The Internet of Things is transforming the way that maintenance schedules are set. While traditional scheduled maintenance cycles have been common in the past across industries including manufacturing, automotives, and many others, we now have the sensor-driven data to tell us when repairs or maintenance must take place, based on the actual conditions of the equipment or location being monitored. IoT introduces the capacity for predictive maintenance, which lowers operating costs and increases efficiency. This lowers maintenance cycle times significantly and also reduces the amount of downtime.
Facilitating Preventive Maintenance
It’s more expensive to replace a failed piece of machinery than to spend ten minutes a month maintaining it or checking on parameters. For instance, heat failure is common and devastating. A heat sensor measures the temperature and its patterns over time, and the network can be configured to communicate an alert when a machine’s sensor reports that aggregate heat is rising over time. This lets you replace faulty heat sinks or fans before they become a costly problem. Even traditional time-based maintenance cycles often fail to account for decreasing performance over time, meaning that there’s no way to catch an impending failure until it’s already happened.
Changing the oil in your car every three months ensures that it gets done regularly, but it doesn’t ensure that it gets done when it’s needed. Applying time-based maintenance cycles to a production environment causes costly waste of resources and time, as you’re constantly discarding filters and fluids that may have dozens more uses left in them. Sensors can send data that lets you know when you’re getting low on oil, or when your filters are working below a certain efficiency threshold. This triggers a maintenance order, ensuring less waste without sacrificing timely maintenance.
Additionally, this same data can be used to suggest changes to existing maintenance procedures and schedules that aren’t as efficient as they could be. This can be specific to a certain asset, as maintenance needs tend to change over time as an asset grows older and has endured more use.
Above all, predictive maintenance is efficient. Companies that use IoT-facilitated predictive maintenance report a 44 percent decrease in unplanned downtime and a 17 percent decrease in overall yearly maintenance costs.
Collect Valuable Data
Using the IoT to facilitate your maintenance cycle means that you’re already collecting data from many remote sources, so why not use it to your advantage? Systems such as PLC and SCADA have been used to collect data for a long time, and the introduction of the IoT allows this process to happen even more seamlessly.
With IoT, the cloud constantly aggregates and analyzes data, including operating data, conditions surrounding equipment failure, wear patterns and more. Your maintenance team uses this data to determine what’s working and what needs a closer look or more attention during maintenance visits. If a heat sensor doesn’t alert you to heat failures quickly enough, then your team can adjust the sensor to have a lower threshold, alerting you to potential heat failure sooner so that you can take action.
This all happens seamlessly, with wireless sensor transmission allowing adjustments to be made in real-time without requiring equipment to be shut down for maintenance. Its wireless capability eliminates the need for costly, inconvenient ethernet networks. At the same time that all of this is happening, your devices are constantly communicating with your CMMS program, aggregating valuable data in one place for your technicians’ easy access.
Improve Maintenance Services to Clientele
In addition to maintaining your own factory machinery, the IoT gives you the opportunity to offer higher-quality maintenance services to your clients if you’re a service provider. As a service provider, IoT-supported predictive maintenance ensures that you’re only sending maintenance personnel into the field when your clients actively have a maintenance order that needs fulfilling.
Your clients can still rest assured that their equipment is being maintained by real human beings, but instead of spending an hour traveling to the field to read gauges, your maintenance team monitors everything remotely. Maintenance orders are generated automatically when needed, meaning that your services aren’t conditional on your clients remembering to schedule visits or request maintenance.
The Internet of Things is revolutionizing maintenance cycles every day. It aggregates all of your machinery’s operational data in one place and helps your technicians to make easy decisions based on that data. It helps you to predict and prevent failure, saving your company massive amounts of resources and operational costs. The future of maintenance cycles is here, and it’s more convenient and efficient than ever.