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Advanced Innovations Huge Projected Growth for Industrial Wearables Due to the Rise of Industry 4.0

| Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais* / Ahlam Rais

The global industrial wearables market is projected to grow from 1.1 billion dollars in 2019 to 8.6 billion dollars by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 50.2 %. Many firms have developed smart solutions but are there any wearables specifically for the chemical and oil & gas industries? PROCESS Worldwide finds out…

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Industrial wearables come equipped with the latest technologies and software solutions through which industries are able to improve their overall productivity.
Industrial wearables come equipped with the latest technologies and software solutions through which industries are able to improve their overall productivity.
(Source: Real Wear)

The global industrial wearables market is projected to grow from 1.1 billion dollars in 2019 to 8.6 billion dollars by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 50.2 %, according to a report by research firm Markets and Markets. The core factor for this significant growth is the rise of Industry 4.0 across diverse industries. Also, this growth figure may increase further considering the current Covid-19 scenario where there is a need to maintain social distancing and also work remotely.

At present, industrial wearables come equipped with the latest technologies and software solutions through which industries are able to improve their overall productivity. Efficient and accurate, the wearable devices also ensure safety of the workers. In this background, PROCESS Worldwide offers an insight into the different kinds of industrial wearables for the chemical and oil & gas industries.

Hands-Free Head Mounted Device

Claimed to be the world’s only intrinsically safe and hands-free remote collaboration tool, HMT-1Z1 by Real Wear enables a frontline worker to get connected to a technical expert via a live stream where the expert can view the worker’s environment remotely. This means that the technician can monitor and carry out site inspection, damaged equipment inspections, emergency technical support, mentor new engineers, etc. without being physically present at the site. The fully voice controlled device is PPE compatible and can reduce downtime by up to 75 %. Equipped with a high definition camera, superior audio and noise cancellation features, the wearable can also be used even in explosive areas and highly hazardous surroundings. Leading firms such as Linde, Shell and Saudi Aramco are already using this remote collaboration tool for their operations.

Body Vest and Jacket

The Italian oil company Eni has partnered with the technological institute MIT – Design Lab to develop a body vest for the safety of industrial workers. This wearable is capable of collecting biological data from the wearer and can also monitor his health by using biosensors that measure heart rate, breathing, galvanic skin response and spatial position. The vest offers 16 points of haptic feedback and can collect information via numerous integrated sensors. All the information is then carried to a central processor placed at the back of the vest which coordinates with another wearable – the jacket. Multiple sensors integrated into the arms of the jacket measure air quality, noise levels, smoke, or any airborne chemical that could cause harm. When the sensors detect a harmful gas, an alert is sent via the vest to all operators in the area and the control room so that swift action can be undertaken and the situation can be brought under control.

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Smart Worker Solution

Eleksen’s Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (Smart) is a ‘Tap & Go’ solution for industrial workers which offers various alerts for highly dangerous situations on-site including excessive noise or gas, heat stress, moving vehicle proximity, etc. The wearable is capable of sending across local SOS alerts via LED lights or a haptic alarm for noisy and busy environments. Equipped with superior sensor devices, the smart solution is easy to use and can be upgraded. The data on the device can be transferred in real-time to a dashboard and analytics module which proves beneficial for on-site industrial workers. The industrial wearable also helps in reducing risks, costs as well as enhancing overall performance of the workers. An interesting highlight of this smart solution is that it does not require any IT integration and there is no additional data privacy issues associated with it.

Smart Helmet

Daqri’s Smart Helmet was another innovation which made headlines a few years back but failed to attract customers from the industry and as a result of this the firm has reportedly ran out of business. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) based wearable enabled the worker to connect with his surroundings via useful digital data in real-time. The worker also had access to ‘thermal’ vision which assisted him to see-through many facility arrangements and at the same time he could browse through multiple digitalised maps, diagrams, plans, etc. Equipped with an Intel 6th generation m7 processor, sensors, cameras, inertial measurement units, and an advanced audio system, the helmet was also supported with a display system for AR-based user interface. The innovation catered to the oil & gas, power, construction, water, transportation, shipbuilding, and aerospace industries.

In Conclusion…

Many chemical and oil & gas companies around the world have recently realised the many plus points of industrial wearables however, there are still many who are yet to discover its benefits. With the rapid transformation to more digital and AI based industries, change will be inevitable. Therefore, with the upcoming demand for tech-driven wearables, there is a need for the industrial wearable market to evolve and develop more advanced innovations for the chemical and oil & gas sectors. In this regard, industries can explore and form partnerships with technology focused firms or institutes to develop more customised and more efficient wearables just like in the case of Eni.

In the coming years, we hope that the industrial wearable market has more to offer to the chemical and oil & gas industry.

* The author is an editor at PROCESS Worldwide. Contact: ahlam.rais@vogel.com

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