Preventive maintenance, condition monitoring & I 4.0
For Industries across the globe, preventive Maintenance is the widely adopted strategy for conducting plant and machinary maintenance. It essentially means timely scheduling of maintenance at regular intervals – while the equipment is still in working condition – to prevent the development of any major fault. Today, all equipment – trucks, appliances, machines etc., are mostly serviced by adopting Preventive Maintenance standards.
For the Industry 4.0 practices, this alone is not sufficient, since the underlying reason to incorporate technology into existing processes, among many others, is to improve efficiency and reliability of operations, to reduce costs, and to grow your business. Preventive Maintenance will not offer these functions due to few reasons:
Preventive Maintenance will not be cost effective
As it is plan based, requires factory maintenance to be scheduled at regular intervals, and particularly will inflate the cost incurred, if equipment maintenance is done prematurely.
Requires large resource investment
With regular preventive maintenance, factories need to invest in more spare parts and consumables. This will again inflate cost of operations, if maintenance is not properly planned.
Unplanned failures cannot be avoided
Although Preventive Maintenance can substancially avoid unanticipated breakdowns due to regular maintenance, in the event of unexpected downtimes, it becomes a big drain on time as well as manpower resources.
Maintenance is very labor intensive
Preventive Maintenance is often conducted on industry equipment that is in fully working mode, causing unnecessary downtime in attending to the equipment, and investing unneeded labor. Besides, due to being labor intensive, factory maintenance staff needs to be trained and assessed on a regular basis as well, which is costly and inconvenient considering that factories strive for maximum resource optimisation and productivity.
Manufacturing plants across the globe are increasingly implementing Industry 4.0 methodologies to make their operations smart. Wireless condition monitoring is emerging as a disruptive solution to proactive, easy to deploy, cost-efficient, and timely maintenance.
Wireless Condition Monitoring & Industry 4.0
This is a component of predictive maintenance. As suggestive of the name, predictive maintenance, unlike Preventive Maintenance, is dependent on the condition of an equipment, than a maintenance schedule that is set at regular intervals.
The rise of Industry 4.0 technology in Germany provides the opportunity for dramatically increasing the reliability and efficiency in production operations. Condition Monitoring solutions, from the likes of Ripples IoT will ease the transition to industry 4.0.
ZF gears is a manufacturer of high precision gear boxes for the wind energy industry. The factory shop floor has a series of critical equipment in production which needs to work on a 24 x 7 basis. Frequent failures of legacy machines were leading to disruption in the product line. To solve this, a our wireless condition monitoring solution, comprised of sensor systems, gateway, data visualisation tools were retrofitted, that would monitor vibrations from the equipment.
On devising a condition monitoring maintenance plan, the operations team were able to identify gradually developing faults such as irregularities in noise and vibration levels. This early identification enabled schedule a maintenance, and they were able to plan downtimes needed for maintenance, thus increasing machine availability and reducing overall operating costs.
As seen above, wireless condition Monitoring is a crucial component of implementing Industry 4.0 practices and following are few of the benefits:
- Reduction in unplanned downtimes
- Lowering labor costs
- Improve equipment availability and manufacturing process reliability
- Improved workplace and worker safety
- Cost savings over traditional preventive maintenance
There are many other advantages besides these when considering Industry 4.0 practices, the major one being that it paves the way for easier adoption of smart factory practices.
A good majority of manufacturing industries are still caught up between the traditional assembly line and small-scale implementation of automated processes. Their transition to Industry 4.0 practices becomes a great challenge. But to catch up with the highly competitive markets, industries need to look for smart solutions that can make their transition to 4.0 quick, without affecting their performance. RipplesIOT condition Monitoring is one such solution that can ease this transition and pave the way for the adoption of Industry 4.0