Remote maintenance solutions help reducing travel and personnel costs while improving customer service by offering faster response times.
Remote maintenance services have been used in the manufacturing industry for many years to maintain spatially distributed machines and equipment. Using a dedicated line, service engineers can establish a connection to a machine and access its control system. Depending on the available transmission mode and access rights, the engineer can provide passive assistance to on-site machine operators or even take active control of the system. The benefits are obvious: remote maintenance slashes travel and personnel costs while improving customer service by offering faster response times.
This recent surge in demand has fueled a boom in the availability of remote maintenance software for industry applications. However, many of these programs lack the necessary flexibility and “intelligence.” Typically, a separate PC or desktop environment must be set up for each active machine. In addition, the applications are not usually integrated in the existing system environment, so the data they collect cannot be incorporated into these systems unless it is entered manually or copied from a USB stick. However, these problems need not exist as technology already provides everything needed to address these issues.
Recently, McKinsey released an interview featuring an expert discussion between executives at Robert Bosch, namely Siegfried Dais (Partner of the Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG) and Heinz Derenbach (CEO of Bosch Software Innovations GmbH), and McKinsey experts. This interview addressed the prevalence of the Internet of Things in manufacturing and the consequent technology-driven changes that promise to trigger a new industrial revolution. Here at Bosch, and generally in Germany, we are referring to this phenomenon as Industry 4.0. The basic principle of Industry 4.0 is that by connecting machines, work pieces and systems, we are creating intelligent networks along the entire value chain that can control each other autonomously. Some examples for Industry 4.0 are machines that predict failures and trigger maintenance processes autonomously or self-organized logistics that react to unexpected changes in the production.
Self-driving cars, products that manufacture themselves and control factories – for a long time this has been the stuff of science fiction. Some of you might remember KITT, the talking car from the TV series Knight Rider, or the intelligent machine-type creatures that appeared in the movie Matrix Reloaded. Today however, fiction is being outpaced by reality when it comes to developing new technologies mainly through advances relating to the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS). But unlike fiction, reality delivers economic and social value: cars that warn one another of potential hazards make our roads safer, and connected factories offer increased flexibility and productivity.
During a brief video interview at CeBIT 2013 we asked Martin Schäffler, Manager Industry 4.0, about the importance of IoTS for the manufacturing industry, and if manufacturers can already make use of it today. One detail we can share with you upfront: predictive maintenance seems to be a solution quite ready for use. But see for yourself.
I’ve often wondered why I need to change my automobile’s motor oil every 3,500 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Maybe I’m one of the few people left in the world who still enjoys changing his own oil. But it’s often concerned me that maybe a mileage- or time-based maintenance schedule wastes lots of valuable resources like oil; aluminium and metals for fabricating the new oil filter; plastic for making the new jug of oil; and energy for the recycling facility that takes my dirty motor oil, strips all the impurities from it and recycles it.
Maybe I don’t really need to change the oil that often. Maybe the metrics which determine when I should change the oil – in this case either vehicle mileage or time – aren’t the best predictors of my car’s optimal maintenance schedule. What if there were sensors on my red 1966 Ford Mustang convertible (V8, 289 cubic inch engine, 2-barrel carburettor, for those curious) that would tell me when I need to change the oil. And what if those sensors were collecting data from the oil filter, the valves, the pistons and the exhaust to find anomalies that are better predictors of when I should change my oil to prevent deterioration of my car.
Predictive maintenance is one such IoT/M2M solution that helps lower operating and capital costs by facilitating proactive servicing and repair of assets, while allowing the more efficient use of repair resources – both human labor and replacement products. See Fig. 1.
Figure 1: Traditional maintenance scheduling versus predictive maintenance for assets [Source: Analysys Mason, 2013]
Today, I would like to share my impressions from the Umsetzungsforum Industrie 4.0, which took place ten days ago at the Produktionstechnisches Zentrum Berlin. The event was organized and hosted by Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann, President of the acatech working group, and Dr. Siegfried Dais, Co-President of the acatech working group and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH. Many well-known figures from the political and economic scene were also in attendance. The impressive building was a great platform to foster the discussion and reflection about the next revolution in production. Read more…
When I joined Bosch Software Innovations some years ago, one of my first projects was the analysis of a fancy fire detection scenario, which was intended to guide the development of the Visual Rules State Flow (a state diagram using transition rules modeled with Visual Rules). I still remember myself standing in front of a whiteboard, lively discussing the scenario with Markus and Mike, who tried to scribble the stuff that we came up and subsequently discarded. Time passed and the State Flow grew from toddler to promising juvenile. While it has been and still is pretty much underestimated, we finally have the opportunity to show its potential in an Industrial-IT showcase. Currently, we develop this showcase, which is supposed to look eventually as illustrated below, with a bunch of illustrious partners, among others Stäubli (who provide a 6-axis robot), SICK (who provide an image-based code reader), and HP (who provide the server).
Direct link to the video "Industry 4.0 - The Technological Revolution continues!"
Industry 4.0 is paving the way for a social and technological revolution that will drastically change the entire industrial landscape. Why 4.0? As since the 18th century, when the first Industrial Revolution began, it is the fourth wave of major technological changes. There is brand new video footage available from the German Engineering Association VDMA featuring different Industry 4.0 projects of players such as the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Bosch, SAP, Siemens as well as Wittenstein. What this video shows: Industry 4.0 is a sophisticated approach changing the entire global value chain: communication, planning, logistics and production.Read more…