#1. Low asset utilization due to sub-optimal asset availability impacting production
In manufacturing, asset utilization directly impacts the revenue of the business per dollar invested in an asset. Since manufacturing is an asset-intensive industry, improving asset utilization is essential to enhance production metrics, plant capacity, and ultimately, revenues.
Low asset utilization is typically caused by poor asset availability and puts manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage. Ineffective maintenance practices, suboptimal production run scheduling, and failure to maintain aging assets on time are typically the root causes of low asset utilization.
Our client sought to improve asset uptime and availability, which would enable them to maximize utilization of the plant machinery and achieve a competitive advantage in global markets.
#2. Unexpected failures leading to unplanned downtime of critical assets
Legacy maintenance practices entail carrying out maintenance routines and repairs at fixed intervals. However, such practices fail to account for aging assets, which break down more frequently than new ones, and for unique production environment parameters, which can cause assets to malfunction erratically.
Unplanned downtime can prove very expensive for manufacturers. Breakdown of critical assets can cost as much as $260,000/hr.
More importantly, eliminating unplanned downtime is not possible with legacy maintenance strategies like preemptive or reactive maintenance.
Our client wanted to maximize asset availability and uptime, which required them to mitigate unplanned downtime. For this, they sought to build a connected plant of the future, which could predict upcoming failures. This would enable them to conduct maintenance activities before critical assets broke down.
#3. Lack of control and predictability in production leading to high costs
Lack of complete control and predictability in plant operations has a direct bearing on production costs. For example, unplanned downtime can increase the cost of repairs and necessitate overtime for plant workers. Moreover, to meet production demands, organizations typically compensate by running multiple shifts, expediting shipments, and maintaining excess inventory. All these factors raise the production costs, thereby eroding the profit margins.
Our client sought to achieve better control and visibility into the production processes. This would enable them to optimize the production costs and manufacture machinery and consistent cost of production, which in turn, would increase the overall profits.
#4. Lack of visibility into plant assets and opportunities for preventive maintenance
Some machines in plants can be visually inspected for malfunction – for instance, conveyor belt slippage can be observed upon inspection, and appropriate maintenance procedures can then be carried out. However, such interventions are neither viable nor cost-effective on a plant-wide scale.
To spot the weak links in a manufacturing plant, it is necessary to have real-time visibility into all assets. Tracking key metrics and vibration signals of key equipment can help spot suboptimal functions and opportunities for predictive maintenance. Our client wanted to build this visibility into their manufacturing plants through a big data platform. This would help them spot opportunities for preventive maintenance, and mitigate the root cause of suboptimal performance in machines at a plant-wide level.