Machine condition monitoring is the ability to assess the health of a machine over a period of time. This can include things like its efficiency, since losses in efficiency may indicate an underlying issue. It also includes wear and tear on parts, performance indicators such as output of defective parts, usage statistics, and maintenance statistics.
Currently, a majority of the manufacturing industry operates with primitive maintenance strategies, often maintaining their equipment based on a reactive or calendar-based approach. The reasoning for this is that most manufacturers do not have the machine condition data to inform them of the operational health of their equipment.
As a result, their choices are to either maintain equipment on a schedule, or simply wait until it fails, neither being an efficient solution. This leads to a staggering amount of waste in the form of unnecessary maintenance expenses or large amounts of machine downtime.
Within this article, we will be exploring how condition monitoring solves this problem, providing manufacturers with the necessary, real-time machine condition data to make proactive decisions based on the current health of their equipment, even enabling them to introduce automation to the shop floor.
With condition monitoring, you have instant access to machine health and diagnostics for a real-time look at machine performance.
Whereas condition monitoring provides diagnostics and helps determine the health of a machine based on various measured conditions, machine monitoring provides a simple machine status: Is the machine being productive or not?
Machine monitoring is certainly helpful for manufacturers as it provides machine uptime data so that operators and maintenance teams can react quickly to downtime events. However, this is inadequate for two primary reasons.
First off, it fails to provide the deeper machine analytics of condition monitoring in order to diagnose problems and adjust processes to optimize asset performance. Furthermore, simple machine downtime tracking forces manufacturers to engage in either costly preventative maintenance measures that are unnecessary, or rely on reactive maintenance, unable to truly understand the nature of the problem, but simply fixing it until it is bound to happen again.
Interestingly, over-maintenance (often a result of a calendar-based strategy) can be just as wasteful as unplanned downtime, as it is not only expensive but also time-consuming.
On the other hand, condition monitoring allows manufacturers to harness real-time conditions from their assets to monitor and optimize the maintenance and performance of their machines to ensure that they are not over-maintaining or suffering from unplanned downtime.
An example of the MachineMetrics current shift dashboard displaying machine performance data in real-time.
Condition monitoring is important to lean manufacturing facilities because it reduces downtime, boosts production efficiency, and helps with cost prediction, spare parts supplies, maintenance needs and timing, as well as more accurate production predictions.
In summary, machine condition monitoring helps manufacturers squeeze more out of their existing equipment, without spending time and budget on unnecessary maintenance. They are able to do this because they have deeper, accurate insight into the performance of their equipment, which can be used for improved decision-making.
This enables higher-performing operators, managers, and maintenance teams, as well as drives a variety of notable KPIs, including machine uptime, utilization, and, of course, OEE. In a sense, condition monitoring is a more mature form of machine monitoring, leveraging helpful machine data to take advantage of the happy medium between calendar-based maintenance and reactive maintenance.
While most manufacturers may begin with simply monitoring equipment uptimes, eventually competition will force them to progress to monitoring machine conditions to understand the health of their equipment and optimize its performance.
The benefits of condition monitoring are plentiful. One major boon of condition monitoring is increasing the longevity of equipment. If a specific parameter is continuously out of expected ranges, especially factors that could severely damage a machine or its components, then underlying issues can be assessed and repaired before a downtime event or long-term, costly damage occurs.
Condition monitoring is also beneficial to overall production efficiency because it can help leaders make important decisions such as whether or not to continue production using partially damaged equipment and for how long without incurring additional costs or reducing product quality. In this way, it limits downtime as well as part costs, because machines can be used to their maximum efficiency. This is especially important for 24/7 facilities, and manufacturers running a lights out factory.
Machine condition monitoring supports a variety of goals for manufacturers, including:
A machine condition monitoring dashboard for reporting machine uptime, health of equipment, and providing notifications for maintenance activity.
There are nearly an unlimited number of conditions that can be monitored on a machine. The MachineMetrics Edge device connects directly to the PLC of a machine, giving you access to a wide variety of machine data. Furthermore, you can add external sensors or connect older equipment with digital and analog IO to ensure all equipment is being monitored.
This machine condition data can then be analyzed to better understand machine health and take action to maintain equipment when there is a given variable indicating impending machine failure. Below are some of the conditions and components that can be monitored to identify trends, predict failures, and roll out condition-based maintenance activities:
There are three main types of machine monitoring techniques, including:
Condition-based monitoring drives a condition-based maintenance routine wherein maintenance is completed when machines are in indicating that there is a high chance of machine failure.
With a condition monitoring solution enabled, manufacturers can quickly pivot from a calendar-based or reactive maintenance strategies to a usage-based or condition-based approach. This gives them the opportunity to support equipment maintenance tasks at the right time, rather than over-maintaining equipment, or waiting for a machine to go down.
MachineMetrics IoT-enabled condition monitoring system provides the infrastructure to integrate with other systems to enable notifications and other automated activities. In this way, the real-time machine condition data can inform and empower your team to make better, faster decisions based on accurate data.
Let's run through a few examples:
Machine down or imminent failure detected? Automatically notify the right person at the right time to resolve the issue as fast as possible, or before the problem even happens.
MachineMetrics Industrial IoT platform offers a system for machine condition monitoring so manufacturers can leverage the real-time data streaming from their machines to monitor performance, deploy maintenance, and more.
We offer a plug-and-play solution for connecting to machines via the PLC and collecting and transforming data into consumable machine data and insights in a matter of minutes. With this in hand, you can easily view and manage the health of your equipment, as well as notify the right person at the right time to take action when it is needed. On top of the contextual data provided by operators, you’ll have instant visibility not only into individual machine performance and health, but the status of the operation as a whole.
This supports a variety of goals for manufacturers. A simple deployment of condition monitoring provides insight into machine health via diagnostics and alarms, and more advanced use cases via cycle analysis, as well as automated workflows.
Explore MachineMetrics condition monitoring solution or learn how AccuRounds drove a 20% increase in OEE after deploying MachineMetrics.
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