Industrial Diagnostics: A look at recent trends and technologies

Meera Sampath

Reliability, availability, and maintainability are key vectors of differentiation of an industrial product in its marketplace. A machine that is broken when needed, results both in loss of customer productivity, and in increased service and maintenance costs. "Near-100%-uptimes" and "near-zero service costs" are, therefore, two critical requirements that product manufacturers must meet. Inherently reliable product designs, coupled with robust diagnostic tools and sound service strategies, are essential to meet these stringent requirements. To this end, service and diagnostics play a critical role in the design and manufacture of industrial systems.

In this talk, we will first discuss the role of diagnostics in the product life cycle. Next, we will discuss some recent trends in industrial diagnosis, focussing in particular, on the changes brought about by advances in computing and networking. We follow this with a brief survey of diagnostic technologies currently in use in the industry. Finally, we will discuss in detail a recent project on embedded machine diagnostics carried out at the Wilson Center for Research at Xerox Corporation. This project proposes a hybrid diagnostic methodology for real time diagnosis of xerographic marking engines, and is based on the discrete event systems diagnostic methodology developed at the University of Michigan.