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Driving Total Productive Maintenance with Industry 4.0 technologies

Paul Smitherman |

New technologies are enabling manufacturing to become increasingly effective and productive. Industry 4.0 is all about interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data to help and improve the effectiveness of employee work processes. But intelligent manufacturing and maintenance presents many challenges to organisations as they look to drive change in the way they manufacture and provide services.

The need to communicate, share, understand and control what’s going on in the field is critical for future success. Manufacturers need to ensure all equipment is in top working condition and that the latest interfaces are making life easier for the next generation of technicians, giving them user-friendly mobile tools and offline capability particularly when working out in remote areas. In planning and scheduling, they need the right planification platform that will accelerate insight into backlog, pipeline activity and workload and then be able to answer questions such as “Can the technicians do the work?”, “Are they competent?”, and “Are they able to do it on time?”.

One approach that supports this is Total Productive Maintenance. This aims to drive business value in manufacturing by enhancing quality and continuously improving the way companies run their machinery and equipment, process and people, often across borders and continents. With the right technology and fast access to data they can track and measure performance for future continuous improvement and avoid delays in their manufacturing processes.

Making maintenance intelligent with TPM

TPM’s seven pillars includes “Autonomous Maintenance” which focuses on how your equipment and machines are continuously monitored and adjusted and can give machine operators automated information without having to do anything. It also includes “Focused Improvement” which looks at how your equipment is maintained and how you can do it better tomorrow with intelligent technology and productive-enhancing tools.

4.0 technologies (IoT, machine learning, algorithms and predictive analytics) are bringing previously unseen possibilities in maintenance, reliability and condition monitoring. Computer assisted decision-making in manufacturing uses algorithms to give the maintenance operator hints about what to do; whether to repair or replace, and other decisions based on costs and functioning. It also supports predictive maintenance which helps determine when equipment needs repairing or servicing rather than reactively waiting for a call-out.

Innovate or lose out

If you don’t innovate you will inevitably lose out to other manufacturing companies who are innovating. But with a combined approach you can connect your existing equipment with the internet, machine learning, IoT and algorithms, and integrate it with your SAP Maintenance & Service system within your ERP, bridging any legacy gaps and reducing costs of having to invest heavily.

Now is the time to take your asset management within SAP to the next level and proactively digitise your processes from scheduling through to field execution to achieve Total Productive Maintenance.


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