Predictive maintenance in industrial processes is an indispensable support and competitive advantage for Industry 4.0.
The evolution of production processes and IIoT equipment
The evolution of production processes has given rise to a new type of maintenance, predictive maintenance. But how did this shift from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance manifest itself? The starting point is the increasingly important use of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) equipment in Industrial Automation 4.0. processes, which, by means of their connection to machinery and instrumentation in the supply chain, allow for the real-time processing of a large amount of data, the use of which makes it possible to optimize production processes.
The transition from preventive to predictive maintenance
Until the advent of Industry 4.0., the methodology followed in the area of maintenance was the preventive one, that is, the periodic inspection at set intervals of machinery and processes in order to avoid possible failures and malfunctions of the same. This approach has many critical issues both in terms of the resources used and on the side of actual results achieved. Therefore, to make up for the critical issues in this scenario, predictive maintenance has been used, which is progressively and inexorably complementing preventive maintenance.
Predictive maintenance: a real support for Industry 4.0
The main critical issue in industrial preventive maintenance is very often that of the absence of a history of interventions carried out, malfunctions and resolution actions, a condition that forces companies to have to design from scratch the service management itself and to re-train their personnel on the measures to be taken. With predictive maintenance, on the other hand, we have a set of devices equipped with appropriate sensors that can retrieve and send data to a central repository, resulting in a database with all the useful information that can be consulted to rationalize maintenance processes and, consequently, resources by performing maintenance only when it is actually needed.
Decreasing failure and optimizing resources with predictive maintenance
Through the use of predictive maintenance, failures therefore decrease significantly because, unlike preventive maintenance, action is not taken indiscriminately on the entire machine but specifically only on individual components that need action. The aim behind this new maintenance mode is therefore to optimize time and resources, employing them only where they are actually needed bringing with it, as a result, an important increase in productivity.
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