Predictive maintenance showcase a new pavilion at Hannover Messe

The integration of predictive maintenance (PdM) and the data generated through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is expected to pinpoint impending outages before they occur, speed up overhaul processes and avoid production outages.


In today's evolving manufacturing environment, machines and components are digitally integrated and able to "talk" to one another. This enables factory operators to continuously capture data on machine states, combine it with information from other systems (such as ERP or CRM software), analyze it and predict the optimal point in time at which to initiate maintenance.

The integration of predictive maintenance (PdM) and the data generated through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is expected to pinpoint impending outages before they occur, speed up overhaul processes and avoid production outages.

A recent study by the World Economic Forum and the consulting firm Accenture lends substance to the high hopes currently riding on PdM. According to the study, PdM can reduce the cost of planned repairs by 12%, cut maintenance costs by almost 30% and reduce unscheduled downtime by 70%.

"Predictive maintenance is currently the most talked-about and closely watched maintenance, repair and overhaul strategy out there," said Peter-Michael Synek, the Deputy General Manager of Germany's VDMA Fluid Power Association.

It's one reason that the "Predictive Maintenance 4.0 Showcase" will debut at Hannover Messe in Germany on April 25-29. "Predictive maintenance is now so important that we have decided to feature it as a new dedicated showcase," said Marc Siemering, Deutsche Messe's senior vice president in charge of Hannover Messe. "The showcase will include a group pavilion and will be located in the northern section of Hall 17, just across from the North 1 entrance. It will present real-life examples of predictive maintenance applications."

The displays and live demonstrations at the Predictive Maintenance Showcase will be supported by guided tours that will take participants to the display stands of selected providers at various locations throughout Hannover Messe. Tour participants will witness continuous machine data capture, processing and analysis in action and learn how it can give factory operators real, useable information on the condition of their systems, machines and machine components.

Synek sees predictive maintenance as "the next evolutionary stage from conventional maintenance strategies" and a development that delivers major benefits to plant operators. "The ability to reduce or even eliminate unforeseen downtime and associated production bottlenecks flows through into greater productivity. Maintenance and servicing costs go down, and production quality and planning reliability go up," he said.

Synek's views are backed by a study by market research firm IDC which identifies the three primary benefits of predictive maintenance as improved production planning, longer machine up-times and a reduction in unscheduled plant shutdowns. Conducted in 2014, the study revealed that 25% of the manufacturing companies surveyed at that time were already using some form of predictive maintenance based on real-time data, whether in pilot projects or at full scale.

A further 25% indicated PdM implementation plans for 2015. The IDC market researchers also note that manufacturers of industrial plant, machinery and equipment are gearing up for a massive expansion of their predictive maintenance offering. The researchers therefore anticipate a "dynamic market for predictive maintenance solutions based on real-time data."

Not that this anticipated multi-billion-dollar market is the exclusive domain of automation hardware providers. Major international IT providers, such as SAS, SAP, IBM and Bosch Software Innovation, are currently also investing extensively in their capacity to service the growing demand for PdM solutions.

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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

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