Unscheduled downtime may literally be a manufacturer’s worst nightmare. Downtime means losses in revenue and productivity, but you also have to pay employee wages – even though they can’t work. And, of course, there’s also the added cost of repairs. Quite simply, unscheduled downtime is a frustrating financial burden that nobody wants to deal with.
Regular maintenance and scheduled downtime can help reduce unscheduled downtime, but downtime still costs you even when you know it’s coming. Wouldn’t it be great if downtime disappeared?
Unfortunately, downtime won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but advances in technology could one day help reduce unscheduled downtime.
Predictive maintenance, as advertised by Industry 4.0, could drastically cut down on unscheduled downtime. The idea isn’t to just to stop problems before they occur, however. Predictive maintenance could help eliminate unscheduled downtime, but it could also help reduce the amount of scheduled downtime in a factory.
Current preventative maintenance techniques are based around a routine, or regular schedule to help prevent unscheduled downtime. The trouble with this method is that you could end up performing maintenance even though it isn’t necessary.
Predictive maintenance improves efficiency and saves cost.
This would take predictive maintenance to the next level, automating the entire process. Basically, repairs, servicing, and maintenance can be performed by robots. Automating maintenance would be incredibly efficient. Robots that repair factory machines would be connected to machine diagnostics, addressing problems as soon as, or even before, they occur.
This idea stems from self-repairing cities,where drones would repair and improve city infrastructures. Automated repairs and improvements for machinery within a factory seems like a feasible next step.
While the concept is sound, it could be a while before AI and robotics technologies can make robo-repairs in a factory possible.
Better machine parts and improved systems could help reduce downtime. Indramat built its first servo motors more than half a century ago. The result was burly, workhorse motors that require little attention. Many motors that were installed in the 1980s still run perfectly today without any problems.
Even though your legacy motion control system still keeps you competitive today, it’s naive to think that industrial motion control technologies have peaked. So long as there is a desire to improve, technology will advance.
Manufacturers should expect to see motors, drives, actuators, controls, and every other component involved in industrial motion control (maybe even some that don’t exist yet) get better. Improved components and new methods could help make downtime become a thing of the past.
But while we’re living in the present, we can help keep your current motion control system running like it should. Call us today for any Indramat services you may need!