12 WAYS TO USE A SMARTPHONE AS A MAINTENANCE TOOL

The cellphone has evolved from just a gadget used to make calls and check emails into a device that can transform the way maintenance is performed.  Many plants are already using computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) software on their phones or tablets to allow technicians the opportunity to update work orders as they perform each task, eliminating the need to take notes and re-enter them later.

With all of the new mobile technologies, the smartphone could become the new wrench in the toolbox of the future.  There are many apps and features available to transform your phone into a must-have gadget.  

The following is a list of 12 features and apps that we have brainstormed along with one of the major CMMS software providers.  Applications may not be precise, but perhaps will provide ideas of what you can research and incorporate into your “tool box”.    

 

CAMERA

Use the camera function to upload images and videos.  Many times, a repair or application can be difficult to describe so images and videos are a great way to document repairs.  Send that video to others and receive immediate response on the part, repair, etc.  If the video and/or picture is downloaded, it can be reviewed at a later date when that issue arises again.  

 

VOICE RECOGNITION

Many of the modern smartphones come with built-in voice recognition software such as Apple’s SIRI.  Rather than using a small keyboard, just dictate the repair into the built-in microphone and include it on the work order.  

 

BARCODE AND QR CODE SCANNING

Search your files for all of the vendors and/or service companies that have created their own QR code for immediate response.  This can save time and eliminate the tedious task of thumbing through long lists of items.  Some manufacturing companies have created bar codes for various pieces of equipment for inventorying purposes or log an issue against a particular asset.  Take time to load Control Specialties’ QR Code into your iPhone go directly to our web site for technical information and products.  

 

RFID TAGS AND NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATIONS

There are some smartphones that are enabled with (NFC) near field communications that can be used to identify equipment through RFID tags.  Here again, RFID tags can placed on equipment for numerous applications such proof of presence for safety related assignments, etc.

 

MAPS AND GPS

Many smartphones come equipped with maps and GPS technology.  Technicians can use satellites to pinpoint coordinates of their current location enabling them to locate assets without searching through reams of outdated maps.

 

FLASHLIGHT

The majority of smartphones come equipped with a flashlight and if not, there are several flashlight apps available.  What ordinary flashlight provides a camera, voice recognition, etc. in one device!

 

UNIT MEASUREMENT CONVERTER

There are over 58,000 individual unit conversions that are immediately available and many are free.  Metric conversion charts, math calculators, language apps, and thousands more.

 

STROBE LIGHTS FROM CAMERA FLASHES

There are a number of apps that turn the camera flash into a stroboscope.  This capability can be used to calculate the running speed of belts and motors as well as balancing and verifying alignment by checking for looseness.  

 

VIBRATION ANAYLSIS

Many modern smartphones have built-in accelerometers or gyroscopes that can be used for vibration analysis on pumps and motors.  Units such as the SKFTKSA11 when used with your iPhone provide high resolution graphics, etc.  https://www.control-specialties.com/skf-tksa11-shaft-alignment-tool.html

 

MAGNETIC FIELD DETECTOR

There are many apps that use the embedded magnetic sensors in smartphones to turn it into an electromagnetic field meter.  Ideal application for simple tasks such as checking for power lines behind walls or equipment.

 

METAL DETECTOR

The magnetic field sensors in your smartphone can also be used to detect metal objects.  Metal detector apps can be used for locating iron pipes in the ground, studs in walls, etc.

 

SOUND LEVEL METERS

There are apps available to measure the level of sound in decibels converting your iPhone into a basic sound pressure meter.  These apps with your iPhone are reliable and accurate enough for non-critical applications.