Pressure sensors can be very valuable. You will find them more often in the plant and mill environment but showing up more commonly now in mobile hydraulics equipment. If that information is being logged somewhere—and if there is a reference that can indicate what normal should be—then, yes, sensors can be very powerful.
You see sensors in new mobile equipment especially tied into EMCs, where warning lights are going off, when pressures fluctuate. But many times, you may get an enormous amount data logging. Recently, an engineer asked about what kind of pressures were going on with a pump. Technicians quickly responded with a data logging sheet. Interpreting the sheet, the engineer could see that the pressure initially set on the pressure compositor was considerably lower than the system should have been set for to begin with.
So, the instrumentation, whether it’s an old analog gauge, or whether it’s a brand new electronic sensor, still merely provides data from which somebody has to interpret and relate it back into the system. From there, you make a decision. We’re not in a day and age yet where a problem just fixes itself. But we are getting to a point where we don’t have to interrupt the machine while it’s running. We can make some of this interpretation of what’s going on in the machine without ever breaking into it. And that’s an exciting concept.