Sunday, January 29, 2012

GE's Industrial Internet

Late last year, General Electric established a new global software center in North California to develop software for what it calls the "Industrial Internet". GE proposes to increase the performance of the sophisticated equipments manufactured by it by embedding them with networked sensors and collecting and analyzing real-time data from them using a layer of software.

While the world of inter-connected, intelligent, and networked-to-maintenance support has been in the ideation stage for some time now, it may be the first big comemrcial plunge by any firm.

GE's industrial equipment is typically instrumented with sensors. The center will be building software for pulling the data from the machines and then analyzing it for insights that reduce costs and improve efficiency and safety... For example, collecting data that shows changes in the mechanical vibrations of a gas turbine can help predict when the equipment will need maintenance. The data... is used to anticipate problems instead of doing repairs after there has been an equipment failure. GE's aviation division... developed a program this year, called "My Engines", for monitoring the performance and health of jet engines in use. Such data analysis... can be used not only for pre-emptive maintenance, but also to fine-tune supply shipments and improve product designs.

For the record, GE makes a range of products that include aircraft engines, gas turbines, rail locomotives, medical imaging equipment, household appliances and light bulbs.

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