Connectivity – How to monitor and understand your engine better

Connectivity is a hot topic for professionals working in industrial and marine businesses; a concept that presents virtually endless possibilities. It is also a highly useful tool for getting better control of your business. In this article, I will describe connectivity in general, the benefits of using connected engines in industrial and marine businesses, and give you my take on the future of connectivity.

Connecting expensive, complex, potentially critical technical products

Connectivity can be defined as the state of being, or having the ability to be, connected. Over the last twenty years, connectivity has created a paradigm shift in most industries, the automotive industry in particular. Generally speaking, there is a major need for connecting expensive, complex, often critical technical products. Therefore, the development of connectivity in marine and industrial businesses is a natural consequence of what is happening in today’s society. 

By learning more about the engine, uptime and productivity can be improved

Some operators have already come a long way in connecting their engines, others are still getting used to the idea. Either way, there is a general consensus among companies that this technology will have a positive effect on their businesses. 

For professionals working in industrial and marine businesses, the main advantages of connectivity can be divided into two main areas.

First of all, uptime. Connected solutions help monitor how the engine is doing, in order to both prevent failure and minimize downtime. This facilitates planning and preventive maintenance. If you detect an engine failure, service engineers will be able to connect to it remotely, and thereby determine whether you can continue to use the engine or not. Even if you cannot, the service engineers can use the data to notify the repair shop, so that they will be prepared when the engine is brought in for service. The mechanics can also prepare by making sure that they have all necessary spare parts in store. For industrial and marine professionals, this means saving both time and money.

The other main advantage is that of improved productivity. Many companies measure their business processes (such as: diesel consumption per cubic meter of timber). Connectivity helps measure the productivity by, for example, comparing the performances of different engines in similar applications. This helps create more efficient processes.

Greater security and a better ability to update software

There are other advantages to connecting an engine, as well. Take security: if a vehicle or vessel is broken into, an alarm can be set to go off in your cell phone. Entertainment is another – connectivity can allow operators working with repetitive tasks to, say, listen to music or audiobooks while working. A connected engine will also have the ability to remotely update its software. As such, updating it will not require a visit to the repair shop. Being able to update it on the spot increases the uptime.

Connected services adjusted to meet specific needs

When talking about connectivity, it is important to remember that connectivity itself is not the big benefit, but rather the services one can connect to the engine. Connectivity merely enables the gathering of information about your marine vessel or industrial vehicle. There are a number of different services that can be applied to a connected engine, and these services can in turn be adjusted to meet specific needs. 

Volvo Penta is an innovative and modern engine manufacturer

The development of connected solutions has gone from being a visionary idea to becoming a cost-saving business model for industrial and marine professionals. We can expect most engines in Europe and North America to become connected, at least on some level, over the course of the next five to ten years.

At Volvo Penta, we are very enthusiastic about the benefits that connectivity presents, and we work hard to meet our customers’ needs for smart, connected and optimized power solutions.      

If you have any questions on this topic, feel free to contact me. For more information about Volvo Penta and what we offer, visit our website and social media channels. You will also find lots of other interesting articles here at the Volvo Penta Professional Power Blog.

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