What is Maintenance 4.0?
It’s easy to look back on past industrial revolutions and pinpoint specific drivers or turning points. We know the invention of the steam engine was a turning point in the first industrial revolution, just like we know the semiconductor was a gateway of innovation for the third. It’s no secret we’re in the middle of a fourth industrial revolution and this time, we’re much more cognizant of its drivers. It’s why there are subsects of Industry 4.0 gaining traction, including Maintenance 4.0.
What’s the significance of “4.0?”
Manufacturing headlines put big emphasis on the “4.0” sweeping the manufacturing industry. Industry 4.0 is the common term for the fourth industrial revolution, used interchangeably with Manufacturing 4.0. Where does Maintenance 4.0 fit in?
Maintenance 4.0 describes a specific stream of innovation within Industry 4.0., focusing on — you guessed it — maintenance. In a simple analogy, think of Industry 4.0 as a car and Maintenance 4.0 as the transmission. It’s one essential part of something bigger, instrumental in moving it forward.
What’s Maintenance 4.0 all about?
If the chief drivers of Industry 4.0 are the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the manufacturing cloud, and technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), Maintenance 4.0 is the realization of these technologies. Maintenance 4.0 is about putting smarter technology to work to enhance everyday factory operations. Some of the cornerstones of Maintenance 4.0 include:
- Preventive and proactive maintenance.
- Condition monitoring and trigger-based maintenance.
- Life cycle engineering.
- Leaner manufacturing maintenance.
- Automation of clerical maintenance tasks.
In a nutshell, Maintenance 4.0 applies technologies better to reduce costly and inefficient errors. Instead of waiting for a widget on machine X to fail, condition monitoring sensors measure cycles and, using predictive analytics, alert technicians to replace the widget before it fails. This example, and many others like it, represent just how vital Maintenance 4.0 is as a subsect of Industry 4.0.
Smarter maintenance for smarter factories
Maintenance 4.0 has rippling benefits that touch every other part of the factory. Smarter maintenance enables better supply chain management, operations, inventory management, staffing, outsourcing, and just about anything else affecting the value stream. The ability to predict, avoid, and rapidly resolve problems through smarter maintenance practices is an invaluable tool for the factory of the future.
How can manufacturers harness these benefits and ready their factory for full immersion into the fourth industrial revolution? Start by embedding the core principles of Maintenance 4.0:
- Invest based on business case.
- Update incrementally.
- Update practices as well as technology.
- Introduce an adaptable, flexible approach.
- Harness big data as an asset.
- Create onboarding and training standards.
- Partner with reliable vendors and service professionals.
The early days of the fourth industrial revolution are already behind us, but we’re far from the leap to the next major paradigm shift. Recognize the need to adapt your factory to Industry 4.0 standards, starting with an investment in Maintenance 4.0 philosophies and practices.