What Is Condition-Based Monitoring and Maintenance?
All too often, maintenance action is based on one of two factors: a rigid schedule or equipment failure. Under these plans, maintenance often occurs too early (i.e., the preventive, scheduled replacement of a component, even if it is still in good working order) or too late (i.e., the aforementioned equipment failure).
Each of these approaches leads to waste:
- In a purely preventive approach, resources and parts are consumed whether or not they are needed
- In a purely reactive approach, costly downtime and extensive repairs are necessary
The solution — a way to reduce these wasteful efforts — is condition-based monitoring, a maintenance approach based on monitoring and reacting to the performance state of equipment, with the goal of remedying possible failures well before they lead to equipment shutdowns.
Condition-based maintenance is facilitated by ongoing, real-time monitoring of key performance metrics, such as vibration, temperature and several others; as well as by connectivity and communication that allow for data collection and performance alerts to drive maintenance action.
A condition-based maintenance system will include industrial sensors, network communication infrastructure, data collection and analysis software, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), and more — all based on IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) principles and technology.
How Do Manufacturers Benefit from Condition Monitoring?
Implementing a condition monitoring-based plan can benefit manufacturers in numerous ways:
- Reduction or prevention of asset failures: Condition monitoring maintenance is specifically designed to detect the beginnings of potential equipment problems, well before they become production problems as a result of asset failure. By reducing or eliminating purely reactive maintenance and run-to-failure tactics, equipment is optimized and operational much more of the time.
- Increased uptime: By implementing a condition monitoring maintenance plan, downtime can be planned more strategically and effectively to maximize production efficiency.
- More productive, efficient maintenance: Unlike preventive maintenance, condition-focused maintenance uses technology to detect the underpinnings of actual equipment problems, meaning that maintenance occurs only when needed. This improves maintenance resource allocation and efficiency.
- Increased insight into asset health and performance: Data is the backbone of condition monitoring, comparing benchmarks and historical performance data against real-time performance to provide alerts when aberrations occur. As more data is collected and analyzed, you gain more information about equipment performance — and how you can improve it.
- More accuracy in MRO: Data also allows for increased accuracy and effectiveness in inventory practices including MRO ordering and management.
How Does Condition-Based Maintenance Work?
Condition monitoring uses connected industrial sensors to continually monitor performance aspects that are known to be failure-mode indicators. The list of potential areas to monitor is extensive, but some of the most common are listed below:
- Vibration monitoring: Vibration monitoring can be used on any rotating part and is an effective indicator of potential equipment malfunctions or maintenance issues. Sensors are able to detect even slight fluctuations in vibration levels that may indicate part wear, improper calibration, damage or other issues — which can then be investigated and remedied.
- Temperature monitoring: Most equipment operates at a consistent temperature. Temperatures that are higher than normal can indicate increased friction in moving parts, which can lead to premature wear and equipment failure. By sounding an alert if the temperature rises outside an acceptable range, these failures are now preventable.
- Ultrasonic monitoring: Sound is an excellent indicator of equipment performance. Ultrasonic monitoring takes sound detection to the next level. By using sensors that can detect high-frequency sounds that cannot be heard by the human ear, leaks and holes in equipment such as hoses and tanks can be zeroed in on right away.
- Pressure monitoring: Pressure monitoring provides a constant, real-time assessment of fluid and air pressure in hoses, tanks, compressors and other key equipment. It offers real-time access and the ability to sound an alert at even the slightest pressure drop.
Condition Monitoring From ATS
As part of our predictive maintenance solutions, ATS uses the latest sensor and machine health monitoring technology to keep maintenance and operations teams updated in real time about asset health and potential failures through our cloud-based analytics platform and reliability engineer expert support. Our technology-driven approach to maintenance helps you eliminate unplanned downtime and reduce costs. Contact us today to learn more.