Nowadays, technology is an integral part of our lives.

An array of smart devices surrounds us, whether it is talking to your tv, getting weather reports from your virtual assistant, or monitoring your heartbeat and home security system from the palm of your hand. But what if you could leverage this kind of everyday smart technology to take your maintenance facilities to the next level?

With a strong demand for operation and productivity improvements, customization and the need to meet higher market expectations, IoT, known commonly as the “Internet of Things”, is quickly gaining prominence. In fact, it is considered a new revolution in the manufacturing world similar to the assembly line and lean management. Many manufacturers are moving from Industry 3.0 to 4.0, utilizing various ways to reach the same modernization goal.

Businesses that have already begun adopting IoT solutions in the workplace are finding significant value in the automated processes in maintenance management in both on-premise and cloud environments.

What is IoT and why do I care?

The Internet of Things is the interconnection of computing devices embedded in everyday objects that enables them to send and receive data. Industry 4.0 in summary is the latest modernization of manufacturing, digitizing data for analysis to make better decisions. The movement is not regulated to just manufacturing but is the linkage of computers making “Smart” factories, hospitals and cities.

Alongside the invention and adoption of IoT, the evolution of sensors has reached a new level and is becoming an industry standard. These sensors placed on your critical assets, with the help of thresholds set in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), can help to predict failures and avoid downtime. Reactive maintenance can cost a company up to eight times what establishing a preventive maintenance program can save in reducing downtime.

Integration of IoT and sensors with a CMMS can not only shift your maintenance program toward preventive maintenance, but also predictive, further lowering your downtime risk.

Improving your manufacturing process with IoT.

The following three examples demonstrate how IoT strategies and the tools that enable them can help maintenance teams be proactive, boosting productivity and providing efficiency through automation:

1. Predictable failure.

In any industry, asset downtime can be costly, ineffective and often unpredictable. As stated in the ARC Advisory Group study on Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), only 18% of equipment failure is due to its age, while 82% of failures occur randomly. This observation highlights that time-based approaches, such as preventive maintenance, are not foolproof, and that predictive maintenance is a natural next value step after preventive maintenance. Both proactive strategies are more beneficial than reactive maintenance long term.

Accruent’s CMMS and EAM solution Maintenance Connection has a comprehensive database that easily integrates with any software via a Restful API which allows the system to capture data in real time. This data can then be processed with pre-set thresholds to help identify potential failures. In collaboration with Enterprise Resource Planning and Manufacturing Execution Planning Solution tools such as, Hydra MES or Factory Logix, attaching sensors to physical assets allow Maintenance Connection to become a ‘smart’ platform and rich with imported intelligent data from those assets.

Once that asset data has been collected and imported, it is then stored in Maintenance Connection’s Asset Module, where it can be viewed and tracked in real time and can be used to streamline multiple processes, including:

  • Identifying critical issues.
  • Allowing for min/max thresholds to be specified so that work order repairs can be auto generated upon failure, reducing asset downtime significantly. (Once generated, a notification can be set up in the system “rules manager’ to either auto assign the work order or notify a manager to delegate the work to a technician)
  • Storing and tracking multiple asset types and data such as vibrational analysis, temperature, pressure, psi or meter readings. (The data can provide a visual graph to aid in predictive maintenance decisions that can be documented in reporting)
  • Managing work order and downtime histories are recorded and stored for future reporting assessment and can be reviewed by an administrator at any time.
  • Determining your asset’s wear and determining when an asset may need to be taken offline for repairs, timeframes and reliability.
  • Optimizing inventory and streamlining inventory processes through digitized stock lists and auto generated procurement orders.

2. More visibility, more data.

In the manufacturing industry, asset data is critical, and being able to not only see your data, but to interact with it, makes it that much more important. Maintenance Connection's storage database and SMART reporting functionality, in collaboration with IoT strategies, excel at this in multiple ways. In addition to having automation generated based on this smart data, the real time and historical data imported into Maintenance Connection can be viewed and utilized when and where you need it to make informed data driven decisions which is the concept behind Industry 4.0.

Here are just a few examples of how the information made available through IoT practices can help:

  • A technician can review and report through a mobile application, such as MC Express, where data stored in the system, including asset history, documentation, pictures and inventory, are visible anytime from anywhere. Documents such as work orders can also be created, and you can add assets without having to go to a workstation.
  • By analyzing the data, managers can identify abnormal patterns that assist in making executive decisions around repair vs replace, potential retirement, and identifying pains and trends.
  • Through an extensive reporting dashboard within Maintenance Connection, all stored data can be viewed and interacted with by clicking on SMART report items that open the actual work order listed on the report. That report can then be exported in six different formats or set up in an email automation to generate report emails on specific days or rotations.

Providing insight into asset information also makes it easier to keep track of which assets require more frequent inspections and preventive maintenance, as opposed to those that perform for longer periods of time without fail.

3. Proactive efficiency that costs less.

It is a common misconception that only large corporations can benefit from adopting an IoT environment when having these strategies available can benefit companies of all sizes. Some companies implement IoT for efficiency, while other companies use it to cut costs.

Maintenance Connection allows organizations to utilize automations seamlessly across multiple modules, improving functionality and saving time on both labor and repair costs. These automations include:

  • The ability to have work orders auto assigned to specific technicians that are categorized by type of asset, as well as have job plans or task lists automatically attached to those work orders.
  • Improving energy efficiency through monitoring data on HVAC units for temperature, pressure, humidity and airflow.
  • Monitoring to define processes for production of better-quality products to improve durability and customer satisfaction while reducing costs associate with scrap and waste.

The short and simple answer for improving manufacturing with IoT.

Across the manufacturing industry, companies want to save money, streamline and simplify our processes to save time, and create an optimal work environment that meets the needs of customers.

Maintenance Connection excels at helping manufacturers optimize their operations because of its ease of use, configurability and adaptability, and when paired with the adoption and collaboration of IoT, the advancements available to organizations are evident and incredible.

See how Accruent’s Maintenance Connection can drive performance optimization for your organization. Schedule a demo today.