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Reacting to breakdowns as they occur is no longer good enough in the age of Industrie 4.0. Thanks to advances in sensor technology and IT, plant operators are now investing increasingly in predictive maintenance, which is made possible by intelligent data analysis. Predictive maintenance is all about timing: using data about operating conditions collected by sensors and analysed by sophisticated software, plant managers can carry out maintenance work at the optimum time. Breakdowns can be anticipated, proces ses speeded up, and costly production downtimes avoided. In 2016 HANNOVER MESSE is devoting a special display section to the theme of Predictive Maintenance.

A suitably high-profile location has been chosen in Hall 17, an exhibition hall occupied by the leading trade fair INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION. This is the first hall that visitors come to after entering the Grounds by the main North entrance – and the first thing they will see is the special display “Predictive Maintenance 4.0.

Predictive maintenance: digital storage, analysis and prediction

The most talked-about maintenance, repair and overhaul strategy of our times is called “predictive maintenance”, or PM for short. The idea is simple: plant operators use sophisticated sensors to monitor the operating condition of their machines, then analyse the data with the aid of specialized software. This allows them to recognize patterns that indicate trouble, to predict wear and tear, and to take immediate action to service or repair the affected components.

Core element of Industrie 4.0

Linking together machines, products and components in a digital network is the key feature of Industrie 4.0. This makes it possible to collect machine operating data continuously in real time, and to combine these data with information supplied by external systems (such as ERP or CRM). The storage and analysis of machine data from the production process forms the basis for more reliable forward planning and a more efficient maintenance regime. Productivity increases when unscheduled downtimes, and the resulting production bottlenecks, are reduced or eliminated. Servicing and maintenance costs are lower, production quality is higher.

Win-win situation for suppliers and users

Fewer machine shutdowns, shorter repair and overhaul times, a faster production flow – these are the benefits promised by suppliers of PM solutions, who are chasing sales worth billions. The VDMA, Germany’s central engineering federation, has recognized the potential, and sees a key role in predictive maintenance for the German plant and mechanical engineering sector.

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