The Digitalisation of the Maintenance Process
Published on : Monday 30-11--0001
The latest automation trends, Industry 4.0 with sensors and predictive algorithms, the Internet of Things (IoT) and next-gen Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) are about to truly revolutionise the equipment maintenance sector. Today’s digital trends are transforming the entire manufacturing industry ushering in a new era of economic growth and competitiveness.
The main motor of this transformation is undoubtedly the IoT and its network of sensors and data collection instruments, connected to a next-gen CMMS. Thanks to the monitoring of equipment’s vibration, temperature and lubrication, failures can be predicted and productivity and efficiency boosted. All this leads to less equipment downtime, fewer emergency interventions and thus improved budget planning.
There is no question that the IoT and all related trends have disrupted and brought innovation in the maintenance industry and will play a fundamental role in improving factories’ productivity and efficiency.
The Impact of IoT and IIoT on Today’s Maintenance Process
The main reason for applying IoT to manage assets is predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance uses sensors mounted on the equipment to evaluate asset’s wear and efficiency in real time. Some of the most important condition-monitoring techniques include infrared thermography, ultrasonic, current, vibration and oil analysis. The data from these sensors deliver maintenance managers valuable insights into asset’s health and help them figure out when downtime will occur.
Compared to calendar-based preventive inspections, the predictive approach requires an intervention only when a part replacement is necessary. The sensors identify the abnormal conditions and send a notification. If the maintenance strategy is working effectively, maintenance is thus performed only when required and costs associated with spare parts and labour are drastically reduced.
Direct Benefits of Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
• Minimised disruption of everyday operations since PdM is mostly performed while equipment is operating normally
• Reduced maintenance costs
• Minimised unexpected failures
• Increased MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)
• Increased uptime
• Reduced last-minute spare parts purchases, and
• Increased productivity.
PdM is a maintenance approach that directly monitors the condition and performance of assets during normal operation to reduce the likelihood of failures. It features long-term, cost-effective benefits.
But predictive maintenance data alone is not enough.
While PdM tools provide powerful data, information’s value is limited without the context provided by CMMS software. The real value of IOT applications can be fully unfolded only in the seamless interaction of predictive maintenance with CMMS software. The solution collects, stores and analyses the sensor data in the context of many other important details as intervention history, spare parts, MTTR (mean time to repair) and MTBF (mean time between failures) to issue accurate predictive algorithms and auto-generate work orders or notifications.
What is an Industry 4.0 CMMS?
Not every CMMS can be easily adapted to the latest technologies. A best-of-breed solution should be able to track, monitor and analyse data and easily connect to all organisation’s smart systems as ERP, sensors, etc. A smart solution should properly schedule maintenance tasks and manage planned maintenance; thus leading to decreased number of breakdowns. But most of all, an industry 4.0 CMMS is extremely user-friendly and features a reliable mobile version that can be accessed anytime and anywhere from any smart device.
Modern solutions like Mobility Work go even further and offer their users a whole maintenance management platform with an integrated maintenance social network. Basically, each member gets connected with thousands of professionals from a wide range of industries (automotive, railway, food & beverages, chemistry, buildings, materials, pharmaceutical, metallurgy, mechanics, textile, electronics and many more). The platform is also open to equipment and consumables manufacturers, as well as service providers. They can register a company profile and add their products to the Mobility Work official catalogue. Maintenance technicians can though find the provider, product or document they are looking for in just one click.
Mobility Work is to be the 1st Maintenance Management Platform, offering at the same time a CMMS, a social media and a marketplace, connecting various industrial players with maintenance technicians and managers.
Service providers and freelancers are also given the possibility to integrate the platform and connect instantly with the companies needing their services. Essentially, a next-gen, Industry 4.0 CMMS should give you the ability to exceed simple data collection by gaining actionable insights in order to develop better maintenance routines.
Why is it Important for an Organisation to Deploy a Next-Gen CMMS?
Good CMMS solution can bring to your organisation the following important benefits:
Greater Maintenance Management
A CMMS helps team leaders schedule team’s work and provides transparency and control over individual’s performance and critical assignments due dates. Furthermore it promotes safety, lengthens asset life cycle and reduces maintenance costs.
Improved Spare Parts Management
A CMMS keeps a record on parts used, labour hours spent, reliability and downtime on any single piece of equipment. This optimises the spare parts inventory but also provides all involved departments as finance and purchase with the necessary information. Modern solutions include as well a purchasing model, where a missing spare part can be directly purchased with one click.
Improved Data Analysis
As discussed above, data can be pulled quickly and effortlessly from CMMS for analysis. Based on this, alarms and alerts for current conditions get issued enabling the team to take action before the equipment breaks.
Improved Internal Communication
A CMMS improves the overall communication in the maintenance team and between all organisation’s departments.
In general, computerised maintenance management systems have drastically evolved and became more refined and robust, giving predictive maintenance the opportunity to become the next level of maintenance routines.
The age of IoT and digital disruption has contributed to rapid advances in maintenance management. Low cost sensors, Wi-Fi, Cloud Computing and modern CMMS have created the cognitive maintenance management – the meeting point of human intelligence with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). On the other hand this evolution raises as well important questions about the replacement of skilled maintenance professionals by automated devices. However in the sector of maintenance nothing can “beat” an experienced maintenance technician, trained to observe, fix and evaluate equipment. Modern solutions like Mobility Work are rather developed to support the work of the maintenance team than to eliminate it. Ralitsa Peycheva is a technical content manager at Mobility Work (www.mobility-work.com), interested in latest machinery tools, technical maintenance, CMMS and Big Data; curious about new manufacturing methods; discovering, observing and admiring high-quality engineering.