Unleashing the Potential of Maintenance-as-a-Service
Published on : Monday 10-05-2021
The importance of maintenance management is prevalent these days.
Companies spend most of their budget on maintenance activities to address equipment breakdown and maximise the availability, quality, and effectiveness of the equipment. Considering the report, the maintenance of manufactured products costs more than 30% of the operating costs. Today, a data-based approach is taking maintenance management to the next level, enabling maintenance-as-a-service (MaaS) to become the order of the day. Many manufacturing companies rely on field maintenance services, also referred to as the MaaS approach, to deal with the challenges associated with the insufficiency of technical personnel to perform critical maintenance.
In the last decade, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model has become prevalent with the development of centralised computing and novel software architectures. The advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) brought this model into the smart factory. This model nowadays is not just limited to industrial software packages. It could also be implemented to machines themselves.
Maintenance services are critical to modern manufacturing as they directly impact operational efficiency and equipment performance. Organisations are implementing effective maintenance strategies to not only fix damaged equipment. They also bring planned maintenance as well as follow the product vendor’s recommendations to ensure maximum uptime and efficient asset operations. The emergence of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, developments in operational sensor technologies, along with advances in technologies such as cloud-based platforms, big data and analytics are unlocking the unused potential of consumer equipment by delivering real-time data on performance levels.
Today’s equipment design uses the latest technological advances to meet the high quality and efficiency standards of an ever-demanding operating environment. However, this creates challenges for some users to acquire multidimensional equipment maintenance capabilities such as skills, tools, system knowledge and the desire to get into maintenance details. According to an Infosys report, users, who would prefer to focus on solving core business problems, instead of focusing on complex maintenance activities, would find value in a maintenance-as-a-service offering. Emerging technologies enable exactly such services, which may be managed via a product vendor or specialised service provider.
TAG, a world leader and a specialist in computerised maintenance management software (CMMS) as well as enterprise asset management (EAM) and asset performance management (APM) solutions, offers Maintenance-as-a-Service software. TAG MaaS software is a full-featured maintenance management solution. It helps businesses and their customers to tap into a wealth of data regarding their assets, maintenance work, work order status, and all other maintenance operations.
Disruptive Enterprise Maintenance with MaaS
The maintenance-as-a-service model seems very promising and will likely deliver a variety of benefits to businesses. An article published on Prometheus Group, an enterprise asset management software solution provider, noted that based on the successful integration of maintenance datasets in the cloud, equipment vendors can offer a host of new services to their customers. There are some digital cloud-based services in maintenance management.
Fault detection as a Service: In this service, plant owners and operators will gain detailed information about the status of their assets. It includes predictions about anticipated failures based on parameters such as End of Life (EOF) and Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). This information can be readily accessed for any piece of equipment and visualised as part of a cloud-based application.
Recommendations as a Service: This service provides recommendations about when to perform maintenance for a specific piece of equipment. Operators will significantly get recommendations based on the prediction of overall equipment efficiency (OEE) under distinct probabilistic scenarios, which take into account the assets’ risk of failure. These recommendations can advise about the optimal time for performing the maintenance of an asset. They can also be also visualised in a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
Maintenance operations management as a Service: Through this service, maintenance managers gain information about the operations entailed in a maintenance contract for one or more assets. The service involves presentation and visualisation of the contract’s status and a specific maintenance process, such as compliance information and supply chain aspects, e.g. parts’ delivery dates.
Simulation-as-a-Service: This service provides maintenance engineers with the ability to simulate future operations of assets based on historical data in the cloud. In this way, maintenance workers are able to simulate and visualise various “what if” scenarios in the scope of failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) operations. Essentially, simulation-as-a-service can greatly boost maintenance decisions.
Training-as-a-Service: In this service approach, equipment providers can offer a rich portfolio of cloud-based training services by using data available in the cloud. These services are based on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). These services could inculcate maintenance workers about how to perform maintenance in their plant. These recommendations take into account the real-life status of their plant instead of a set of pre-defined and pre-configured parameters provided by the equipment vendor.
There many IT vendors that are building and offering scalable, cost-effective cloud-based platforms to power cloud-based services for plants and the rise of MaaS. For instance, IBM Watson IoT platform, which is offered in the cloud. Besides offering scalable cloud functionalities, Watson enables advanced intelligence over sensor and enterprise data based on cognitive analytics. IBM is not alone in this domain. Other leading cloud platforms include Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite, Amazon AWS IoT, and SAP’s HANA.
Moreover, SIEMENS, Bosch and ABB offer maintenance services in industrial automation solutions. There are also partnerships happening between these industrial maintenance solutions vendors and cloud service providers to offer effective solutions. Equipment vendors are establishing partnerships with both IT and maintenance services providers to build their own suite of MaaS services. For instance, SIEMENS MindSphere cloud solution is built upon SAP's HANA cloud.
Nonetheless, the process of development, deployment and offering of MaaS services is still in its infancy as part of the ongoing digital transformation of the industry. The adoption of the MaaS model will be significantly affected by security and data protection concerns, branding and business modelling issues, and innovation.
With the rapid pace of technology evolution, companies need to capitalise on the latest technologies to adapt to the new business model. Technologies such as IoT, big data and analytics will become the new norm in the industrial maintenance domain. And companies have to leverage these and other newer technologies to attain smart maintenance.