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Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring use cases in detail

Marcel Köhler
Feb 15, 2018 1

This article is about

  • In this post, we present four use cases to give you a better understanding of how condition monitoring can benefit your business.

In the past, preventive maintenance helped to minimize machine downtime and avoid unscheduled outages. The advent of Industry 4.0 has brought about a new way of ensuring machine availability: condition monitoring. This method involves continuous monitoring of machine data to detect wear, making it easier to schedule repairs and thus reduce downtime. There is also potential to lower maintenance costs as only worn-out parts need replacing.

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring in laser welding processes

Getting operational data from a laser during the welding process is difficult. This is especially the case when the data appears only on the human-machine interface (HMI). What’s more, the HMI is not easily accessible if located on or between the lines. This can cause disruptions in a highly automated and connected laser line. In the event of unscheduled downtimes, the whole line may break down.

Close-up of a laser welding machine. Source: fotolia/Patrick Foto

To solve this problem, we decided to gather and process machine notifications centrally along with the operating times of different modules. This includes the temperature of the water used to cool to the laser diode. We then introduced a ticket system to assign specific tasks to the machine operators. In addition, we implemented an automatic escalation system, where the response depends on the severity the issue.

The benefits in detail:

  • Reduced machine downtime
  • Increased production output

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring in the Drilling Laser Line

We also implemented condition monitoring in a Drilling Laser Line (DLL) on the shopfloor. This highly automated and interconnected line comprises a materials handling process, a laser process, a flow test, and a test station. The DLL itself, along with external metering equipment, normally records a lot of measurement data values. The DLL is serviced either according to a schedule or when it exceeds control or tolerance limits.

Machines standing on the shop floor of a factory. Source: Bosch

To evaluate the amount of soiling, we started to display all data centrally. We then evaluated the data to detect if there was a need for early servicing.

The benefits in detail:

  • Flexible and easy-to-plan service intervals to boost overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
  • Reduced need for servicing

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring of electrical boxes

Insurance providers demand that plant operators regularly check the status of electrical boxes to prevent fires. These checks are often conducted manually – a low-value and time-consuming job.

Woman electrician standing in font of a breaker box with a tablet computer in hand. Source: iStock/aydinmutlu

Using a simple sensor, we were able to read the thermal data from the electrical box. We then visualized this data and set up a basic alert and ticket system in the event of deviations.

The benefits in detail:

  • Automation of the safety control process
  • Time saved on checking and improving safety

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring when working with spindles

Spindles are used in various ways to process materials in production. However, obtaining data from this component can be challenging – especially when the machine is older. The result is that maintenance often follows pre-set cycles.

Close-up of a spindle. Source: fotolia/sorapolujjin

With the help of our project partner, we read and visualized the spindle tension and speed using an OPC DA connector. We then evaluated the data, which allowed us to send push notifications to employees when deviations occurred.

The benefits in detail:

  • Reduced downtime thanks to swift intervention in the event of a disruption
  • Increased savings

More on the use of software in connected manufacturing

How can the Production Performance Management Protocol boost your production?

Aside from condition monitoring, there are many use cases for software in connected manufacturing.

Predicting when maintenance is needed can increase your efficiency.

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  • Zara Brown 13. March 2018 at 22:29

    informative post

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