Dynamic Process and Condition Monitoring via Predictive Maintenance

Even an exemplary system is inevitably going to reach its limits after a certain period of ongoing use. In these moments, the main challenge is to prevent major system failures that would result in considerably more expenses for the company. A strong predictive maintenance program based on analytics from factor-floor machines improves asset utilization by avoiding production interruptions.

This proactive strategy represents the basis of Predictive Maintenance – a feature already available for the majority of our units. Add the new module to your Wipotec scale and boost your efficiency considerably.

In this paper we will show you how your company can benefit from Predictive Maintenance and where to start the implementation process:

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What is Predictive Maintenance? Definition and Structure

Predictive Maintenance refers to analytical methods of maintenance for complex systems or pieces of equipment. By evaluating different sets of data through machine learning, the actual condition of a piece can be determined. By using Predictive Maintenance, you will further supplement this snapshot with historical data, resulting in precise predictions about future performance. A potential failure can thus be detected at an early stage and proactively prevented without interrupting operations. Therefore, unexpected downtimes are a thing of the past.

More specifically, the term Predictive Maintenance describes a form of anticipatory servicing and upkeep that is becoming increasingly popular. In Germany for example, more than half the companies in various industries already trust in Predictive Maintenance solutions, as a representative survey illustrates. At long last, necessary maintenance work can be recognised in time and carried out regardless of internal schedules. With Predictive Maintenance your company can reclaim a significant degree of flexibility and efficiency.

Comparison of the 4 Major Maintenance Concepts

By definition, we distinguish four basic philosophies regarding the maintenance of production lines:

1. Reactive Maintenance

Repairs only take place when the device has already failed; the durability is in a sense maximised. But routine services are missing completely, which in turn is keeping associated costs to the bare minimum. The approach of Reactive Maintenance can work fine, until an emergency inevitably occurs. Unforeseen repairs quickly consume enormous resources and any downtime at the wrong instant can affect every division of a company. In consequence, Reactive Maintenance is only a suitable way on the smallest scale. Otherwise, this maintenance strategy continues being a play for time.

2. Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance, on the other hand, has proven to be much more efficient. Proper functioning of a machine or process should be verified during certain periods, which is why regular idle times have to be taken into account. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, as it just means that equipment, that is actually running perfectly fine, is taken offline for the duration. However, this attention to detail is very worthwhile considering the overall durability of your equipment.

Especially in comparison to the methods of Reactive Maintenance, preventive measures make a lot of sense from an economic point of view in order to minimise unscheduled downtime. However, Preventive Maintenance is based exclusively on theoretical data that does not necessarily reflect reality. For this reason, components that are still working fine are often replaced without double-checking.

3. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive Maintenance, the anticipation and thus prevention of critical failures, builds on the concept of Preventive Maintenance. An algorithm feeds further information into the system, which then can be used to optimise upkeeping accordingly. Troubleshooting mode will only be initiated if necessary. In addition, the responsible technician is able to check the status of every essential machine part at any time – or automate this process to eliminate unnecessary downtime.

For this reason, Predictive Maintenance is seen as a very potent time-saving mechanism that is highly cost-efficient, since risk of an unexpected downtime vanishes. No unnecessary repairs will be carried out, only the true condition of your assets is of importance. Our expert team here at Wipotec is convinced of the opportunities provided by a Predictive Maintenance asset management strategy. Similar to our Active Vibration Compensation technology, we consider Predictive Maintenance to be the standard for our future.

4. Proactive Maintenance

Only Proactive Maintenance engages various processes more deeply than Predictive Maintenance. In this case, the bottom-line is the focus of everything and most of the services are detached from a specific problem or unit. The condition of a single machine loses its importance.

Proactive Maintenance is designed for the long term and comes with quite some cost and effort – but also the promise of pioneering improvements if the techniques are successful. The idea of maintenance is taken further ahead. For example, intensive training of your workforce or a switch of one supplier to another can be seen as a valid form of Proactive Maintenance. A complex form of Artificial Intelligence or AI is the basis for Proactive Maintenance. Machine learning is used in order to notice even the smallest changes and in turn initiate suitable countermeasures.

Do you have any more questions about Predictive Maintenance or the product range of Wipotec? Our team is looking forward hearing from you.

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Solving Problems before they arise – and other Advantages of Predictive Maintenance

To summarize, Predictive Maintenance looks very convincing due to various benefits in combination with a simple implementation, which Wipotec provides.

  • Instead of frequent failures, you operate with short duration upkeep services that are integrated into your process. You will increase the durability of your machines through Predictive Maintenance.
  • Minimise your costs! Only replace those parts that actually require action. All of your components will be constantly in use up to the point of needed replacement, but never beyond that to the point of component failure.
  • Analysis of the data obtained is helping you to optimise the performance of your system by working more efficiently in the future. So, Predictive Maintenance will be responsible for a significant increase in your productivity levels.
  • Add additional information to your internal systems. On top of the actual condition of the machines, different algorithms also examine all connected processes and prepare supplementary data for you.

Afterwards, you can retrieve this process data through our central HMI and receive a record. Take our HC-Warehouse Catchweigher, for example. At a glance, you can check on the status of the weigh cell, the conveyor belt or the motor. Is one of these components in danger of malfunctioning? Is cleaning necessary?

In that case the corresponding icon changes its colour and signals that the limit has been crossed. Ideally, replacements are procured before the system fails and even without disrupting other processes. We see this as the goal of all maintenance. Our team takes care of the installation and set-up on site. Predictive Maintenance is part of the service we offer our customers at Wipotec.

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