2021 Trends in Industrial Maintenance
Emerging technologies continue to give industrial maintenance processes the potential to be more efficient from cost and productivity standpoints. As facilities face critical decisions in 2021 to maintain profitability, it’s imperative to remain aware of the maintenance trends that are expected to have an impact throughout the year and beyond. These leading-edge tactics can often provide unprecedented and unexpected process and margin improvements. Read on for our forecast of the maintenance industry trends that you should know about in 2021.
The Top 6 Trends in Maintenance for 2021
We expect these trends and technologies to drive the face of manufacturing maintenance in 2021.
1. Advanced sensor implementation and usage. With the advent of smart machinery, many facilities are gradually becoming exposed to the benefits of equipment sensors. These track performance and provide insight into red flags such as abnormal vibration, heat or noise, all of which can foretell an eventual machine breakdown. This enables the issue to be addressed before it creates a service disruption. With sensors becoming more commonplace, 2021 signals the next phase of their implementation. Additional comprehensive and innovative sensor usage can provide even more detail about equipment issues. This enables more accurate root cause analysis as well as effective and proactive maintenance.
2. Even more data collection and analysis. Data is the backbone of today’s most effective and efficient manufacturing facilities, and this year promises even more uses for that data. Additional sensor implementation is only “Step One” of this trend. Facilities are also always building upon their data repository, enabling more accurate modeling, effective forecasting and innovative ways of using and analyzing data. It all adds to practices such as predictive maintenance, which stops problems before they start and provides heretofore unseen benefits for the facility.
3. Downtime increasingly in the hot seat. Establishments understand that equipment downtime is one of the biggest resource wastes that can occur in manufacturing. That reality is starker than ever in the face of a pressing need to be as efficient, lean and agile as possible. This means that manufacturers are expected to focus heavily on reducing downtime — expected and unanticipated — as much as possible in 2021. Predictive maintenance, enabled by the factors described above, is one of the most effective ways to do so. This allows personnel to identify issues and schedule maintenance when it is most convenient and least disruptive.
4. Renewed focus on uptime and profit margins. Hand in hand with a downtime reduction is the drive to improve uptime and thus profit margins for the facility, driving equipment ROI and resource value. In light of the difficulties of 2020, process profitability will be a key focus for manufacturers. The most effective way to drive margins is to keep equipment running as much — and as efficiently — as possible.
5. A critical eye on inventory management. With the benefits of technology such as sensors and data analysis, inventory management improvements go hand in hand with maintenance efficiencies. The increased use of sensors, and the ease with which facilities can track things such as MRO part needs and availability, means that more manufacturers will be aware of the inefficiency of their current inventory practices. They will also be mindful of the benefits that they can gain from implementing a technology- and data-driven inventory plan. Just a few of the benefits include accurate ordering and forecasting, easier location of spares, more control over storeroom management and faster, efficient maintenance.
6. Increased use of virtual technology. No 2021 forecast would be complete without a direct response to the impact of COVID-19, and maintenance is no exception. The need for social distancing is expected to remain in place for some time along with an ongoing focus on worker health and safety. For this reason, virtual technology is poised to fast-track its way into a more commonplace method of carrying out maintenance diagnostics and troubleshooting. Sensors and other technology can provide a near “hands-on” experience for offsite personnel, enabling accurate, real-time maintenance processes from anywhere.
As you can see, ongoing trends such as predictive maintenance, industrial internet of things (IIoT), and data-driven processes comprise the basis of almost every major 2021 trend. As a technology-driven leader in outsourced industrial maintenance, ATS is ready to answer any questions you may have about how to take advantage of the latest in maintenance trends and technologies. We’ll work with you to enable the maximum benefit to your operations. For more information, contact us today.