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Mechanical service technicians know machines like the back of their hand. They can inspect a machine and quickly understand what is going on under the hood – is it functioning normally? Is something misaligned or beginning to cavitate? Technicians can typically recall each detail about a machine’s maintenance history or how it behaves under different conditions.
There is no doubt that these mechanical service technicians are masters of their craft. But what if we could enhance their diagnostic capabilities and free up their time to focus on urgent matters with new technology?
Where Preventive Maintenance falls short.
Today, Reactive Maintenance, the practice of running until failure, is still in use in many facilities. Machines are left to run until they can no longer function, demanding more attention from technicians to keep them alive and potentially causing substantial harm to production output. Likewise, Preventive Maintenance, scheduling machine health checks at set times based on usage or time intervals, is still the most common strategy in use today in facilities, factories and plants around the world. And yet, not all malfunctions are detectable during these routine checkups. A technician might perform a complete and thorough machine health check during a routine maintenance check-up, but still be called in for a repair a couple of weeks later.
This is where Predictive Maintenance comes in.
Predictive Maintenance (PdM) is structured around the concept of servicing a machine based on its current condition and functional state, rather than time elapsed or usage endured. Although PdM has been around for several decades, it has remained largely unchanged since it emerged on the scene. By taking traditional machine maintenance online and enabling use of real-time diagnostics and maintenance recommendations, new developments in the world of PdM have begun to emerge. Such technology augments technicians’ already keen skills in detecting a malfunction before it becomes catastrophic.
As a product manager in the industrial IoT space, I am responsible for developing products that will have a positive influence on a technician’s work or will impact an organization’s bottom line. We need to know everything we can about our potential users: Who are they? What does their daily routine look like? What are they capable of doing without the product? How can the product make them even more effective?
From my numerous interactions with technicians around the globe, it is clear that they are highly skilled and passionate about providing the best possible service for their customers. They have great intuition and knowledge about the machines they service and are constantly looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their routes and strengthen relationships with their customers.
Emerging technologies in PdM that utilize fog computing and cutting edge sensing technology have drastically enhanced service technicians’ ability to maintain industrial equipment. Quality PdM products are already making the work of thousands of technicians much easier and efficient while reducing downtime and prolonging machine life-time. All this, while expanding the capabilities of technicians and the service companies that employ them.
As service companies seek to gain a competitive edge, increase revenues, add value to their existing contracts and empower their technicians, it is clear that new technologies in PdM are the way forward.
Looking to arm your technicians with the latest in PdM technology? Get a demo with Augury!
Author: Adi Soesan
Adi is a product manager who is passionate about building products that will have a positive impact on the lives of their customers.