Streamlining maintenance to be faster, safer, and more economically efficient is no easy feat. This holds true whether it’s a smaller-scale operation or an enterprise-level facility. Bringing automation into the equation is a clear necessity to remain competitive. But extending this type of automation to maintenance services poses a significant challenge.

Looking at the problem from a multi-tiered perspective, the best case solution comes through both the Internet as well as automation. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) utilize an expansive range of technology to detect and communicate issues to staff.

Additionally, integrating these tools with smart technology and sensors on equipment using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connects automation and machine-based sensors to people in an intuitive way. That means that using these two components together can open up the manufacturing world to even greater potential.

Regaining Full Control with the IIoT

At its heart, smart machines utilizing the Industrial Internet of Things can give you much better control over your manufacturing components. These systems improve maintenance programs by enhancing operations, creating specific benchmarks, monitoring ongoing operations, and developing maintenance trends to prevent complications.

This type of system balances three very important manufacturing components:

  1. Efficiency
  2. Safety
  3. Equipment Function

By incorporating these three areas, a manufacturing operation can shift its approach from reactive to proactive.

Reactive maintenance refers to operating until something breaks down. This creates high stress for technicians as operations are usually halted until a repair can be made.

Proactive maintenance, on the other hand, creates ongoing maintenance schedules to keep everything moving smoothly. When a balanced proactive maintenance approach is used, a company can save time, money, and lots of stress for technicians.

Connecting the Dots to a CMMS

Adopting various technological solutions through the IIoT is only one component to a larger objective. That objective is better overall company operation that reduces downtime and maximizes efficiency.

Here’s how this connection can work within an operation:

  1. IIoT machinery senses specific parameters which are transmitted and collected as data.
  2. Various machine controls, including programmable logic controls (PLC) and OPC technology, can send their data over to a CMMS.
  3. Based on that data, automated responses such as maintenance work orders, mobile alerts, and other notifications can be configured.
  4. These systems can be further refined to incorporate proactive maintenance – preventing downtime and improving efficiency.

Finding Trends and Overcoming Obstacles

Automated maintenance operations can certainly help speed up downtime or prevent catastrophic failures. Beyond this benefit, however, there’s even more that a well-integrated CMMS/IIoT solution can offer.

Data received from IIoT hardware can be compiled and analyzed to identify key trends, pain points, or problem areas. Better understanding this data can lead to significant improvements in how a company works.

Data trends can help determine maintenance schedules, operations, and efficiency. Over time, it can even show a company the next logical point of expansion to accommodate growth.

The Power of the People

As data continues to move forward in what it can report and how it can integrate with a company, even better maintenance is on the horizon. A thoughtfully designed operation can take IIoT data, bring it into a CMMS, and use it for better proactive maintenance with preventive trends.

Taking this potential even further, predictive maintenance is also an increasingly popular aspect of data trend analysis. Predictive maintenance can help maintenance technicians better anticipate when equipment will require specific maintenance or replacement. The better a system works, the more accurate this type of predictive data can be.

Behind all the technology, however, people are still the most valuable asset in making a company work better. Adopting technology only goes so far in how a business functions. Getting a staff fully onboard with that technology is what takes IIoT equipment, CMMS use, and related components to even greater heights.