Remote calibration, and the readiness of the industry.
Is the calibration industry ready for the connected devices era?
In this era of connected phones, connected appliances, connected cars, and connected humans, can the industry equipment stay disconnected? It cannot, and it is not.
No, I’m not talking about the advantages of digital transformation. This is one step above the normal digital transformation stuff that I have been writing about in my previous blogs. This is about one equipment communicating with another, with humans, and with processes around it. And it’s about the readiness of the calibration industry to make use of the great opportunities this provides.
What is the need?
Think about this. A piece of equipment that is aware of its calibration testing due date, notifying its owner and the calibration lab about it, and on the due date sending across all data required to calibrate it to the calibration lab over a secure digital channel. Then the lab analyses the data and processes the certification, all with very minimal manual intervention. IoT sensors can even help the calibration lab remotely take commands from the lab and do the calibration. Think about the time saved.
Is that the future?
Not exactly. The technology is available now. So it’s not the future, it’s the present. In fact, the crux of Industry 4.0 is connected machines and factories. How extensively connected are they is another question. And one of the biggest challenges in establishing fully connected systems is calibration and associated challenges.
What should calibration labs do?
It is time the labs come together and develop a common communication protocol for external systems to communicate with the lab systems. They need to talk to equipment manufacturers to make sure this is implemented in their equipment.
What is in it for calibration labs?
A connected world will cause exponential improvement in the operational efficiency of the labs. That’s a cause worthy of the effort needed to push it.
I am just thinking out loud here about some of the possibilities at hand for the calibration industry in the connected world. Hope this encourages the industry to work towards grabbing the opportunity and benefit from Industry 4.0.