Test Equipment Leverages Smart Phones & Cloud Computing | Automation.com

Test Equipment Leverages Smart Phones & Cloud Computing

June 202014
Test Equipment Leverages Smart Phones & Cloud Computing

By Bill Lydon, Editor

Fluke recently introduced Fluke Connect, a system that allows maintenance technicians to wirelessly transmit measurement data from their test tools to their smart phones. The system uses the cloud for secure data storage and allows universal team access from the field. I had the opportunity to meet with Fluke representatives and try this latest offering. There has recently been a lot of hype about the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing. To date, from what I have seen on the market, Fluke Connect is the most useful, productivity-increasing industry solution based on these technologies.

I suspect many readers have the same experience that I had when troubleshooting and diagnosing problems: I would write notes about meter readings and other test equipment data. In my field days, I carried a stack of 3 x 5 inch cards in my shirt pocket. I took notes in an attempt to correlate information and understand why systems had problems. Later, I would review the findings with others and write reports.

Fluke has streamlined the process with this new solution. All you need is a smartphone in your shirt pocket. The new Fluke Connect offering eliminates the need for separate notes. Collaboration is accomplished using wireless communicating test instruments, smart phones, and cloud computing. Fluke Connect systemizes troubleshooting with integrated data capture, note taking, data sharing, and video collaboration. This system dramatically increases commissioning, startup, and troubleshooting productivity. More than 20 Fluke tools are designed to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth to the free Fluke Connect smart phone app. They devices are also linked to a cloud data repository. Fluke Connect devices include digital multimeters, infrared cameras, insulation testers, process meters, and certain voltage, current and temperature models.

The Fluke Connect application has a three-phase feature to aggregate current readings labeled by phases and trend graphs of all phases. The test instruments have a clever magnetic strap that allows users to conveniently hang them on equipment panels.

Users hook up Fluke Connect-enabled test equipment to field devices for measurements. Up to ten devices can communicate with their smart phones. Measurements and infrared images are automatically recorded to the Fluke Cloud storage from wherever you are working -- no more need to write anything down. The user can assign measured information from the smartphone to equipment and link the information with work orders in the Fluke Connect cloud.

Trend display of real-time information.

Measurements can be assigned to specific equipment to maintain long-term history. Using ShareLive video call, readings and live video of equipment can be shared real-time from a smartphone with other team members. Work orders with measurements can be issued via the app, documenting precise information about problems. The Fluke Connect app features EquipmentLog history to create a cloud-based history of test measurement data for easy access during both troubleshooting and reliability maintenance. The TrendIt feature enables technicians to instantly graph data, helping to identify trends and quickly make informed decisions. Fluke Connect wireless tools include Digital Multimeter, Process Meter, Logging Digital Multimeters, AC Voltage Module, DC voltage Module, AC Current Modules, AC/DC Current Clamp, K-Type Temperature Module, Insulation Resistance Testers, and Infrared cameras.

Team-oriented

Using the free Fluke Cloud Connect app and service, a team leader creates an account and invites members to join. Members can share information and access the cloud database. Fluke representatives noted that Fluke Cloud storage is built on state-of-the-art security, including secure access, electronic surveillance, multi-factor access control systems, built-in firewalls, and encrypted data storage.

Maintenance Resource

Data from the Fluke Connect cloud can be shared with other software such as asset management systems, maintenance management, and service management.  Data is shared through a data export function that links real-world troubleshooting and diagnosis information to these systems.

Innovation

It is refreshing to see a company that looks at the entire problem to innovate and develop a systems solution. This system is elegant in its simplicity to help solve a number of issues and boost productivity.

More Information

The Fluke Connect app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. For more information about Fluke Connect, visit: www.flukeconnect.com

Video: Fluke Connect on the Job

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