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A World Without Downtime

While 70 percent of manufacturers lack full awareness of when their equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or repair, does it have to be this way? Is abolishing unplanned downtime in Industry 4.0 a far-fetched dream, or is data-driven maintenance closer than we think?

Posted: July 30, 2019

Gone are the days of waiting for a motor to fail or a heat transfer system to leak before taking action. Preventative maintenance is taking manufacturing by storm as Industry 4.0 increases capabilities to a stage where maintenance can be data-driven. Proactively monitoring equipment and scheduling maintenance in advance with regular inspections, upgrades and troubleshooting on equipment drastically reduces the risk of machine breakdown.

Preventative maintenance has always been the backbone of lean manufacturing, the keystone that separates world-class manufacturers from all the rest. The removal of unplanned downtime from all process stages of manufacturing becomes ever more pronounced as we enter the new age of smart factories, Industry 4.0 and the long, promising journey toward data-driven, self-diagnosing systems that order their own replacement parts, automatically plan their own maintenance and repair themselves. Could zero downtime ever be possible?

Destination: Utopia
As Industry 4.0 connects more sensors, combines digital twins with machine learning software and expands the use of data-driven automation, the continual reduction of downtime will slowly move manufacturers toward the promise of paradise.

As computing power gains traction in Industry 4.0 – particularly the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) combined with the expanded use of sensors everywhere – smart machines can facilitate predictive maintenance by noticing part wear, recommending a replacement time and ordering a new part for delivery. Insights from data analytics are already being generated faster than ever before so that manufacturers can identify problems on the shop floor and avoid breakdowns. Look for smart factories to progressively adapt to a future where AI gives machines the ability to learn from data and fix problems on their own. Industry 4.0 is already moving maintenance beyond the equipment itself and into interaction with customers in the field who demand faster turnaround for service issues and have a lower tolerance for equipment downtime. “Customer experience is a very important factor to being competitive today,” said Natasha Hardin, the marketing manager at Hennig Inc. (Machesney Park, IL). “Service teams need to be ready to react quickly, but manufacturers must also design their equipment so that customers can troubleshoot their own problems whenever possible. Either way, the goal is the same: keep maintenance downtime to a minimum.”

Here are some of the latest software and hardware tools, systems and technologies to help manufacturers and their customers remove downtime from different process stages and work towards a world without downtime:

Beyond Downtime Avoidance
With the Zero Down Time (ZDT) system from FANUC, users can access robot details from anywhere in the world to maximize production throughput, optimize maintenance costs, take corrective actions and increase the life of their robots.

AI-Driven Remote Machine Monitoring
Using the Service predictive analytics application from MachineMetrics, OEMs and equipment distributors can transform their approach to service with the ability to see, understand and take action on their customer’s real-time machine data from anywhere at any time.

Spindle Diagnostics: Predictive Maintenance at Your Service
Installed directly into the spindle, the miniaturized B-Safe system from Diamond Industrial Tools uses vibration and temperature analysis for real-time monitoring of anomalies, predicting malfunctions and reducing machine downtime.

Live, Actionable Productivity Data Anywhere, Any Time
FactoryWiz Monitoring v19 software from Refresh Your Memory provides users with complete real-time information on any web-enabled device, anywhere in the world.

Predictive Monitoring Moves to The Next Level
VibePro 24/7 online vibration and temperature monitoring technology from GTI improves data collection for rotating equipment and bearing health, allows users to easily change assets from route collection to online data collection, clones machines, points and plant areas, and generates long-time waveform for ultrasound display.

The Future of Industrial Hydraulics
Achieving energy savings up to 60 percent in medium performance applications up to 30 kW, the compact CytroBox hydraulic power unit from Bosch Rexroth integrates IoT technologies for connectivity, condition monitoring, data analysis and more.

Perpetual Wireless Equipment Health Monitoring
The Vero equipment monitoring system from Nikola Labs promises to simplify maintenance and perpetually power sensors without wires or disposable batteries.

Smart Camera for Process Monitoring of Machine Tools
The robust LCAM 408i smart camera from Leuze has an IP65/67 anodized metal housing and easy-to-clean glass pane that opens new monitoring possibilities in metal fabrication and machining processes.

Plug-and-Play Machine Monitoring
The Genior Modular CMS-02 single-channel, compact machine monitoring system from Marposs provides collision monitoring and crash damage mitigation in machine tools.

Smart Proximity Sensors Improve Predictive Maintenance
E2E NEXT proximity sensors from Omron feature exceptionally long sensing distances and IoT functionality that helps shops reduce potential causes of unplanned downtime.

Cloud-Based Gas Detection for Hot Work Operations
With the entire iNet gas detection infrastructure from Industrial Scientific now operating through Amazon Web Services, fabrication and welding shops can quickly and easily access critical data they need online to monitor operations, prevent downtime, and save lives.

Using a 3D Virtual Environment to Reduce Downtime
Using IoT-based technology to connect robots, controllers and other real hardware to a 3D virtual environment, FASTSUITE simulation from CENIT debugs robot motion faster than ever – before downloading to actual equipment – increasing precision and efficiency to slash downtime on the shop floor

Making High Efficiency Production and Inspection Even Better
System-integrated and inexpensive, the precision measurement I/O technology of the ELM314x EtherCAT Measurement Module from Beckhoff Automation improves the process reliability of highly efficient machines and test benches used in final inspection.

Optical Sensors for Longer Operating Distances
Ideal for Industry 4.0 manufacturing, R20x series photoelectric sensors from Pepperl+Fuchs use DuraBeam Laser and Multi-Pixel technologies for extremely precise detection and distance measurement of small objects.

Machine Monitoring: A Growing Priority
Machine monitoring is not only a method for knowing machine utilization, nor is it only for CNC machinery. Machine issues that need attention can be communicated in an easily understandable manner to make equipment more productive.

Weld Nut Sensors Increase Process Reliability
An economical alternative to more expensive optical or vision-based systems, IP67-rated weld nut sensors from Turck reliably detect the presence or absence of a nut welded to sheet metal to ensure efficient and accurate production in welding applications.

Real-Time Tracking of Parts Reduces Downtime
To optimize logistical flows, reduce downtime and improve productivity, WorkPLAN 2019 R1 from Vero Software allows users to model their workshop and localize parts during the manufacturing process in real-time through activity time recordings or operator location declarations.

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