Predictive maintenance with Industry 4.0 technologies
Jan-Hendrik Bruns of Shell looks at how implementing Industry 4.0 technologies can be an enabler for predictive maintenance.
The British manufacturing industry is facing uncertainty. This has led to companies investigating ways of increasing profitability, productivity and efficiency. Coupled with this, evolving technology and changing consumer demands are putting manufacturers under pressure to increase output capacity and minimise downtime, while maintaining product quality.
The rise of industry 4.0 technologies can help solve the problem of increased equipment downtime and sub-par productivity. Companies can benefit from total cost of ownership (TCO) savings that the rise of the smart, connected factory can bring, which allows for manufacturers to take pre-emptive maintenance action.
Shell Lubricants has found that in the UK, only half (53%) of manufacturers have taken full advantage of new technologies available, potentially due to the lack of understanding and awareness. Let’s examine three key technologies to be aware of.
Sensor-based technologies can self-test, validate, adapt, identify and understand the environment they are in, while managing a wide range of conditions. 68% of UK manufacturers are opting for real-time, on-site lubrication health monitoring by using these technologies, instead of waiting for the analysis to take place in laboratories.
Using these technologies means that lubricants are now replaced or replenished based on their ‘true condition’ as sensors provide real-time readings, including friction, wear and tear and lubricant condition, so manufacturers are now able to plan for predictive maintenance. Upon detecting contamination or early stage lubricant degradation, sensors can alert maintenance staff of the need to intervene before the problem worsens, thereby helping to avoid costly unplanned breakdowns.
Big Data-Based Technologies: With the adoption of sensor technologies comes an increase in data that covers all stages in the life of a product or an asset. If used effectively, ‘big data’ can allow manufacturers to amass TCO savings. Shell Lubricants has found that in the UK, one in three (31%) manufacturers lack understanding around how to introduce big data-based technologies.
Big data is another way technology can facilitate a proactive approach to preventative maintenance. Real-time telemetry that details various aspects of the production process allows for manufacturing companies to predict when machines will fail with extreme accuracy.
Shell LubeAnalyst, for example, processes and compiles huge quantities of data which can then be used to generate accurate reports that help monitor stationary or mobile equipment’s oil over time.
Cloud-based technologies: The introduction of cloud-based technology into manufacturing means that companies can store large amounts of data in the cloud. As such, anyone on the supply chain is privy to information, in real time, spurring manufacturers to become more agile and efficient, and encouraging them to quickly adapt to changing demands.
By storing information in the cloud, manufacturing companies need not worry about the loss of vital information should they face a disaster, such as an industrial fire. As such, a shorter period of time would be needed to get the factory up and running again.
Used correctly, cloud-based technology has enormous potential to help enhance manufacturing production and performance. Weaving in big data, companies can glean actionable insights through predictive analytics, such as ensuring lubrication quality and improvements or preventive maintenance, giving them an edge over competitors.
To help customers navigate upcoming challenges and capitalise on new opportunities, Shell Lubricants is constantly working to create solutions that embrace new technologies to help raise equipment efficiency and uptime, and help to reduce energy consumption and operating expenses.
An example of this solution is Shell LubeChat, an AI-powered chatbot tool for B2B lubricants customers in the UK. Shell LubeChat is designed to provide users with easy, real-time access to product support, technical services and lubricants data, help improve efficiency and solve commonplace challenges like quickly finding information about effective equipment lubrication.
Shell LubeChat can be used across a wide range of businesses and sectors, including general manufacturing, construction, agriculture, power and fleet. Designed to help optimize efficiency for our customers and distributors, Shell LubeChat, alongside the entire suite of Shell Lubricants services, can help solve day-to-day challenges like quickly finding information about effective equipment lubrication.
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