Oh, I agree, and understand the concept, naperlou. The reality is a complicated computer network on top of regular electrical troubleshooting. The self-diagnosis goes only so far, and then a human must begin tracing the circuits, which will include Ethernet problems on top of simple switch or relay failures.
The wages offered for such a skill set simply aren't enough to retain a good maintenance technician.
In my experience, I've seen factory maintenance skills gradually decline, and with it the education/knowledge necessary to keep the factory running. This is not a slam against the workers, but against management policies and wages offered.
The result of the lowest-cost is best policy is that the maintenance department no longer has the skills necessary to monitor and troubleshoot modern networked safety systems.
Rob: Thanks for spotlighting what appears to be a wide range of technologies promoting increased safety on the plant floor. One in particular that I'm curious about is the second slide on ExpertOperator. What exactly is a virtual safety wall that can surround equipment? Hadn't heard of that capability before.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.