Make Better Decisions Using Asset Insights

PB 25 Rockwell newlogo 400

July 19, 2021

By Dave Mayer, LifecycleIQ Services Portfolio Lead, Data and Digital, Rockwell Automation

If you don’t know every last industrial asset that’s installed in your production facilities and stocked in your storerooms, you’re not alone. Over a period of decades, it’s easy to lose sight of what assets you have as those assets are replaced, parts are restocked and employees change roles.

But maintaining a complete understanding of your assets – from industrial control devices and parts, to machines and equipment – is a prerequisite to optimizing how you manage them. Whether you want to mitigate cybersecurity risks by using the latest firmware or avoid unplanned downtime by keeping spares stocked, you need an accurate and up-to-date record of your entire asset base.

Of course, creating this record can be a tall order. The sheer number of assets across your organization can make the process of identifying them a challenge all its own. Staff may also be constrained. And your asset base may be undergoing dramatic change as a result of digital transformation.

The most efficient and effective way to document your asset base is with network asset discovery tools that can query your networks and identify assets on them.

But this isn’t simply a matter of buying the first available tool. You need to consider different asset-discovery tools and methodologies, and determine which are most appropriate for what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization.

What do you need?

A tool that detects networked assets and collects information about them is preferred for manually identifying your industrial assets. It’s significantly faster, and it can give you a richer dataset about your assets.

However, a tool can’t capture everything, such as the spares in your storerooms and assets that aren’t communicating on a network. For this reason, manual collection methods must also be considered.

Additionally, not all tools are created equal. For example, IT-centric tools may give you an asset’s IP addresses but little else. These tools can fall short of giving operations teams the information they need, like an asset’s location, vendor and firmware version.

Different tools also do their jobs in different ways. Those that use active asset discovery, for instance, can interfere with production assets on a network – and even cause downtime events. Tools that use passive collection methods simply observe network traffic to determine what devices are on the network.

It’s also important to know if a tool is “agnostic.” That means it can detect any device type, from any vendor, on any communications protocol.

A baseline and beyond

Once you’ve determined what methodologies and tools are right for you, you can deploy them to get a baseline of your asset base.

Given the demands put on production staff in most facilities, it’s common to hire a service provider to help you find your asset baseline. The service provider can visit your facility and use your specified methodologies and tools to identify your assets and the critical asset data that your IT and OT teams need. And in most cases, this can all be done in just a matter of days.

It’s also important to consider how you will keep your asset baseline up to date as your operations evolve. Your installed asset base will physically change over time, such as when you add or replace devices, or commission new lines. But the assets themselves also evolve, such as with the release of product safety advisories and security patches, and as their lifecycle status changes.

Managing the asset baseline can be a responsibility allocated to staff in your facilities. But it’s also a task that service providers can take on as a managed service, where the provider combines components like domain expertise, remote connectivity, and monitoring to support your operations on an ongoing basis.


Related Articles

Changing Scene

  • Tri-Mach Announces the Purchase of an Additional 45,000 sq ft. Facility

    Tri-Mach Announces the Purchase of an Additional 45,000 sq ft. Facility

    Recently, Tri-Mach Inc. was thrilled to announce the addition of a new 45,000 sq ft. facility. Located at 285 Union St., Elmira, ON, this facility expands Tri-Mach’s capabilities, allowing them to better serve the growing needs of their customers. Positioning for growth, this additional facility will allow Tri-Mach to continue taking on large-scale projects, enhance product performance testing, and provide equipment storage for their customers. Read More…

  • HELUKABEL Group Builds New Facility for Automation Cable Solutions

    HELUKABEL Group Builds New Facility for Automation Cable Solutions

    The HELUKABEL Group recently announced it is going to build a new facility in Haan, Germany that will house its robotic dress pack and drag chain system subsidiaries under one roof. The new building will also serve as the headquarters of HELUKABEL’s Rhine-Ruhr sales branch, and is planned to be completed by 2025. Robotec Systems’ core business is robotic dress pack solutions and has been a HELUKABEL subsidiary since 2012 operating out of Duisburg, a suburb of Duesseldorf in northwest Germany. Read More…

Sponsored Content
Fire Protection for Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems

Lithium-ion storage facilities contain high-energy batteries combined with highly flammable electrolytes. In addition, they are prone to quick ignition and explosion in a worst-case scenario. Such fires can have a significant financial impact on organizations. Rapid detection of electrolyte gas particles and extinguishing are the key to a successful fire protection concept. Since December 2019, Siemens has been offering a VdS-certified fire protection concept for stationary Li-ion battery storage systems.

Click HERE to learn more.

For a Multiplied Value Unified


During the last few years, the Excelpro Group has welcomed AIA Automation, Envitech Automation and Conrad Lavoie Electrical, all of which have become ‘Member of the Excelpro Group’.

It was with great excitement that in November of 2022, Excelpro announced that these three companies officially became Excelpro. This decision is part of a strategy to enhance the Excelpro Group’s brand in its market.

These companies already collaborate on various client projects. This merger brings together the complementary strengths of the employees and ensures a global synergy of the activities throughout the Group.

Read More

Service Wire Co. Announces New Titles for Key Executives

Bruce Kesler and Mark Gatewood have been given new titles and responsibilities for Service Wire Co.

Bruce Kesler has assumed the role of Senior Director – Business Development. Bruce will be responsible for Service Wire’s largest strategic accounts and our growing Strategic Accounts Team.

Mark Gatewood has been promoted to the role of Vice President – Sales & Marketing. In this role, Gatewood will lead the efforts of Service Wire Company’s entire sales and marketing organization in all market verticals.

Read More

Modern Niagara Partners with Global Sustainability Platform Worldfavor

Worldfavor is a global sustainability platform, digitizing and automating the collection, calculation, aggregation and visualization for analysis and reporting of ESG data. Now, Worldfavor is proud to welcome Modern Niagara as a new customer. Modern Niagara is the first Canadian construction company to partner with Worldfavor.

“Worldfavor was founded to be the best platform for sharing, accessing and gaining insights from corporate ESG information. Worldfavor’s mission is to make sustainability mainstream and with that we offer solutions to accelerate sustainability through the value chain. Modern Niagara is the first Canadian construction company to partner with Worldfavor. 

Read More

JMP Parent Company, CONVERGIX Acquires AGR Automation, Expanding Global Reach

Convergix Automation Solutions has completed the acquisition of AGR Automation (“AGR”), a UK-based provider of custom, high-performance automation design and systems integration primarily to the life sciences industry.

Following Convergix’s acquisitions of JMP Solutions in August 2021 and Classic Design in February 2022, AGR marks the third investment in Crestview’s strategy to build Convergix into a diversified automation solutions provider targeting the global $500+ billion market, with a particular focus on the $70 billion global systems integration and connectivity segments. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Read More

Latest Articles