Question: What is “the world’s most common and safest mode of transportation?”
Wait for it…
Answer: Elevators. Those ubiquitous mobile cubicles found in office buildings all over the planet. Elevators are big business, and the manufacturing and servicing these machines is no easy venture. German-based Thyssen Krupp, one of the world’s leading elevator companies, has turned to a disruptive approach to machine maintenance to keep the trains—i.e. elevators–running on time.
As Thyssen Krupp tells it, “Worldwide, more than 12 million elevators make seven billion trips and move over one billion people every day. Yet every year, maintenance needs render elevators unavailable for a total of 190 million hours.”
The deck is stacked against efficiently maintaining that kind of fleet; or at least it used to be.
With the advent of IoT (Internet of Things) machine sensor technology, machine learning, and cloud-based asset maintenance software, digital prescriptive maintenance can be conducted as easily as the touch of a button.
Thyssen Krupp employs predictive machine maintenance to dramatically increase elevator availability by reducing out-of-service situations through real-time diagnostics. They are able to predict maintenance issues before they occur, and alert elevator engineers by flagging the need to replace components and systems before the end of their lifecycle.
Thyssen Krupp believes that the growing requirement of high-speed and energy-efficient elevators in hotels, hospitals, parking buildings, commercial, residential, and industrial sector will be boosting demand for IoT in elevators market.
Other manufacturers are taking to predictive maintenance to manage the machines running their factory floors and the machines their customers rely on. Sensing end-user demand, manufacturers are focusing on the development of smart products with interactive touch screen panels, intuitive technology, and cloud-predictive maintenance. Customers are looking for manufactured products that are highly efficient, effective, and engaging. The demand is going up for smart products.
First, it’s important to distinguish between predictive and preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance, a.k.a reactive maintenance, breakdown maintenance or run-to-failure, is a maintenance practice that seeks to decrease the likelihood of a machine’s failure through the performance of regular maintenance. However, predictive maintenance relies on data to determine a machine’s likelihood of failure before that failure occurs. This allows manufacturers to move from a repair and replace model to a predict and fix maintenance model using predictive analysis.
The good news is, machine monitoring costs less than you think (see our June blog). Rather than having to alter or rebuild existing infrastructures, bolt-on monitoring solutions like our ShiftWorx Platform are bolt-on, making them extremely simple to incorporate on the shop-floor. Machine monitoring solutions can help manufacturers save on production costs, helping pay off the system in days rather than months and years. Once switched on, machine monitoring solutions instantly start paying themselves off. Learn more.
The main objectives or rewards for manufacturers to move to a predictive maintenance model are about improving production efficiency and improving maintenance efficiency. The cost savings can be enormous.
A recent McKinsey Global Institute report as one of the most valuable applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the factory floor. The report, The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype, calculated that predictive maintenance manufacturers’ savings would total $240 to $630 billion in 2025.
Predictive maintenance in factories could reduce maintenance cost by 10 to 40 percent by fostering better maintenance, according to McKinsey. It also reduces downtime by 50 percent and lowers equipment and capital investment by 3 to 5 percent by extending machine life.
A report by Deloitte University Press, Industry 4.0 and manufacturing ecosystems provides examples in which, for companies like Schneider Electric and Caterpillar, predictive maintenance and understanding root cause of failures can offer millions of dollars in potential savings along with far fewer days of equipment downtime.
The McKinsey study calculated that predictive maintenance manufacturers’ savings would total $240 to $630 billion in 2025. Predictive maintenance in factories could reduce maintenance cost by 10 to 40 percent by fostering better maintenance, according to McKinsey.
GE Transportation is moving toward self-aware locomotives and digitalization of the entire rail operation system. Sensors mounted on railcars enable operators to receive real-time notifications about the condition of key railcar components, as well as broader risk events related to broken wheels, hot bearings, and handbrake application. Using predictive maintenance, GE Transportation is applying the technology to help extend the life of locomotives, reduce fuel consumption, decrease emissions, boost velocity and improve operations.
And we come full circle…
Thyssen Krupp competitor, Otis Elevators, “the world’s largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products”–elevators, escalators and moving walkways—is using smart sensor technology in its “Otis ONE” digital platform that monitors and gathers data from more than 300,000 connected units to create predictive insights and a more proactive service solution for their customers. This allows Otis teams to stay ahead of potential issues – keeping equipment running and passengers moving safely and reliably. In the event when service is required, OTISLINE customer care can proactively contact the customer and service professionals to arrive on site with the information and parts needed to enable a faster return to service.
Predictive maintenance in manufacturing is becoming the norm, not the exception
Autonomous operations in manufacturing may be futuristic in the eyes of some but your business can start moving towards operational intelligence. For example, ask yourself, how do factory analytics impact your business and what software will work with your current manufacturing execution system (MES) to give you the data that is critical to your business. Do you have intelligent software solutions in place to help manage your maintenance and service operations to make them more efficient?
For more on how technology can help you improve your own maintenance needs and open services-based offerings for your customers while enabling cost savings and productivity gains throughout your organization, get in touch with us.
As a proud member of the Canadian Tool and Machining Association (CTMA), FreePoint is excited to again be attending the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in London, Ontario. The Annual General Meeting is always a great opportunity to learn about the association’s accomplishments over the past year, while also setting the stage for the years to come. We’re looking forward to hearing what is sure to be an insightful and inspiring Keynote Address by Scott Kress and can’t wait to congratulate this year’s Apprentice Award Recipients.
The CTMA represents Canadian tooling manufacturers at various levels of government and works together with other associations to promote and protect the interests of the overall manufacturing industry.
If you’re a tooling and machining manufacturer within Canada, you should consider reaching out to the CTMA to become a part of this rewarding community.
Just in case you don’t know the term, “hitting the Trifecta” is an expression used to describe the ultimate winning bet on a horse race. It refers to picking the top 3 finishers of the race, in the correct order. Since the odds against doing so are extremely low, the winning payouts are often extremely high. If you picked the right horses in the right order, a two-dollar bet could return a 4-digit payout.
Wouldn’t it be great to know which 3 horses to bet on, and in which order?
In many manufacturing companies in North America today, there are many competing ideas and priorities being considered by companies:
- What is the most important improvement to make first?
- What investment will yield the biggest return?
- Which improvements will prove critical, and which ones will result in minimal, if any, gain?
There is an approach that your manufacturing company can follow to “hit the trifecta”. It’s a simple 3 step process. The first step is easy, and relatively low cost. The second step requires a bit more effort but is risk mitigated because it is based on the results delivered in step 1. The third step requires the most investment, but since it is based on the results delivered in the first 2 steps, it is not only risk mitigated, but the cost of the investment may have already been paid for by the results of the first 2 steps. Picking the order is just as important as picking the horses.
I want to show you how you can hit the trifecta in your plant.
Pulling off the Manufacturing Trifecta
Step 1: Establish an empirical baseline to truly understand the critical “value-adding” activities on your plant floor. This is done simply by connecting your machines to FreePoint’s ShiftWorx system. It is remarkably inexpensive and can be typically be done in less than an hour without modifying the machine or your current infrastructure. Within 30 days of placing this small bet, you will not only have established an empirical baseline of your plant, but you will also have given real-time visibility to the plant that puts everyone on the same page, aiming for the same thing you are: productivity and profit improvement.
Step 2: Engage your people in the process of improvement by using FreePoint’s Narrative software. You will now be collecting all the information you need to determine all the reasons your equipment and processes aren’t running as effectively as they should be. And more importantly than that, you will have made your people a part of the solution and improvement process, every hour of every day. They will be engaged. FreePoint’s Narrative software is embraced by workers when they conclude that management is not monitoring them, but rather listening to them. This is a powerful game-changer for many companies, especially those companies where people are their biggest input cost. Those same people can also be their biggest asset.
Step 3: Connect your live, empirical machine data, and your fully engaged people, to your schedule and workflow plan dynamically – in real-time. Most plants use a combination of accounting systems, whiteboards, even excel spreadsheets, to plan and then report on the performance of their productivity. Some may have an ERP system deployed and some may even be considering an MES system. The problem with most ERP and MES system deployments is that it represents a single, very large bet, that will take a very long time to pay out if it pays out at all. FreePoint’s approach is to use what was gained (knowledge, insight, plus early financial payback) from the first 2 stages, tying them together in a process using visualization tools that line up with your plant’s current effective processes. Placing a bet on a system that takes years to fully implement and requires your manufacturing processes to be modified for the system to work is not just a bad bet, it’s often a losing bet.
If you are still reading, you are probably wondering how long it should take to hit this trifecta. The first step should take 30 days and should result in a payback 30 days later. The second step should take 30 days, and it too should result in a payback in 30 days. The third step should take about 120 days, but it can take as long as you like, because at that point, you will already have great empirical data, engaged and motivated people, and your system can be built to match your improved, and continually improving, manufacturing processes.
What is the expected payback on hitting this trifecta? From our experience, our customers typically see a 10% to 15% improvement at step 1, a further 10% to 15% improvement after step 2, and a 20% to 30% improvement after step 3. Doing the math, that would work out to productivity improvement, or capacity increase, of between 45% and 79%.
There it is, now you have the knowledge on which horses to bet on! Our suggestion: bet on achieving empirical data first, engaging your people second, and digitizing your plan third.
Call FreePoint to get started today.
FreePoint’s Narrative – it’s not management watching operators, it’s management listening to operators!
As the Co-Founder and Chairman of FreePoint Technologies, I often find myself speaking with curious prospects who ask a few similar questions:
- “how does it work?” (how does it increase productivity)
- “how do the operators feel about being monitored?”
The Narrative Application works because it encourages management to listen to their operators, not watch them.
The machine data collected from the ShiftWorx system tells management everything it needs to know about the performance of a machine when it is producing parts. However, the best source of information regarding periods of time when the machine is not producing parts is the operator. Before Narrative was connected to a machine, there were no effective, operator-friendly ways of collecting that valuable operator sourced information.
Narrative Showing Downtime Periods Explained With Reason Codes
Our Narrative solution allows every customer to easily create their own down time categories and conditions unique to their process and company. Many customers often have a list of events they want to track, but since they track them manually, the events are not captured or reported accurately, nor in real-time. Narrative automatically sets the time boundaries of the event and requires only a simple click on the downtime period to associate the condition to the event. Simple. Quick. Accurate. The result is empirical and actionable information on demand, at the click of a mouse or touch of a finger.
Sample Downtime Report Summary Showing Downtime Codes/Events by Minutes and Frequency
The important part: putting these insights into action in a way that ensures management is listening to its operators, and not simply monitoring machines.
Operators will have their own list of things they believe prevent them from doing a good job. “Looking for tools” is an example I hear often from operators and is a great example of an opportunity to put insight into action right away. A small investment in tools, toolboxes, or tool boards will deliver a quick return on investment right away with saved downtime and will demonstrate that you not only value employee input, but listen to it.
Reason codes entered in Narrative provides a real-time explanation for bottlenecks in your process. Quick response changes have a huge impact; you no longer have to wait 2-3 days to discover what is actually happening on your plant floor and more importantly, the changes that need to be made.
Our studies have shown that simply measuring and displaying up-time in a meaningful and relevant way results in immediate productivity improvements of 10% – 15%, and fully engaging your operators can result in an additional 10% – 15% improvement. (not sure how to do that? Just ask us!)
If you are using FreePoint’s ShiftWorx system to monitor machine up-time, take the next step to understand why your machines are down and to shine the light on the bottlenecks preventing improvements to your production.
If you don’t monitor your machines with ShiftWorx, what are you waiting for?
For any business, the process of implementing any new technology can often seem like a costly and time-consuming task. Industry 4.0 and machine monitoring is no exception.
Emerging technologies and existing technological advancements are paving the way for a revolution in the manufacturing industry; but how much does being a part of this revolution cost? Well, that depends on the technology.
Why Bolt-on Solutions Are Less Expensive
Unlike robotics, AI and fully automated factories, machine monitoring is relatively inexpensive. Instead of the intensive and often costly installation of AI and robotics, machine monitoring can be installed with minimal cost and disruption to machine operations. Rather than having to alter or rebuild existing infrastructures, bolt-on monitoring solutions like our ShiftWorx Platform are bolt-on, making them extremely simple to incorporate on the shop-floor.
By installing our hardware without disrupting machine production, we can provide a cost-efficient solution that saves you money and never contributes to machine downtime. By maintaining a low overhead cost, our solutions also experience impressively quick ROI. In fact, one of our clients managed to achieve an additional +160 hours of machine output per month—both saving and making them a lot more money in the process.
When manufacturers are asked what their plant utilization rate is, most plant managers give an answer anywhere between 65-75%. In most cases after machine monitoring is implemented, the actual percentage is revealed to be closer to 25-32%. That massive variance illustrates how quickly machine monitoring solutions can help manufacturers save on production costs, helping payoff the system in days rather than months and years. Once switched on, machine monitoring solutions instantly start paying themselves off.
Overall, transitioning to IIoT doesn’t have to break the bank. By piggy-backing off existing infrastructures as opposed to rebuilding them, machine monitoring can be an attainable and inexpensive means of innovating your production process and enhancing your plant’s productivity.
Get a free quote today and find out for yourself how attainable IIoT can be for your organization.
It is with great pride that we announce FreePoint Technologies has officially saved our clients more than forty-five million dollars (See the live counter). Providing our clients with better insight into their production processes has enabled them to increase efficiency as well as profitability, resulting in immense cost savings. To commemorate such a massive milestone, we wanted to look back on what got us to this point.
We started FreePoint with a simple idea: to connect people to machines, regardless of age—in order to help manufacturers prosper. In this pursuit, we have pioneered a method of non-invasively installing equipment that gives manufacturers more control over their process. By helping better connect people to their machines, we have done more than just save our clients money. In addition, we have also helped them recover more than eleven million minutes of valuable production time.
We have always been about building connections— between people, as well as machines. As we surpass forty-five million dollars saved, we want to thank everybody who has connected with us along the way. We could not have reached this milestone without your continued support and commitment.
Fifty million, here we come!
FreePoint Technologies is proud to announce that we have been featured in CIO Applications’ Top 10 Digital Manufacturing Solution Providers.
Our Senior Vice President, John Traynor, sat down with CIO Applications to discuss how FreePoint differentiates itself while addressing the needs of manufacturers and ensuring the security of their data.
Referencing our ShiftWorx Platform, John explained how we “enable operators to monitor machine performance in real time and document any shortcomings with the click of a button or the tap of a screen”, while maintaining a lower cost than most competitors. As the article outlines, the ShiftWorx platform is installed non-invasively and can take as little as 30 minutes to set up, making it easy to retrofit onto any machine, and keeping implementation costs low.
By avoiding physical connections between ShiftWorx and the machines, FreePoint can mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks:
“FreePoint’s non- invasive solution involves using sensors instead of attaching hardware to a programmable logic controller (PLC). The solution does not interfere with machine operations nor is it a vector for cyber-attacks on the machinery.”
Read the article for yourself to learn more about how FreePoint is helping to revolutionize the manufacturing industry.