A crystal ball in the machine shop
In the old days, a production plant had to break down before it could be repaired. Today‘s intelligent systems recognise faults before they appear. Predictive Maintenance can make enormous cost-savings and open the way to new business models.show more
Advance maintenance full-steam ahead
Repairing machines before they break down – that is what predictive maintenance can do. Integrated machine monitoring is what you need to do it.
The topic of predictive maintenance has become increasingly important in recent years, and is inseparable from the themes of Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things and Big Data. Technology manufacturers are equipping machines and industrial systems with sensors that enable remote monitoring when combined with the right software. To what end?
Repair before downtime occurs
This approach is based on servicing and maintenance, which is no great novelty in and of itself. For years, many manufacturers have been earning more money with aftersales service than with the mere sale of their machines. But unlike in the past, predictive maintenance does not commit operators – whether of printers, aircraft, CNC mills or automobiles – to set maintenance schedules. Because regular or sporadic maintenance has a fundamental drawback: Users all utilize their machines differently, which makes wear difficult to calculate.
Predictive maintenance enables the permanent monitoring of components inside the machine – using sensors that measure vibration, temperature or humidity, for example. Specialized maintenance software collects this sensor data, evaluates it and recognizes in advance when a component might be in danger of failing. Defective components that could soon lead to a system shutdown are identified independently of the usual maintenance schedule, and can be replaced before damage actually occurs.
Predictive maintenance brings big cost savings
The key advantage of predictive maintenance comes down to two words: cost effectiveness. This is technology that limits downtimes, saves energy and reduces maintenance costs. The potential savings are enormous. The US rail company Union Pacific reports savings of some USD 100 million annually through predictive maintenance. Reason enough for Deutsche Bahn to launch its own innovation project in the area of servicing and maintenance. And these days, predictive maintenance makes sense for more than just the big machines and systems. Software and sensors are ever more efficient. ABB presented a solution for low voltage engines at HANNOVER MESSE 2016 , for example, which is relatively affordable and is quickly amortized even at smaller scales.
Machine maintenance is well on the way to entering a new era. Instead of reacting when a component no longer works, technicians in the future will act before a defect becomes apparent and causes costly downtime. And not only that, but continuous data analysis gives users of smart machines a much more precise picture of their facilities: Operating errors or wrong settings become a thing of the past in this scenario, or can be rapidly recognized and corrected. In the best cases, predictive maintenance analyzes not only data from the machine itself, but also influencing factors such as order frequency, material quality or even the weather.
Predictive maintenance thus moves into predictive producing – and a production unit becomes a veritable smart factory.
Discover the innovations heading for the market at HANNOVER MESSE. Learn how to deploy cutting-edge machine maintenance in your company. Visit the Predictive Maintenance display .
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