly inspections) means routine checkpoints over particular periods of time, there can be a lot of unnecessary downtime involved in doing this kind of maintenance. This also leads to loss of production, unnecessary diversion of labour resources, and generally adds up to revenue loss.

However, as better technologies are being developed in Industry 4.0, there are smarter ways of monitoring systems and machines that can collect and analyze data, and more importantly, diagnose potential problems as they happen – so you don’t have to wait until irreversible/irreparable damages occur just to know that an issue is present.

Among these solutions would be a Continuous Monitoring System. As potential failures can be identified early on, planning becomes more proactive and controlled. In addition, because there is less downtime, there is also more efficient use of time and labour resources, leading to better throughput overall.

But first off – What’s a Continuous Monitoring System?

Continuous Monitoring Systems collect and process data that can then be analyzed for use in predictive maintenance actions. Continuous monitoring, in contrast to periodic analysis, allows for more proactive planning of downtime reducing the delay between the system condition changing and that data being measured and subsequently acted upon.

Instead of technicians doing manual readings, the system automatically collects the data in real-time, reducing the room for error, increasing data resolution, and allowing for real time alarming. This lets operators address potential issues as they arise, instead of addressing them during scheduled maintenance – where problems may have already developed into issues that cannot be resolved.

What are the main advantages of implementing Continuous Monitoring?

advantages of implementing continuous monitoring system

The main advantages of implementing a continuous monitoring system, as opposed to periodic inspections are:

  • Cost reduction (through the ability to proactively determine and fix issues)
  • Maximizing machine uptime
  • Offering increased intelligence of machine health allowing for data-driven decision making
  • Improved overall productivity

We will be going through each of these in more detail over the following paragraphs.

Who can benefit greatly from this?

Any industrial process can benefit greatly from real-time vibration monitoring include:

  • Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Manufacturing
  • Power Generation / Renewable Energy
  • Water Utilities
  • Chemical Processing
  • Food Processing

What should I monitor?

With the right sensors, any parameter can be monitored, depending on the application in question.

Parameters are typically selected based on the value of what they represent. For example, in a critical piece of rotating machinery, monitoring vibration can allow asset health to be determined, preventing unexpected downtime. This parameter may also vary, depending on the system.

Temperature plays a role in situations where moving parts interact, a rapid, unusual temperature change can signify impending failure.

In production processes involving fluids or gases, it may be crucial to identify rapid fluctuations in pressure.

These are just some common examples of what can be monitored depending on the machinery, state of materials being handled, and overall system properties.

What are the different types of Continuous Monitoring Systems?

While most parameters can be monitored, certain monitoring systems are more common than others. Typical systems include:

  • Vibration Monitoring Systems

    These systems are typically used around rotating components such as motors, shafts, or bearings where vibration level can be used to determine asset health, lubrication levels, wear. Changes in vibration profile can be used to predict component lifetime.

  • Current/Voltage Monitoring Systems
    These systems are used to evaluate power consumption or output from systems, such as electrical motors where analytics run can determine motor efficiency and alarm at set conditions.
  • Pressure Monitoring Systems
    System pressure can be used in HVAC applications as well as when dealing with pressurized liquids or gasses to evaluate that the system is within operating parameters.

*It should be noted that this is by no means a complete list of all the different continuous monitoring sensors that can be deployed to gather vital production data to maintain optimal performance in any continuous process.

With that, if you’re unsure of what type of system is right for you, our team here at Enginuity can definitely help you out. You can contact us here if you have questions.

Do you need Continuous Monitoring?

Here are 3 things to consider when making the decision:

1. Failure Prevention

Can you afford a failure? How long can you run with a line or machine down?

The first category to evaluate is the potential to failure (P-F interval). Specifically, whether a periodic analysis or routine inspection will be able to detect upcoming failure.
For operations with, for example, quarterly inspections, this type of maintenance can indeed detect and allow for the prevention of failure.

However, this is making a potentially dangerous assumption that mechanical failures will take longer than 3 months to be seen and cause catastrophic failure.

In addition, the actual severity of the failure will only be known then, leaving other potential issues open. Are there critical components in the process that take months to replace? Evaluation of critical parts and factoring them into your process assessment is a great start.

2. Cost Reduction

When can you honestly say you have spent time evaluating true cost reductions? Can predictive maintenance be the competitive advantage you were looking for?

Next is evaluating the cost reductions that a real time monitoring system can provide.

The largest cost in any failure of a system is generally the lost production due to downtime, especially downtime that is unplanned.

Continuous monitoring, in contrast to quarterly analysis (to continue with our example above), allows for more proactive planning of maintenance and downtime due to the lack of delay between the system condition changing and that data being observable by an operator. This allows for better control overall, and significantly lessens occurrences of unplanned maintenance.

This rapid acquisition of data can allow for the planning of downtime to an optimal time where production is not at its peak and availability of labour resources is well-coordinated. This can also prevent additional downtime such as long lead part ordering and staging times, which can then be coordinated in advance of repair. Given the magnitude of time these items typically represent, as well as the cost of expedition if necessary, there is incentive to avoid these delays.

Additionally, as the cost and complexity of a repair typically increases as the problem worsens, the ability to track degradation and schedule repairs from the moment a machine reaches a certain threshold can decrease both repair cost and machine downtime, reducing production loss, as illustrated in the following graph.

figure 1 model of repair cost over time

Figure 1: Model of Repair Cost Over Time

From L-R: Points D, P, F

An approximate visualization of the relationship between cost of repair and asset condition over time, illustrating the potential cost mitigations of early detection.

As can be seen from the graph, at point D is where the system begins to degrade. At point P, a potential failure can be detected, and at point F, the system fails. Based from the graph, repair costs can be kept to a minimal if repairs are done during either Points D or P wherein the system is just beginning to degrade and the potential failure has just been detected; whereas if repair is done at a point where the system’s condition has greatly degraded due to failure, repair costs are significantly higher.

Further, it has been shown that vibration from a failing component can impact the life expectancy of surrounding components.

Repairs at precise predetermined asset conditions, allowed by continuous monitoring, can decrease parts cost, increase and maximize use of consumables, and lessen required downtime in the future by maximizing component lifespan. Doing so makes the most out of current assets, getting the most performance out of machinery before you need to replace them. In the long run, you get to maximize the costs invested in the installations.

3. Increased Intelligence

Increased data from a continuous monitoring system allows for data driven decisions in planning maintenance and predicting real lifetime of components in the system by analyzing data and trends.

This way, there is definitive data that can pinpoint: when, where, and how a particular issue occurred; and can therefore be managed in the future.

Additionally, verification of machine state either post repairs or at any time can be done without the need for a specialist to come onsite simply by having the collected/live data reviewed. This allows for more efficient allocation of time and labour resources altogether.

In Summary

All in all, a Continuous Vibration Monitoring System can help you reduce costs, proactively determine and fix issues, maximize machine uptime, and increased intelligence for data-driven decision making.

If you operate within the mining, oil and gas, water utilities, manufacturing, or power generation industries, don’t wait until proactive downtime.

Your operations could greatly benefit from this approach. Besides, if it’s better for your throughput and can potentially save you a lot of money in the long run, what are you waiting for?

Here at Enginuity, this is a service that we can provide, along with other automation solutions.

To find out if a Continuous Monitoring System is for you, you may contact us at:
info@enginuityinc.ca. You can also leave your contact details or leave a message here.


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1. Klempnow, Andreas & Bruna, Edgardo & Saporiti, Claudio. (1995). Continuous Vibration Monitoring System. IFAC Proceedings Volumes. 28. 347-352. 10.1016/S1474-6670(17)45104-4.

2. Ifm. Vibration Monitoring Application Solutions. https://www.ifm.com/download/files/ifm-vibration-monitoring-industry-4-point-0-SE/$file/ifm-vibration-monitoring-industry-4-point-0-SE.pdf
3. Torres, C. E. (2021, March 4). How to Calculate Condition-Based Maintenance Savings. Reliable Plant. https://www.reliableplant.com/Read/31988/how-to-calculate-conditon-based-maintenance-savings
4. Page, A. (2010, February 20). Is a continuous monitoring system right for you? Reliable Plant. https://www.reliableplant.com/Read/13582/cm-system
5. Vibration Analysis. (2020, April 1). Acuren. https://www.acuren.com/engineering/reliability-engineering/vibration-analysis/

6. Fluke (2020, April 29). Top 5 benefits of vibration monitoring. Fluke. https://www.fluke.com/en-ca/learn/blog/vibration/top-5-benefits-of-vibration-monitoring#:%7E:text=Vibration%20screening%20allows%20teams%20to,and%20more%20time%20addressing%20problems
7. Maintenance and Engineering, Emerson. (2013, March). Wireless Vibration Monitoring – improves reliability and enhances safety. Emerson. https://www.emerson.com/documents/automation/article-wireless-vibration-monitoring–improves-reliability-enhances-safety-ams-en-37972.pdf

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