Predictive Maintenance: How To Implement It?

What is predictive maintenance?

Predictive maintenance is an industrial maintenance technique that consists in using different tools and techniques to monitor the state of a plant's machines. This process involves anticipating problems that can threaten the proper functioning of an entire production line and identifying symptoms of wear and tear and other failures.

The objective is, of course, to improve profitability and, ultimately, to avoid unnecessary replacement of spare parts at regular intervals. These lead to unnecessary preventive maintenance costs. In a nutshell, predictive maintenance will make it possible to accurately check whether the machines or the parts that compose them show alarming signs of wear and even failure.

Why predictive maintenance is essential

In recent years, this form of industrial maintenance has become central in factories, since the teams very quickly understood that it could reduce breakdowns, avoid unforeseen events and anticipate the slightest production stop. It is indeed crucial to deliver the expected result to satisfy the customer's request and provide him with a quality service, within the deadlines.

One of the recurring problems often is surplus stock. Indeed, if industrial maintenance teams are not aware of the reliability of their machines, they have no choice but to keep very large stocks to ensure overproduction and thus cushion the slightest breakdown. As a result, a lot of industrial waste is generated, which is a real obstacle for any company.

More concretely, this form of industrial maintenance will make it possible to improve reliability and monitor machine performance as accurately as possible. Imminent problems are detected and resolved so that the teams in charge can carry out repairs and replacements before breakdowns occur or lead to more serious or costly problems.

Predictive maintenance tools

Some tools will help you streamline your industrial maintenance: you can then decide to have your teams set them up internally, or to commission a specialized third party. They will allow you to regularly monitor the health of your equipment, which will also operate at normal capacity, meaning that they will not interfere with your production schedules.

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Discover below the most commonly used predictive maintenance tools.

Thermal replica

This technical technique works by infrared: it will give you the opportunity to take an image of the piece of equipment to identify the hottest spots. Both worn components and faulty electrical circuits will emit heat, therefore displaying it on the screen. This allows you to locate any malfunctions before serious damage or breakdowns occur.

Vibration analysis

You can also use a portable vibration analyzer or use the monitors that are integrated into the machine, which will make vibration control possible. It often happens that some components, such as shafts or bearings, wear out quickly and fail. They will then generate vibration patterns, which can be examined by specialists to quickly identify the causes and prevent their consequences.

This technique also allows vibration analysis readings to be compared with previously known failure modes to locate failures.

Ultrasounds detection

Similar to vibration analysis, ultrasound detection reveals dysfunctions that might otherwise go unnoticed. The equipment will emit sounds that are not perceptible to the human ear and can be analyzed as soon as they appear, thus avoiding many problems on the equipment.

More concretely, it is recommended to carry out such an ultrasound analysis since it will highlight cracks or poor welds before they cause failures.

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Oil analysis

As you probably know, it is crucial for any industrial maintenance team to regularly check the condition of the oil and the presence of other particles or liquids. Such an analysis makes it possible to detect leaks from other fluids (such as coolant for example), even if they remain minor. It is also recommended to measure and detect particles of metal components that may be present in the oil in order to identify parts of the equipment that are wearing out.

Emission test

We also advise you, as part of this approach, to set up waste gas emission tests. These will not only help you to ensure that you comply with environmental standards and demonstrate your environmentally friendly approach, but they will also help you to analyze the composition of these gases, telling you a lot about the condition of the machines and helping you identify potential problems.

Alternatives to predictive maintenance

It is commonly accepted that predictive maintenance can be very costly. The processes to be implemented are quite expensive, but these costs are very quickly amortized by the results obtained. You can save a lot of money since you will be able to anticipate breakdowns and act upstream.

However, if your company does not have many machines, you can stick to conventional preventive maintenance routines. You will, therefore, have to carry out industrial maintenance operations at predefined intervals, and this may be enough for you: it will certainly be more economical.

On the other hand, you should keep in mind that predictive routines can save you time, labor, money, etc., and help you identify problems that you would otherwise never have been able to solve with simple routine inspections. So it's up to you to think about your needs!

A CMMS guarantees the success of your predictive maintenance strategy

Next-gen CMMS revolutionize industrial maintenance

In order to be able to implement predictive maintenance routines and, more generally, ensure the maintenance of their equipment, plants must under no circumstances skip CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software). These tools are essential to ensure smooth and fluid communication between departments, teams, technicians, and managers, they allow a permanent exchange between operators and annihilate any loss of information.

Mobility Work CMMS is at odds with conventional software, which are too expensive and time-consuming to implement and penalize more than they help field teams. Mobility Work is a next-gen application, available in SaaS model and on mobile, tablet or PC. It is a community tool, which works as a real social maintenance network. With its 10,000 users, the tool facilitates the daily work of teams: ability to communicate directly with colleagues, to register all maintenance operations, to consult a calendar, to be assigned to tasks, to be kept informed thanks to a notification system...

Ultimately, users access a newsfeed, register their equipment and share the information they want with colleagues within their company, their industrial group or from the entire Mobility Work community.

Mobility Work streamlines predictive maintenance routines

If Mobility Work CMMS is particularly suitable if you want to switch to predictive maintenance, it is thanks to the analytical tool accessible to all users that’s available in the app. This feature allows you, thanks to all the activities and tasks performed and registered on the platform, to find all the data compiled in the same place.

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This data then appears in the form of graphs and tables, which makes it possible to have an exhaustive overview of the activities carried out and recurring problems, to see which machines are problematic, which have required the most hours of maintenance...

This essential tool will also allow managers and team leaders to present all important data to their teams at morning meetings, in order to review past actions. Thanks to the analytics tool, plants can make the best decisions to implement effective predictive maintenance routines.

Predictive maintenance and TPM

Switching to predictive routines will finally help you optimize all your company's processes to increase your production volumes as well as your reliability.

It is thanks to these improvements in your maintenance processes that you will be able to implement TPM, or total productive maintenance. This Japanese method refers to the evolution of maintenance techniques in order to increase the equipment’s efficiency. Its implementation includes the elimination of unplanned shutdowns, lost start-up time and waste. The objective is to avoid any loss of productivity due to equipment failure.

To get the full benefits of TPM, it must be combined with autonomous maintenance, which will allow several operators to share the workload and thus gain autonomy. In the context of autonomous maintenance, everyone must be able to carry out first-level maintenance operations, which means that everybody is involved in preventing problems and that operators are more familiar with the machines and their operation.

What is autonomous maintenance?

 

It is finally thanks to an improvement of all processes that the production chain can be fully optimized and that any type of waste will be eliminated. Each level of the company is affected by these deep changes, which will therefore be impossible without the implementation of a next-gen CMMS as well as optimized maintenance processes.

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