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The Key to Equipment Reliability Is No Secret

So why is predictive maintenance adoption not more widespread?

Manufacturing worker with iPad

When it comes to increasing asset uptime, predictive maintenance (PdM) is undeniably superior to post-failure reactive maintenance and routine preventive practices. Today’s increasingly sophisticated PdM technologies predict machine reliability with data-driven precision. For instance, combining condition monitoring sensor data with real-time predictive analytics enables optimally timed actions to avoid the high costs and hazards of equipment failure.
Though falling technology costs and expanding solution options are helping to accelerate PdM deployments, tremendous, transformative opportunities remain to be realized from the digitalized maintenance strategy.
To better understand the challenges, benefits, and plans for PdM in industry today, Manufacturers Alliance partnered with Advanced Technology Services (ATS) to survey 170 leaders in medium- to large-sized companies across product and process manufacturing industries. The research findings are detailed in Predictive Maintenance Strategies Gain Ground: Leaders move to capture productivity gains and data savvy talent.
In addition to confirming widespread interest in deploying PdM, four data points stand out:

  1. More than 95% of manufacturers surveyed increased productivity by implementing PdM. The study found that plant and labor productivity gains from PdM are ubiquitous. For the plant, increasing maintenance efficiency and equipment uptime means greater plant availability, capacity, and performance. Eliminating manual inspections, automating data gathering and analytics, and strategically predicting and timing maintenance improves personnel utilization so they can increase focus on continuous improvement and new processes.
  2. Operational benefits ranked the highest in the benefits of implementing PdM, with 50% of surveyed executives noting improved uptime and increased production output. Operational excellence is advanced by the early detection and resolution of equipment degradation and incipient failures. PdM can occur outside of production hours, rushed parts and overtime are avoided, and the mean time between failure (MTBF) is extended. Besides the operational benefits of using PdM tools, the respondents also called out valuable quality, financial, and labor benefits.
  3. For 90% of respondents who have started PdM, their investment generated a return on investment in under two years, and many (39%) saw an ROI within one year. How quickly ROI is attained will vary, but speed is less important than the quantity and quality of the ROI. As one respondent noted, “For us, the mean time between failures could be a decade, but if a PdM system saves us once, it’s worth having.” Solving a small problem with in-stock parts before the condition escalates to a catastrophic failure not only prevents extended, expensive unplanned downtime and emergency work, but also avoids health and safety and potentially regulatory consequences, which can be quite costly.
  4. 75% of respondents noted the need for more technologically skilled talent to continue to make progress with PdM. Skilled talent is in high demand. Understanding the interrelationships between assets, processes, reliability technologies and data comes with time, but time is a limited resource. It is why recruiting, training, upskilling, and retention are more important than ever, along with change management to help foster confidence in the data. To mitigate these challenges, outsourcing is increasingly leveraged. Whether filling skills gaps, assuming entire roles, or providing remote condition monitoring support, expert industrial service providers can facilitate additional PdM gains and enhance overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and uptime.

The in-depth study dives deeper into these topics and much more. Though progress on adoption is slower than respondents would like, enthusiasm for PdM is abundant, so the report also includes recommendations on how to ease into PdM and simplify further deployments. Considering the clear business value in increasing uptime, productivity, quality and profitability, there is no reason to put it off any longer.

Want to Learn More?

Join a complimentary webinar, Tech, Skills & Strategies to Advance Predictive Maintenance, on July 27 from 2-3 pm ET to hear more information on how to PdM can increase uptime, improve productivity, and reduce costs.

Opinions expressed by contributing authors are their own.

Micah Statler, ATS

Micah Statler

Director of Operations at Advanced Technology Services

Micah Statler serves as Director of Operations at Advanced Technology Services where he is responsible for the delivery and profitability of reliability-centered maintenance services within the surge support business along with the growth of sensor and machine health monitoring aligned to the ATS Industrial Services ‘Technology First’ strategy. Micah is a graduate of Bradley University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Management and Leadership.