Maintenance 4.0 – How Industrial 4.0 will change the work of maintenance.

The path from Condition Monitoring leads to Predictive Maintenance through Industry 4.0.

The successful implementation of requirements for maintenance 4.0 requires a change of roles in all areas of a company. Thus, the management must deal with the question of whether and to what extent an exchange of data on the boundaries of the company is approved. Process and product critical data must be safely transported and protected against unauthorized access. The IT departments, on the other hand, must be prepared to introduce new mobile systems and software solutions, to allow cross-company data interviews and to implement new authorization models. Furthermore, it is necessary to develop new organizations that quickly make the necessary decisions. There will be a change in the required functions in maintenance: the focus of the activities is increasingly shifted to the fields of planning, analysis, visualization and programming. This in turn requires a rethinking of the training concepts and new approaches for interdisciplinary teamwork.

In the opinion of the experts, people and their competences therefore play a very important role, indeed for the „maintenance of the future“. The increasing complexity of maintenance also increases the demand for maintenance. Mechatronics and technicians, who are well versed in mechanics, electronics and above all IT. Man as a creative cross-thinker is more than ever required. Man has to evaluate the data and draw the correct conclusions, only then can industry 4.o become a success.

In the past, it was often enough to be a good technician. Today, in addition to IT competence, a maintenance engineer must also demonstrate professional, methodological, social and managerial competences. New, targeted trainings covering all areas of competence and levels of requirements are necessary and important in order to consolidate maintenance as an interesting professional field and to bring about necessary changes. The selection of the maintenance strategy is characterized by a trend towards condition-oriented and forward-looking maintenance strategies. Condition Based Maintenance will be a new way to achieve a goal-oriented planning of maintenance tasks. The integration of intelligent sensors into the system monitoring facilitates the data acquisition and leads today to extended data provision. However, this does not always mean an improvement in the information and the associated tools to facilitate decisions. The right conclusions must be drawn and the correct diagnosis to be made. But the production of a data miami will not produce a cure for machines and plants. Here, the circle closes again with the man, which thanks to its adaptability and flexible way of thinking knows „its“ plants.

The previously rather hesitant approach to the strategic integration of condition monitoring into the existing process automation gets new impetus under Industrie 4.0. The biggest challenge is not the solution to the technical problems. It is difficult to integrate condition monitoring measures into the process, which makes it possible to take full advantage of the benefits of predictive maintenance. The data are to be made available to the responsible employees in a prepared form. At the moment, machine manufacturers are often expected to guarantee the security of data. However, this is not feasible, there is a lack of systems for the organization of data as well as the recognition of the necessary measures both for the machine manufacturers and the operators of machines and plants. A common platform for cooperation must be created.

The existing systems produce a lot of data. However, the information that can be derived from this is not always to be used. The goal of condition monitoring must be to derive information and action decisions from the data collected, best automated, of course. Identifying potential system failures at an early stage and initiating automatic shutdowns is the goal of maintenance 4.0.

If the production is further automated by means of intelligent systems, the importance of maintenance in the company, its procedures and its task structure change. By networking production facilities and sensors, new possibilities arise: under these conditions, plant and machine states can be recorded, pre-processed and analyzed in various formats. This means Predictive Maintenance based on Condition Monitoring. This means that the ideal data is not only available to machine manufacturers and plant operators, but also to local maintenance. The latter is thus given mobile access and context-dependent visualizations about the state of the systems and products: Intelligent plant management and an increase in the importance of condition-oriented maintenance are the consequences. From the experience gained, maintenance has to take advantage of the entire potential for optimization and to stabilize the efficiency of machinery and equipment and ultimately even to increase it.