Taking the leap from reactive to proactive – why should you switch to smart maintenance sooner than later?

Researchers say that business benefits can be achieved by transforming a traditional linear and solid supply chain into a digital supply network that is a dynamic and interconnected system. How can smart maintenance help a factory shift from a reactive maintenance model to a predictive one? What benefits do smart maintenance and smart manufacturing have on a factory’s productivity and efficiency? What kind of increase can be seen in numbers by implementing smart factory initiatives?

Taking the leap from reactive to predictive

The traditional way to operate a factory is quite reactive, meaning that necessary maintenance tasks are conducted when something malfunctions, breaks or needs updating to parts due to a drop in production quality. This is also called corrective maintenance. Some factories rely on a yearly maintenance plans that assigns certain maintenance tasks to be done at certain times, despite the actual condition of the machine being maintained. This is known as preventive maintenance. Each way has served its purpose well in past times.

A reactive model still works well when it comes to parts that are quick and inexpensive to change, and in disconnected processes or subprocesses, but maintaining larger and more critical machinery can be done in a more efficient way that also protects production from unexpected pauses and surprises. This can be done with smart factory tools that monitor the machine, letting you know when the time for necessary maintenance is getting closer. Nearly a third of companies are hesitant in launching smart factory initiatives, which is why we want to let you in on the secret how smart maintenance can help harness your factory’s full potential with predictive measures – making your operations more efficient and increasing productivity. Too good to be true? Let’s find out!

Business value creation through smart factory initiatives

To understand the power of smart maintenance, we must first look at what benefits taking the digital leap to smart manufacturing can bring you. A smart factory is a flexible system that can self-optimize performance across the whole production chain from the factory to suppliers and partners in real-time. It helps you run your factory’s whole production process automatically, supporting smart decision making and giving better insight on productivity numbers.

Smart factory initiatives typically accelerate noticeable business value creation: companies report on average 10-12 % gains in areas such as manufacturing output, factory utilization, and labor productivity after investing in smart factory initiatives. However, impressive numbers do not require everything in the factory to be digitalized in one go. Instead, the shift to a smart factory can be done step by step, starting with for example maintenance needs in existing processes and workstreams, and moving to other areas of development one by one after that. Smart factory initiatives have been shown to be especially beneficial in the areas of quality sensing and detecting, factory asset intelligence, plant consumption and energy management, command center, factory synchronization, and real-time asset tracking, and smart logistics.

To show that we are not just talking the talk, take a look at these numbers provided by a 2019 study conducted by Deloitte and MAPI: since 2015, many companies taking part in the study and implementing smart factory initiatives have seen an increase in their key performance indicators. These indicators show that production output has increased on average by 10 %, factory capacity utilization by 11 % and labor productivity by 12 %. More than 85 % of manufacturers believe that smart factory initiatives will be the main drivers of manufacturing competitiveness in 5 years. Why not join the digitalization revolution and start with making maintenance processes smarter in your factory?

Remote conditioning makes planning maintenance tasks effortless

In the beginning of this text, we mentioned a few different levels of how maintenance can be conducted in a factory: reactive and yearly maintenance scheduling. Different from these, a smart factory’s maintenance is built around a predictive model where machinery is measured and assessed 24/7. This is also called condition-based maintenance or performance monitoring. Smart maintenance connects critical devices wirelessly to continuous surveillance, reacts to unusual events of machines and production environment and predicts the need for maintenance. This way maintenance needs can be calculated in real time before the situation escalates. Quick reactions based on alarms or automated actions from the control system minimize risks for production blocks and larger machine breaks.

Planning maintenance tasks is effortless and quick as the smart maintenance system automatically regulates plans according to real-time and collected data. The data guides and optimizes maintenance and production resources, allowing maintenance to be timed in a way that production blocks can be minimized. By utilizing data, maintenance is changed from reactive to proactive which improves the usability of machines and lengthens their lifetime. In the long run, this way of operating can drastically reduce maintenance costs. This includes costs caused by faults in production, helping optimize economic resources management.

Fliq’s Pluq and play implementation system supports products from several different sensor manufacturers. A great example of how a factory can utilize Fliq’s smart maintenance products is a sawmill where a total of 200 wireless sensors were implemented in different machinery to monitor vibration and heat levels remotely. With the help of these sensors and Fliq’s Smart Maintenance tool in place enabling remote monitoring possibilities, the factory now has a predictive condition-based maintenance plan in place. This guarantees high levels of reliability, safety and efficiency, and extending life cycle of plant.

Taking the step towards the future of maintenance

The next step from a predictive maintenance model is to implement AI and machine learning to maintenance streams with the aim to learn how a specific machine’s maintenance needs are formed well in advance before action is needed. Bringing with it the ability to plan maintenance tasks before critical issues even arise, an investment in smart maintenance tools can pay itself back quickly by preventing larger problems or pauses in production. Insurance companies are also showing a greater interest to co-investing in smart factory tools with factories or offering them more beneficial options on insurance deals, as the risk of larger crisis situations lowers with modern digital monitoring.

Fliq Smart Maintenance monitors and measures performance, reacts proactively, and automatically regulates maintenance plans according to data. Smart Maintenance works seamlessly with all other products on our platform, such as our production planning and resourcing module Fliq Work Flow. This makes leading with data very concrete and easy. Our ready-made smart maintenance tools are easy to implement in any factory without long or expensive separate software projects. Start with one workstream and move on to the next when you see the benefits smart factory tools bring to your operations!

Want to know more about Fliq’s Smart Maintenance options? Click here!

2019 Deloitte and MAPI Smart Factory Study – Capturing value through the digital journey