IIoT enabled Predictive Maintenance: Faster, Safer and more Economical Equipment Maintenance

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 automa­tioninto the equation is a clear necessity to remain competitive.

Barbara van der Walt

Eagle Technology, Inc.

Tel: 262-241-3845



Streamlining maintenance to be faster, safer, and more economically efficient is no easy feat. This holds true whether it’s as maller-scale operation or an enterprise-level facility. Bringing automa­tioninto the equation is a clear necessity to remain competitive. But extendingthis type of automation to maintenance services poses a significant challenge,especially in the spring and summer seasons.


Reactive maintenance refers to operating until something breaksdown. This creates high stress for technicians and managers as operations areusually halted until a repair can be made.

Traditional Preventive Maintenance addresses potential equipmentfailure by conducting pre­ventative maintenance at regularly scheduled times.These schedules tend to be very conser­vative, and are usually based onoperator judge­ment or experience. The result is a system that practicallyguarantees high maintenance costs, and is difficult to adapt to complex andchanging environments.

Proactive maintenance, on the other hand, cre­ates ongoingmaintenance schedules to keep everything moving smoothly. Instead of onlyservicing the equipment at a regular frequency (i.e., preventive maintenance),you monitor the equipment continuously to detect any signs of possible failure.This strategy gives you much more control over the operations of yourequip­ment. You can continue to schedule regular maintenance, since preventivemaintenance is essentially a good practice that helps you to take care of yourequipment, but at the same time you have the ability to check the health yourequipment at any given time, predict when a part is going to fail, and avoid unplanneddowntime.

If we can predict a part failure well in advance, we can schedulemaintenance/repair work for the part when it is convenient, while continuing tooperate the equipment to avoid unexpected downtime.


Predictive maintenance solutions help manu­facturers reducedowntime, improve equipment effectiveness, lower maintenance costs, andincrease return on assets. When a balanced pro­active maintenance approach isused, a com­pany can save time, money, and lots of stress for technicians.

This will help reduce large repair expenses, as the part will berepaired or replaced well before it fails, stopping it from causing furtherdamage to the equipment. Also, the productivity loss

from sudden and unexpected downtime will be minimal. The repairscan be done at an optimal time to ensure minimum impact on productivity.Reduction in both maintenance cost and loss of productivity can have asignificant impact on the bottom line of a business. Also, you would not needto schedule downtime just for the sake of inspection anymore, which results inproductiv­ity gains.


Adapting a Predictive Maintenance approach requires anunderstanding of how and why asset failure can occur, and identifying thewarning signs that indicate potential problems or fail­ure. By knowing whatfailure is likely to occur and when, maintenance schedule adjustments andrepairs can be performed before the asset breaks down.

The IoT is a network of intelligent computers, devices, andobjects that collect and share huge amounts of data. The application of the IoTto the manufacturing industry is called the IIoT (or Industrial Internet). TheIIoT will revolutionize manufacturing by enabling the acquisition andaccessibility of far greater amounts of data, at far greater speeds, and farmore efficiently than before. This means that manufacturing equip­ment canconnect and communicate its status back to software platforms.

Predictive Maintenance is based on the collec­tion, management,and intelligent use of histori­cal and current asset data from these connecteddevices. Data is collected from the equipment sensors on a frequent basis,normal behavior patterns are established, then finally, the data is analyzedfor possible patterns of failure. Connected machines can tell you they’re going to fail, before they fail. Organizations can trans-form real-time machinedata into actionable metrics to boost productivity by preventing or minimizingunscheduled downtime. Routine time-based preventive maintenance can become athing of the past because the assets are idled only when necessary. This methodfocuses on “asset health,” performing services and repairs based on the asset’sfailure to meet prescribed performance objectives.


Adopting various technological solutions through the IIoT is onlyone component to a larger objec­tive. That objective is better overall companyoperation that reduces downtime and maximizes efficiency.

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

1.      IIoT machinery senses specific parameters which are transmittedand 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 workorders, mobile alerts, and other notifications can be config­ured.

4.      These systems can be further refined to incorporate proactive maintenance– pre­venting downtime and improving efficiency.

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

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