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The IPK’s smart maintenance system saves data from the entire life cycle of one or more machine tools to a cloud platform. This enables businesses to conduct analyses which can be used to optimize machines and entire work processes.

The Berlin-based IPK scientists use a ball screw drive to demonstrate the process, which is used to move a workpiece carrier between two spindles in a machine. Over time, wear and tear lead to vibrations that are measured by a micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) and analyzed by a processor. The chip sends this information to an Internet of Things platform which then alerts the service center. It decides what to do and determines the best time to change the spindle, for example, to avoid production losses caused by downtimes. The IoT platform also controls a digital twin of the machine tool which saves the machine’s history and all its states and operational parameters.