Smart maintenance – Intelligent maintenance and servicing of machines and production facilities

Analyzing data at ERNI Spain offices

With Anastasia Rachman (ERNI Switzerland)

Smart and predictive maintenance refers to all technical and organizational measures that use digital tools, to rapidly increase the maintenance and service efficiency. Thereby on the one hand creating new business opportunities and on the other hand reducing costs. A central component of smart maintenance is the collection, processing and analysis of data from machines, plants and even whole production facilities. The goal is to detect errors and defects in advance, before they occur. This makes maintenance more effective and prevents breakdowns. It saves costs and resources. In this interview Anastasia Rachmann from ERNI Switzerland talks about why a company should invest into smart maintenance and what its advantages are.

Why should a company invest in smart maintenance?

With smart maintenance, production facilities can be monitored and all data analysed. As a result, malfunctions or even failures can be avoided. The digital transformation towards innovative smart maintenance is a crucial building block to grant flawless production without defects in the future.

High-performance maintenance of production plants and all components ensures one an important goal of every manufacturing company: remaining competitive and keeping up with the latest technologies. Especially in a Smart Factory, timely maintenance measures and of course coordination with all parties involved play an important role.

What are the main advantages of smart maintenance?

Smart maintenance offers a whole range of benefits. Most importantly, it reduces costs because less time and fewer resources are needed to repair or replace equipment. E.g. one difference between preventive and smart maintenance is that a wearing part is only replaced when it is essentially necessary. The most important advantages at a glance:

  • Increased productivity: Technicians work more efficiently because the data and information they receive is more accurate. This allows them to react more quickly to errors or even avoid them. This in turn results in everyone else working more efficiently because there are fewer errors in the system or even failures.
  • Reduced costs: Downtime is expensive. Smart maintenance systems reduce or eliminate them. This saves money on repairs, spare parts and working time.
  • Extended service life: Thanks to smart maintenance, work equipment has a significantly longer lifecycle and does not need to be replaced until much later.
  • Stay compliant: smart maintenance ensures that your company always remains compliant with the latest standards for equipment maintenance, especially ISO 55000.

Can you think of some success stories for smart maintenance?

A major success is the use of smart maintenance on the Yamanote Line in Tokyo. Every week, the trains transport 34 million passengers from early in the morning until late at night. Due to the short intervals and the lack of breaks, classic maintenance and servicing is almost impossible without interrupting ongoing train operations.

On the other hand, the introduction of smart maintenance technologies – for example, sensors on the train carriages – made it possible to collect and analyse a large amount of data from trains and tracks, enabling the detection of minor irregularities and the prediction and prevention of possible faults.

In this case, smart maintenance now enables far more effective maintenance and servicing of trains and lines than the classic variant. Especially in the transport sector, where infrastructures are often outdated, smart maintenance is likely to be a major area of application in the future.

What are the future tasks of smart maintenance?

The future of industry lies in the smart factory, and smart maintenance is a central building block for this.

So far, smart maintenance is not yet widespread in companies in the German-speaking countries. But the first applications of smart maintenance show the enormous potential. The sooner companies start using modern technologies, the greater their competitive advantage over the competition will be.

Even if the digital transformation of maintenance and repair to smart maintenance takes years, the first successes can be achieved quickly. Manageable pilot projects are ideal for the beginning. In this way, companies create positive reference values and the support of management and employees for this transformation is strengthened. Companies can build on this and tackle further smart maintenance innovation processes.

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