Predictive maintenance for cost reductions, higher equipment effectiveness and reduced downtime
Increasing numbers of industrial companies are becoming interested in predictive maintenance - for good reason. After all, the potential in terms of cost reductions, higher equipment effectiveness and reduced downtime is enormous. But how do machine operators get started in this area? What conditions must be created in production in order to implement modern maintenance strategies?
Predictive Maintenance: The definition of this term is important to understand how the approach works and also its potential. It is a maintenance strategy for companies based on machine data. This data comes from sensors and is analyzed in real time by special AI-powered software. If the algorithm detects a deviation from normal or a pattern that has indicated an imminent need for maintenance in the past, it sounds an alarm. For example, a technician can now be assigned to check the machine and perform maintenance if necessary.
Compared to traditional maintenance strategies that follow fixed inspection intervals and a reactive principle, predictive maintenance has several advantages. Maintenance personnel are no longer deployed "on spec." Instead, they only have to intervene when there is an actual need for maintenance. Predictive maintenance not only saves resources, it also reduces machine downtime. This is because predictive maintenance identifies problems before they lead to plant shutdowns. In addition, the early measures even extend the service life of the machines.
The basic idea can be transferred to almost any type of machine. In this respect, there are hardly any limits with regard to specific use cases in machine parks.
Prevention instead of reaction, lower maintenance costs, fewer breakdowns, higher equipment effectiveness, longer service life of capital goods: the potential of predictive maintenance is great. But which path do machine operators have to take in order to enjoy the benefits?
The basic prerequisite for the introduction of modern maintenance strategies is sensor technology and connectivity. If machines and systems are equipped with sensors, certain operating parameters such as temperature, pressure or number of revolutions can be measured. In newer machines, the required sensors are usually already available or can be retrofitted. What is also relevant is the networking of systems and machines to enable transmission to a higher-level maintenance system.