Predictive Maintenance Software
This brings us to Predictive Maintenance; many people confuse it with Preventive Maintenance. First let’s look at the difference between Preventive and Predictive Maintenance.
Preventive Maintenance is the routine of scheduling and performing repair tasks on your equipment before it becomes necessary.
Predictive Maintenance, on the other hand, is the process where data about the equipment is collected and analyzed in the effort to predict a machine breakdown or failure.
Preventive Maintenance Programs are at the heart of all successful maintenance organizations. There are over 200 Computerized Preventive Maintenance Software Programs available. Yet there are only a handful of Predictive Maintenance suppliers that offer a Predictive Maintenance program, which is in the form of a contracted services program, not a software program or service. These contracted services include measuring motor winding insulation wear, analyzing gearbox oil, thermo graphic imaging of electrical parts, and measuring vibration of equipment.
There is also a difference between Manual Analysis and Real-time Monitoring and Analysis.
- Manual Analysis uses manual data entry into a computer program of manually collected data.
- Real-time Monitoring and Analysis uses automatic collection of data via PLCs, sensors and computers.
Let me take you back to the beginning of predicting failures. The first were Vibration and Oil Analysis, which are still at the forefront of Predictive Maintenance today. The process involves measuring vibration and temperature of equipment and taking oils samples, then looking for critical levels to be reached. Vibration and Oil Analysis are still at the forefront of Predictive Maintenance today, which involves measuring vibration and temperature of equipment and taking oil samples.
Thermo Graphic Imaging
Thermo graphic imaging is where infrared cameras are used to take pictures of hot spots in electrical equipment, like circuit breakers and motor control centers. These images predict component failure very accurately.
The service company’s technician takes the readings and the results and recommendations are returned back to the customer in the form of a written report.
Change in Costs
The progress of Predictive Maintenance for the food and baking industry has been slow mostly due to the cost per result ratio. In the past it was less expensive to increase Preventive Maintenance tasks and put more emphasis into hands-on inspection.
It is only recently that the costs of monitoring sensors and PLCs have dropped, whereas the cost of maintenance tasks has gone up. However, the real progress is not in just the sensors, it is also in the analysis software.
The complexity, size and costs of the food and baking equipment has risen, so is the risk of longer breakdowns. Larger machines mean larger, more expensive drives and gearboxes. More automated machines mean more complexity in the controls and equipment. The technical expertise of maintenance is not keeping pace with technical innovations from equipment suppliers.
They need a higher level of technical help in the form of computer diagnostics is ever increasing.
It should be noted, however, that some attempts at failure analysis are not cost effective. For instance, that not all the variable frequency drive or inverter failures can be analyzed. As such, air solenoid and control relay failures are also very difficult to analyze.