Machine Health monitoring is the ability to assess the health of a machine over a period of time. This can include things like its efficiency, since losses in efficiency may indicate an underlying issue. It also includes wear and tear on parts, performance indicators such as output of defective parts, usage statistics, and maintenance statistics.
Currently, a majority of the manufacturing industry operates with primitive maintenance strategies, often maintaining their equipment based on a reactive or calendar-based approach. The reasoning for this is that most manufacturers do not have the machine condition data to inform them of the operational health of their equipment.
As a result, their choices are to either maintain equipment on a schedule, or simply wait until it fails, neither being an efficient solution. This leads to a staggering amount of waste in the form of unnecessary maintenance expenses or large amounts of machine downtime. Machine Health monitoring is certainly helpful for manufacturers as it provides machine uptime data so that operators and maintenance teams can react quickly to downtime events. However, this is inadequate for two primary reasons.
First off, it fails to provide the deeper machine analytics of condition monitoring in order to diagnose problems and adjust processes to optimize asset performance. Furthermore, simple machine downtime tracking forces manufacturers to engage in either costly preventative maintenance measures that are unnecessary, or rely on reactive maintenance, unable to truly understand the nature of the problem, but simply fixing it until it is bound to happen again. Interestingly, over-maintenance (often a result of a calendar-based strategy) can be just as wasteful as unplanned downtime, as it is not only expensive but also time-consuming.
On the other hand, condition monitoring allows manufacturers to harness real-time conditions from their assets to monitor and optimize the maintenance and performance of their machines to ensure that they are not over-maintaining or suffering from unplanned downtime.
Why is Machine Health Monitoring Important?
Machine Health monitoring is important to lean manufacturing facilities because it reduces downtime, boosts production efficiency, and helps with cost prediction, spare parts supplies, maintenance needs and timing, as well as more accurate production predictions.
In summary, machine Health monitoring helps manufacturers squeeze more out of their existing equipment, without spending time and budget on unnecessary maintenance. They are able to do this because they have deeper, accurate insight into the performance of their equipment, which can be used for improved decision-making.
This enables higher-performing operators, managers, and maintenance teams, as well as drives a variety of notable KPIs, including machine uptime, utilization, and, of course, OEE. In a sense, condition monitoring is a more mature form of machine monitoring, leveraging helpful machine data to take advantage of the happy medium between calendar-based maintenance and reactive maintenance. While most manufacturers may begin with simply monitoring equipment uptimes, eventually competition will force them to progress to monitoring machine conditions to understand the health of their equipment and optimize its performance.
Benefits of Machine Health Monitoring?
The benefits of Machine health monitoring are plentiful. One major boon of condition monitoring is increasing the longevity of equipment. If a specific parameter is continuously out of expected ranges, especially factors that could severely damage a machine or its components, then underlying issues can be assessed and repaired before a downtime event or long-term, costly damage occurs.
Machine health monitoring is also beneficial to overall production efficiency because it can help leaders make important decisions such as whether or not to continue production using partially damaged equipment and for how long without incurring additional costs or reducing product quality. In this way, it limits downtime as well as part costs, because machines can be used to their maximum efficiency. This is especially important for 24/7 facilities, and manufacturers running a lights-out factory.
Machine Health Monitoring supports a variety of goals for manufacturers, including
1. Reducing and eliminating unplanned machine downtime
2. Optimizing machine health and performance
3. Improving quality and reducing scrap parts
4. Driving a higher-performing maintenance program based on accurate machine data
5. Enabling automation based on real-time machine condition data