Predictive maintenance in industry 4.0: applications and advantages

Machines play a huge role in our lives, including the machines we use every day, but without maintenance, every machine will eventually break down. Companies follow various maintenance programs to increase operational reliability and reduce costs.

Maintenance strategy and methods

Maintenance is the set of operations necessary to preserve the functionality and efficiency of an asset and can take place in response to a failure or as a previously planned action.

According to research conducted by Deloitte, a non-optimized maintenance strategy can reduce the production capacity of an industrial plant by 5 to 20%. Recent studies also show that downtime costs industrial manufacturers about 45 billion euros a year.

Not all maintenance activities are the same. Traditionally there are two types of maintenance, corrective (or reactive) and preventive.

Corrective maintenance is the process of repairing or restoring equipment, system or machine to its original or working condition.

In the case of corrective maintenance, an object is used until a failure occurs. This type of approach is reactive since it is a consequence of an event. Corrective maintenance allows maximum exploitation of the equipment but at the same time implies unreliability, as the exact time of failure is not known and this could cause safety problems. It is clear that unforeseen failures or problems cause temporal as well as considerable economic damage. Corrective maintenance is often more expensive and time-consuming than Preventive maintenance but is necessary to correct problems that have already occurred, it is actually considered the most expensive type of maintenance.

Occasionally, corrective maintenance can be also considered a scheduled preventive maintenance task that is performed to correct an existing problem with a machine, system, or component. It is distinguished from preventive maintenance in that the corrective maintenance task is not planned beforehand but arises due to some fault or problem detected in the system.

Preventive maintenance is the process of maintaining equipment or a system in order to prevent failures.

Preventive maintenance is the practice of systematically maintaining equipment, systems or machines in a manner that avoids or eliminates failures, or at least reduces their occurrence. The goal of preventive maintenance is to increase the reliability of a system while reducing the cost and downtime associated with failures. Preventive maintenance is carried out in a time prior to the failure and is cyclical in nature since the exact moment in which the adverse event will occur is not known. This type of maintenance allows to overcome the limits of corrective maintenance but, at the same time, generates economic damage due to the fact that components that could still be valid and usable are received. Preventive maintenance is most effective when it is performed just before failure, but this is only possible if you know when the failure will occur. Other possible problems that preventive maintenance could involve are related to the fact that, depending on the environment in which it operates, each machine works differently and the frequency of necessary maintenance could change.

In addition to these two maintenance methods, in recent years, with the advent of increasingly powerful and effective innovative technologies, another type of maintenance has made its way, the so-called predictive maintenance. Therefore, let’s explain what predictive maintenance is in order to better understand it.

Predictive maintenance is a field of computer science and engineering that uses data analytics to identify and predict equipment failures.

Predictive maintenance is a key element in the modern manufacturing process. It can be used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, energy, and manufacturing. Predictive maintenance can help companies save money by reducing downtime and preventing equipment failures, it helps companies improve their customer service by allowing them to plan for equipment failures. This kind of maintenance, on the other hand, aims to predict future adverse events, in order to better schedule maintenance.

Consider the case of the industrial internet of things (IIoT), which is a network of devices and sensors that collect and share data to enable companies to predict when equipment will fail, schedule preventive maintenance, and avoid unplanned downtime. This is an ever-growing market that is expected to be worth $225 billion by 2025. There is no doubt that predictive maintenance is an essential application of the IIoT.

You can read the full blog post on our international blog Digital Leaders.