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Manufacturing Machine Maintenance the Smart Way

Question: What is “the world’s most common and safest mode of transportation?”

Wait for it…

elevator maintenance freepoint technologies

Elevators have long been the most common and safest form of transportation.

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.

machine maintenance freepoint technologies

Historically, manufacturers have practiced preventative maintenance.

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 Rewards

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.

locomotive freepoint technologies

Locomotive technology has come a long way since the invention of the steam engine.

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.

Machine Monitoring Costs Less Than You Think

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.

Employee Looking at a ScreenWhen 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.

4 Ways to Increase Production Capacity (With the Same Headcount)

For many manufacturers, increasing efficiency and production capacity is the primary focus. However, where the challenge really lies is in increasing production capacity without hiring additional staff or purchasing more machines.

Fortunately, manufacturers can leverage industry 4.0 as a driver for growth as well as productivity; with machine monitoring technology, you can unlock the full potential of your factory, and those who operate within it.

Machine monitoring provides a long list of benefits to manufacturers, these benefits result in increased production capacity and increased profitability. For a real world example, a client of ours managed to improve overall efficiency by a 69% in just 1 year – saving roughly $325/day without increasing personnel or machines.

Read below to learn the 4 ways to increase productivity without hiring new employees or procuring new equipment.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement through machine monitoring is focused on inviting collaboration between management and machine operators. It is not a “big-brother” tactic, quite the opposite actually, by showing employees how their contribution affects the big picture, you help unite management and plant employees working towards the same goals.

Using visualized dashboards, employees can easily see their role in the manufacturing process from a data perspective – which helps them fully realize the value of their contribution. This can even evolve into a “gamified” environment, as employees compete to see who can be most productive. This encourages employees to constantly improve, as they can now view their performance in real-time.

Downtime Narration

Machine monitoring allows for real-time narration of downtime, another way a manufacturer can leverage IIoT to increase production capacity, without increasing headcount. Not only is downtime narration critical for plant managers seeking seamless production, it’s also a strong motivator for employees as well. Obtaining insight into what causes delays allows employees to better understand the impact of any delays in their work station.

It’s important to understand all data is good data. Even unexpected downtime or broken machines can give you valuable insight into your process. With proper real-time narration, managers can identify and mitigate root causes of machine downtime, as well as highlight strong points in the production chain.

Bottleneck Identification

Like we mentioned earlier, machine monitoring provides valuable insight into your manufacturing processes, one of those insights is bottleneck identification. When one process is being delayed due to another person or machines performance, you know exactly where along the workflow the delay is occurring – empowering you to address the problem in real-time, and create fixes to prevent it from happening in the future. By proactively identifying holdups in your process, you are better positioned to make actionable changes to your workflow that will increase both efficiency and productivity.

Maintenance Alerts

Machine monitoring also enables a more proactive approach to machine maintenance. Rather than having to wait for someone to notice a machine is broken, then communicate that to management, you can get real-time alerts as issues arise. That means a significantly faster response time when a machine unexpectedly goes down, and a much quicker fix. It all comes down to maximizing machine uptime, the more value-added time that a machine contributes, the more efficient your plant becomes.

Are you ready to Increase your Production Capacity without Adding more People or Machines?

With FreePoint’s globally deployed solution, manufacturers are seeing near-immediate benefits to their processes. Increased efficiency, mitigated machine downtime, and improved employee engagement are accessible benefits to all those willing to shift into the IIoT world.  Machine monitoring not only helps management make more informed decisions, it also provides real-time visibility into individual contributions and the entire production process overall.

If you’re interested in saving time and money, being proactive about your machine maintenance, and gaining total transparency into your entire production process, you should consider making the transition to industry 4.0.

Improvements To Productivity By Minimizing Downtime With FreePoint’s Notifications

FreePoint’s Notifications product uses the ShiftWorx platform to send out alert messages by e-mail or SMS text message when a specific machine condition has been met. These conditions are typically when a machine is off or not performing as expected.

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How Reason Codes Help Reduce Machine Downtime

The worst enemy of any manufacturer is machine downtime. How to control and mitigate downtime is a constant battle for manufacturers trying to increase efficiency and maintain peak production. At FreePoint, through machine monitoring and production tracking technologies, we work with manufacturers to minimize downtime as much as possible, while maximizing machine output.

One of the ways we help manufacturers control their machine downtime is with Reason Codes, the backbone of downtime narration in our ShiftWorx platform. When a machine becomes idle, operators can apply a reason code to categorize that downtime period. Rather than seeing a machine offline for 20 minutes with no explanation, plant managers can see in real-time what the cause of the delay is— and address it. Those small increments of time add up, 10 minutes here or there can be worth over 6 figures in a year.

Using Reason Codes, you can:

  • Diagnose Machine Downtime Causes and Apply Solutions
  • Alert Decision Makers in Real-Time to Plant Floor Issues
  • Identify Machine Maintenance Needs
  • Empower Employees to be Part of the Solution

FreePoint’s ShiftWorx dashboard visualizes machine performance with one-click application of downtime reason codes.

Identify Downtime Causes

With reason codes, employees and managers can easily identify factors impacting machine downtime. Whether the reason is “waiting on materials” or “needs repair”, everybody is made aware of what factors are contributing to delays— valuable data for plant managers seeking to increase efficiency and achieve seamless production in real time. If someone has transparency into delay causes, they are more motivated to solve the cause of the delay. This makes the overall process more efficient and engaging.

Keeping Everyone in the Know

Reason codes also help mitigate machine downtime with real-time alerts. When reduced productivity or machine delays are detected, notifications are sent to all devices connected to our ShiftWorx platform, through SMS or email. Real-time alerts increase response time to problems that impact production—meaning solutions are found faster, and the length as well as the frequency of downtime can be decreased.

Identifying Downtime Patterns

By comparing actual performance to projected performance, you can benchmark productivity against past data to identify opportunities for improvement. A recurring reason code could indicate a machine issue in need of maintenance, or another machine consistently causing delays. Identifying these factors better positions plant managers to rectify them and prevent them from happening in the future.

It is important to understand that all data is good data. Even un-anticipated downtime, machine breakdowns or inefficient scheduling can give you crucial insight into your operation. When machine monitoring hardware works in tandem with data visualization, you can see every performance detail from any machine, regardless of industry or age of machine.

Schedule a demo today and learn what ShiftWorx can do for you!

Increasing Efficiency With FreePoint

About Caldwell

For more +130 years, Caldwell has created quality spring balances for window manufacturers around the world. Their products are everywhere from homes to schools, offices to hotels, even the United Nations Secretariat Building and the Empire State Building.

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FreePoint Opens First US Office

As a growing company that strives to think globally and act locally, FreePoint recognizes the importance of establishing permanent offices closer to the major markets and customers we serve. FreePoint recently opened its first US office, strategically located in the Seattle area. With existing offices in London, Ontario and Toronto, FreePoint looked further west for the site of its next office. Seattle is a gateway to Asia and the South Pacific, where FreePoint has a growing number of customer installations, and closer to FreePoint’s existing customers in Mexico. Washington state is also a major force in the Internet of Things (IoT) market and is home to cloud providers Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure) as well as major facilities for Boeing and many other aerospace manufacturers.

FreePoint Senior Vice-President John Traynor is responsible for growing and expanding FreePoint operations globally and will be based in the Seattle office. He has lived in the Seattle area for nearly 20 years and is a member of the Washington State IoT Council. John recently spoke at the Intelligence in Data Symposium held at the University of Washington. His presentation titled “Realtime Data in Industrial IoT” addressed the importance of getting meaningful live information to people on the plant floor so they can take action right away to improve manufacturing operations.

To contact the US office, please call +1 425.979.5990 or email Email Us: info@getfreepoint.com.

US Office:

8201 164th Ave NE, Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052

In The News: FreePoint At NRCC Innovation Hub

On November 30th the National Research Council, opened its doors to introduce the new $5-million Manufacturing and Automotive Innovation Hub. FreePoint was onsite demonstrating our machine monitoring capabilities and discussing the impact of this emerging technology on local manufacturers.

In The News: FreePoint Featured In Business London

Business London Magazine is a local Postmedia edition that publishes a monthly review of local businesses, news and trends covering a wide range of industry sectors. For the November issue, the theme was skilled trades in London with articles touching on local businesses and trade specialists ranging from general contractors, young trade students and prominent […]

7 Ways IIoT Solutions Are Driving Manufacturing Success

Manufacturers and industrialists in every sector are on the threshold of significant change. Industry 4.0 is the newest industrial revolution. It represents the use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), automation, sensor technology, and other innovative solutions to streamline the production and distribution process.

IIoT solutions not only monitor but also automate many of the complex processes involved in manufacturing. While systems have been created in the past that track production progress, IIoT technology focuses on providing in-depth details to managers and staff. Here are seven compelling ways IIoT is transforming the industry today.

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