With the economy going through a bit of a rough patch and revenue growth slowing down in different industries, companies are facing pressure to do something about their cost structure. For the maintenance department this means three things: cutting maintenance overhead costs, increasing uptime and lowering the occurrence of unplanned mechanical failures. Doing all three at the same time is quite a challenge. Especially, if you take into account that over the past decade only a few companies managed to significantly improve the performance of their maintenance department.
The last big revolution in the maintenance world was the invention of preventive maintenance. In short, this approach dictates you to replace a machine’s components at fixed intervals, whether they are already worn out or not. Preventive maintenance has been quite successful in avoiding unexpected mechanical failures, but it has one serious drawback. Since you are scheduling your maintenance activities at fixed intervals, you will almost certainly replace certain components too late or too early. After all, you are scheduling your maintenance activities based on past experience and not on the current state of your machines.
Why has this approach survived for so long then? Until a few years ago, it was simply impossible to get a good insight in the health of your machines at a reasonable cost. But the fourth industrial revolution has changed this. New technologies like IOT, cheaper and more powerful sensors, big data approaches and artificial intelligence have made it possible to get full insight into your asset’s health, predict when a certain component is about to fail and discover the root cause of recurring mechanical failures. This has led to the emergence of predictive or condition-based maintenance, a maintenance approach that schedules maintenance activities only when they are absolutely necessary and significantly lowers unexpected downtime.
Our own Infralytics platform is designed to make predictive maintenance as easy as possible. It graphically shows you the current state of your asset, it alarms you when a certain component is about to break down and the collection and aggregation of all kinds of sensor and operational data makes it possible to go beyond the symptom level of a mechanical failure and detect the underlying reason for the breakdown. Relying on Infralytics will not only lower your maintenance costs significantly, it will also have a serious impact on your plant’s efficiency by increasing uptime and lowering the occurrence of unexpected mechanical breakdowns.