Why Your Business Equipment Can Benefit From Predictive Maintenance
Benefit From Predictive Maintenance
Some machine breakdowns are tedious, and you arrive a little late to work.
Other breakdowns are Hindenberg disastrous, and companies break down with them.
So, engineers and developers try to create machines that last. They schedule regular maintenance to avoid costly downtime. But maintenance is expensive too, and tradeoffs are made.
That’s where predictive maintenance compredictive maintenance es in. Imagine knowing ahead of time when repairs will be necessary. Imagine also knowing the cost of those repairs.
While unexpected incidents will always occur, most maintenance is routine. And most breakdowns are due to standard wear and tear.
Predictive analytics generates a 10X return on investments. In fact, predictive maintenance is 30-40% cheaper than preventative maintenance. Predictive maintenance has quickly become one of the most popular topics in asset management. Businesses are leveraging predictive maintenance to save big, especially on repetitive costs.
Is this something that could benefit your business? Keep reading to learn more.
Attorney Terry Bryant is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a former judge, which means he knows the legal system, and he knows Texas.
Table of Contents
What Is Predictive Maintenance?
Standard maintenance involves responding to reports of malfunction or breakdown. Engineers then aim to solve the problem to get the system back up and running. While repairs are happening, revenue suffers and clients grow impatient.
Predictive maintenance takes place in most industries to stop a complete shutdown. Instead, regardless of necessity, regular inspections and tune-ups are scheduled.
Predictive maintenance is a step beyond this. Rather than blindly carrying out regular check-ups, companies use analytics to make predictions. These predictions guide the tune-up schedule.
By basing maintenance schedules on predictions, companies waste less time on unnecessary checks. At the same time, predictions accurately inform us when maintenance is necessary. Downtime is prevented while saving on costs.
How Does Predictive Maintenance Work?
Without automated maintenance analytics, we would be stuck at preventative maintenance. Investing in predictive maintenance relies on sensors and data analysis. IoT sensors collect masses of data from your machines.
Rotation speeds, friction, noise, heat, performance, and efficiency become automated measurements. On a diet of ultrasonic detections, vibrations, and other subtle changes, computers can calculate predictions.
Thermic sensors detect friction levels. Liquid sensors measure oil and lubricants. IoT sensors send a stream of data to programs. Software crunches that data to alert you of an imminent breakdown.
Investing in predictive maintenance isn’t a trivial decision to make. Physical sensors are expensive, and you’ll need a lot of them. Each area of the machine requires a different sensor.
Sensors aren’t the only method for prediction. Professors at Imperial College in London may have found an alternative. ‘CogniSense’ can sense ‘without sensors.’
CogniSense shoots radio frequency signals through machines. Assessing how the signals behave on the other side can indicate what’s going on inside the machine. It’s a little bit like a frequent MRI for machinery.
As a bonus, CogniSense produces more data than is reasonably achievable with physical sensors. Research tells us that radio-frequency sensors can assess the machine down to a component level. Radio frequencies can even measure speeds and other variables through walls.
Radiofrequency stands out as a tool because of its ability to measure the device as a whole. You can study the interactions between the elements of the machine. With data like that, we can improve the machines themselves.
Capturing Data From Sensors
Regular maintenance and checkups are essential. But predictive maintenance emphasizes the importance of regularly collecting information about your machines.
Your predictive maintenance equipment can measure infrared thermography. Infrared imaging helps you detect temperature. Knowing the temperature of individual parts of your machinery helps you prevent overheating.
An ultrasonic analysis is a useful tool to translate frequencies into visual signals. Little noises from leaks, malfunctioning electrics, or friction can be recorded. Instead of listening for noises, you can detect them before significant problems develop.
Analyzing vibrations is a warning system for loose components, imbalances, or misalignments. Like a broken washing machine, imbalances cause machines to vibrate or even move.
IoT sensors can also measure oil and lubricant levels inside your machine. Lubricant health is a vital component to smooth machinery.
Electrical current analytics measures current levels. This kind of sensor predicts issues with connectors or belts beforehand. Faulty wiring or inefficient connections become more apparent.
What Can Predictive Maintenance Do for Your Business?
Predictive maintenance has many benefits for your business. You can already guess at obvious cost-saving benefits, but let’s lay out the possibilities.
Predictive maintenance is less expensive than preventative or reactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance is inefficient by comparison. Every repair involves downtime, and it is uncertain for how long.
Not to mention, you can’t predict when the breakdown will occur. It could be right at the start of an order from an important client. Preventative maintenance tries to soften that blow.
Regular checkups prevent unexpected situations from arising, like during a crucial period. But it comes with its own cost. Preventative maintenance means paying for lots of staff-hours to check your machines.
Not to mention, some machines will need to close for inspection temporarily. You’ll save more money than you would with reactive maintenance, but the system is still inefficient.
Preventative maintenance lets you keep your machines running and schedule maintenance ahead. You can foresee repairs and maintenance before they are required.
This lets you order parts cheaply and find better deals. Repetitive costs can be planned too. If a particular machinery part needs regular replacement, you can prepare for it. Perhaps you can even stock up replacement parts in advance.
Predictive maintenance generates clear, auditable trails. Warranty claims are no longer a difficult battle. Instead, you have a clear record of faults in machinery as they happened.
When you reduce downtime, you maximize production hours. While all industries have standard breakdown rates, you can set a defining standard.
Maintenance of machinery means the maintenance of high-quality production results. Successful predictive maintenance programs will:
- Reduce overall maintenance cost
- Reduce breakdown length and frequency
- Increase production hours
- Benefit margins
- Cut time wasted figuring out the problem
The last bullet may be the most significant. It can be argued that predictive maintenance may not be able to stop breakdowns.
Initial implementation can be expensive. But predictive maintenance ensures you will always have a clear idea of what is going on inside your machines.
IoT-based monitoring will help you do more than reduce costs. You can also find the cause of delays and extend the life of your assets. Unplanned downtime and breakdowns are one of the biggest causes of revenue loss.
Founding a predictive maintenance program at your company is one of the best ways to reduce accidents. Equipment failures often cause injuries and fatalities.
Besides the tragedy of the loss of life and limb, personal injury claims can put you out of business. Predictive maintenance is often the safest strategy available to companies.
Integrating predictive maintenance also helps you ensure compliance with safety regulations. Chemical leaks or overheating will show up before damages occur.
Integrate your new programs with human management solutions to trigger new processes. When equipment is faulty, personnel will be warned before any significant damage occurs. This helps you establish threshold levels of danger in different areas.
Not all warnings need to shut down processes. Some can trigger risk mitigation, like protective gear. Keep your workers and your business safe.
Remember that demonstrating compliance is also key to maintaining a well-oiled business machine.
Implementing Predictive Maintenance
While predictive maintenance can save future expenses, don’t go overboard. Focus first on the most critical machines and those most vulnerable.
Within each machine, prioritize elements that are prone to breakdowns or inefficiencies. Focus especially on those that are otherwise hard to see. Pick areas that are great candidates for IoT sensors.
Make sure you include staff members that understand the machine well. Understanding how and when maintenance is typically performed helps you implement IoT sensors. It may even be necessary to enlist the help of an IoT expert.
If you’re looking to found a predictive maintenance program, here are some key points to keep in mind.
As just mentioned, keep it small first. Getting to know how IoT sensors play within your business is vital before big spending. Some experimentation can help you find efficient uses for your investments.
If you’re seeking approval for a new program, having a sample use is a great start. Implement predictive maintenance in a few machines before rolling out company-wide.
Find Key Resources
You’ll need to locate key resources first. Employees may need training and access to certain materials. Extra labor has to be accounted for.
New technologies and facilities will also play an important role in program execution. In this process, you should establish which tasks are ripe for the new program.
Preventative maintenance isn’t suitable for every aspect of your business. Focus on non-expendable, maintenance-intensive processes.
Begin Collecting Data
Predictive maintenance is a data-based maintenance program. You’re collecting data to later analyze and use for improvements and repairs.
Some standard methods of data collection are thermography, lubrication, and electromechanical systems.
Using this new data, it’s time to develop algorithms. You may hire software developers or purchase new software. This is the part that makes the data useful.
Now that you’ve crunched your data and built algorithms, it’s time to test. Deploy your software to the new data. Generate insights, reports, and predictions based on your new data.
Once you generate results, refinements will be necessary. It may be that you need more sensors to collect more data. Your algorithms may need fine-tuning to make a specific prediction.
Create a constant process of improvement. Let results fuel new developments and experimentation.
Laying the Right Foundation
Investing in predictive maintenance is not always straightforward. You’ll need to establish some fundamental building blocks before you can proceed.
Security is essential for data collection. Your data tells a story about everything in your company. Every inefficiency, problem, weakness, and strength appear in your data.
Invest in cybersecurity to keep the data from your IoT sensors private. It is also wise to secure access to your most sensitive machinery.
You may need to buy new equipment maintenance tech before you can proceed. New equipment maintenance also needs new equipment. It can also be more important to upgrade your equipment before finding inefficiencies.
Maintaining and fixing old faulty machinery isn’t an excellent place to spend time and money.
Your data analysis will need new software, but it may also need new hardware. Computers need to crunch and process the data you collected. It will be costly to outsource this.
Data needs good data management. Collect the right data first. After that, data cleansing is also an important process to include. Employees may have to adopt new practices and workflows to take this into account.
Data will need to gather together for processing. Machine learning can help you find trends and anomalies in your data. Data scientists will have to work alongside engineers to develop algorithms and models.
It can be challenging to find the right people, resources, and tools to make the system work. Make sure you establish the right processes before scaling your program. Do it right at a basic level first.
It’s Time for Better Predictions and Better Processes
100% efficiency is impossible. Energy, time, and effort are always lost in work. But too much waste can bleed a company dry.
New hires, new parts, and new problems are an unfortunate reality for many businesses. The right foundation for a new predictive maintenance program takes special attention.
Invest in the right equipment, upgrades, data management tools, and security. Predictive maintenance can help you save big.
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