Uptime as a Service Can Change the Business Model for Machine Builders

May 6, 2019
Think of it as “uptime as a service.” That’s the way many machine builders are coming to recognize the potential that providing long-term predictive maintenance services for customers can offer as a new revenue stream.

The ability of an OEM to offer machine-wide maintenance services encompasses far more than identifying the status of individual components. Technology now allows a machine builder to remotely monitor the machine-wide performance of its entire fleet, issue alerts to operators or maintenance technicians before components fail, quickly diagnosis fault and order consumables or new components as needed.

The convergence of automation and IT technologies can provide instant communication to operators, managers and OEMs about the availability and effectiveness of the machines responsible. This connected and digitized value chain can give visibility to every aspect of machine performance, operator effectiveness and production throughput and quality.

The capabilities for enhanced transparency in a manufacturing or packaging line are now built into Mitsubishi automation products and need only to be activated by the OEM or manufacturer, enabling vast amounts of production and machine health data to be analyzed and acted upon in real time. Leveraging this data can lead to significant performance and cost improvements while minimizing energy usage and material waste.

Critical to maximizing uptime is the ability of machinery to forewarn and forecast maintenance issues. The value of analytics—long-term runtime monitoring for behavior patterns and deviations, as well as analysis of root cause or likely cause--is critical to optimizing production runs and machine availability. The data can also be analyzed for aggregate failure modes, wear items, customer operating characteristics and usage of consumables.

“Mitsubishi Electric servos, for example, have the unique ability to auto-tune and auto-compensate for vibration anomalies while providing alarms when maintenance is required,” explains Daniel Zachacki, senior product marketing engineer.

These comprehensive machine or system -monitoring capabilities include:

  • Motion modeling based on changes in the coulomb and viscous friction of guides and ball screws.
  • Vibration suppression and compensation of aging guides, ball screws and belts.

Machine modeling based on live or real-time process data enables users to monitor, share and adjust machine settings based on actual operating conditions

By monitoring machine-wide operation, historical data like this can help determine a component’s lifetime in that specific machine and operating environment.

“Users want components that work and talk together, so that technicians can fix and identify a problem quickly. That’s where Mitsubishi has an advantage, because everything you need to accomplish this is already inside, at no additional cost,” says Zachacki.

“We’re not just looking at our own products; we’re showing you what is causing changes in mechanical systems and in the machine itself. This provides the information you need to understand how the whole machine is functioning. All you have to do is click the button.”

The capabilities of key Mitsubishi automation components include PLCs with built-in data logger and event logging, relay monitoring, memory dump and network diagnostics; HMIs with automatic backup/restore of PLC programs and servo/VFD parameters, as well as multiple ways such as speakers, email and HMI displays to provide maintenance alerts.

Servos have both predictive maintenance and machine diagnostics features, and life cycles can also be monitored for both servos and VFDs. This is critical for controlling movement and safety features, as well as accessing sensor feedback. Interfaces with MES systems and visualization tools complete the package.

“Maintenance needs to be viewed as a system that benefits both owners and OEMs by reducing total cost of ownership,” adds Zachacki. “For OEMs in particular, machine-wide maintenance can both unlock future revenue and build a brand identified with quality.”

To read more, visit https://mitsubishisolutions.com/machine-utilization/

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