Updated: Apr 26
Technicians working with M&E Equipment (and the companies they work for) need to keep abreast with the technology that enhances the way they work or risk getting left behind.
New and emerging technology exists that enables the modern M&E technician to remotely diagnose potential issues before attending site - and in some cases completely remove the need to attend at all.
IoT solutions specially developed for M&E use, enables engineers to see full diagnostic data from chillers, lifts, VRF systems and associated individual energy consumption, in fact anything that can cause a catastrophic failure can be monitored with battery powered sensors that can be installed in minutes, rather than hours needed with traditional hard wired BMS type sensors.
This real-time data can be used to monitor changes in operation patterns and are instantly flagged, so that engineers can diagnose faults, without having to attend the site.
Remote Fault Diagnosis And Repair
Even with a machine right in front of them, engineers still like to learn more about what is going on inside the equipment - by connecting from their laptops. Knowing how a machine is functioning, without having to physically attend site, is a benefit to both the engineer and the site.
Engineers can remotely diagnose faults instantly and more efficiently, without having to drive to a site potentially many hours away and undertake the usual manual invasive investigative work on a customers site.
Proactive M&E engineering companies are training their techs in these modern ways and now require their service professionals to understand the equipment data, as much as the mechanics of the assets that they are trying to fix. There are multiple different sensors, control panels, and monitoring solutions, so engineers need to be able to understand the information, from all these different systems.
Those M&E Businesses who fail to understand and embrace these new diagnostic maintenance methods will get left behind and will struggle to get on tenders where these systems are getting specified.
Independent IoT Solutions
Innovations in technology, means that forward thinking engineers will have the digital tools that they need to translate this data.
Agnostic IoT solutions sit across any existing infrastructure, to connect directly to the individual assets and present the information in a simple standardised language, for engineers to view and analyse, and with integrations with BMS systems means its even easier to translate that information into energy savings.
The need for digital skills and comprehension of data analytics is still fundamental to the modern role, but it’s made a lot easier and more efficient, thanks to these progressive innovations.
M&E Engineers are already being alerted when a piece of equipment is starting to go wrong, much earlier than the point at which it breaks, enabling them to proactively visit sites, in order to fix minor faults, before there is a failure.
The ability to proactively fix faults also saves end-users a lot of money, as maintenance calls will be less frequent and when they are needed, much less severe than they otherwise would have been, if the fault was only detected at the point of the asset breaking down.
Skills Shortages, Training and the future workforce
Many experienced M&E technicians are retiring and leaving the industry and aren't being replaced with the experience needed to work on complex equipment. Apprentices are coming through - but these new younger technicians, need experience in diagnosing and fixing faults in modern M&E systems which can only be developed over time. What does the use of technology mean for M&E engineers?
M&E Businesses have traditionally been slow in adopting to new technologies and ways of working, but are now slowly making a steady move towards integrating new technology.
The Future for M&E
We will always need M&E engineers, as there will always be equipment with moving parts that need fixing or replacing onsite. Even as we move towards the data-enabled future of automated M&E Equipment, machines will continue to break down on occasion - despite the best PPM regimes and will need to be fixed by a professional.
The M&E engineer of the future will see a change in their skillsets, as they are increasingly required to understand data and software engineering.
The M&E engineers, will more likely be at a desk, rather than sitting on a roof in front of a chiller, but their hands on skills and expertise will be required, as long as there are physical machines with moving parts.