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How smart is your maintenance?

Intelligent maintenance is urgently needed - what makes managers hesitate?

Smart Maintenance has become a technological requirement, because the Smart Factory as a vision of the future also demands the vision of intelligent maintenance. The use of new technologies creates an intelligent and networked production. The necessary technological innovations secure a sustainable and innovative existence for companies.

Predictive maintenance requires a software-based, centralised solution: statistical risk analyses or programs based on AI evaluating real-time data. However, studies show that most companies have no or only insufficient technological foundations. Is this the reason why companies are hesitant to engage in intelligent maintenance?

Why should a factory invest in Smart Maintenance?

Production plants can be monitored and their data analysed; malfunctions or breakdowns can be prevented. The digital transformation to innovative Smart Maintenance is a required building block for guaranteeing a flawless production without failures in the future.

High-performance maintenance of production plants and all components ensures one an important goal of every manufacturing company: remaining competitive and keeping up with the latest technologies. Especially in a Smart Factory, timely maintenance measures and of course coordination with all parties involved play an important role.

What is a Smart Factory?

With Industry 4.0 we are experiencing the beginning of a new industrial age worldwide. Machines and plants are networked, equipped with state-of-the-art automation, information and communication technology. Cyber-physical systems, or CPS for short, are created with the help of embedded systems. Sensors and actuators, which are responsible for external perception in robotics, become part of the smallest computers. They enable the complete networking of almost all production elements, which can thus pass on data. The goal is the Smart Factory - a digitally networked factory: the basis for holistically oriented optimal decisions.

Smart Factory and Smart Maintenance are equally a technological requirement of the future. What exactly are the future goals of Smart Maintenance?

Gabler's business lexicon defines that as follows:

"Smart Maintenance has a direct influence on the direct success factors of time, costs and quality of a production system. [...] The aim of Smart Maintenance is to maximise the technical and economic effectiveness of maintenance measures under the holistic view of the respective production system."

Source: Gablers Wirtschaftslexikon


A glance into the Smart Factory.

Source: Teera Konakan @ gettyimages

How can you find out at what level of transformation you are?

First of all, there has to be real and true commitment to the digital transformation towards a future Smart Maintenance in the company or all following activities are going to be fruitless. Where do companies stand at the current point in time? Studies on the state of development in Smart Maintenance are of international significance, as this German study by acatech and the Fraunhofer Institute: The subject of the study is the status quo of current efforts of companies to implement intelligent maintenance and where they stand today. 96 companies from various industries were interviewed.

Do you want to find out where your company stands?

Answer the following questions and find out: Complete the questionnaire and consider where you would agree. 

1. Predictive maintenance requires a software-based, centralised solution:
statistical risk analyses or AI-based programmes evaluate real-time data. Most companies have little or no technological basis.

✔ Applies to me! / - Does not apply.

2. Production is prioritised over maintenance.
Maintenance measures are planned only slightly in advance.

3. Only the employees have the knowledge and experience:
currently, knowledge management systems are insufficiently followed and used in maintenance.

4. Digital assistance systems are considered by my staff as not very practical
or not necessary: They play a subordinate role in maintenance.

5. Dimensioning of spare parts:
Decisions are based partly on digitally recorded historical data, partly on data that cannot be verified (empirical values or manufacturer's data).

For the digitisation process, it is absolutely necessary to build up and promote competences within the company - there is an urgent need for action.

The importance of maintenance for the success of the company is not sufficiently appreciated.


Agreed with more than five points? My personal experience shows that many companies are unfortunately stuck in the development towards the future vision of Smart Maintenance. In fact, most companies are at a point where they want to change and no longer want to do without artificial intelligence support to maintain competitiveness but now the big question is - How to go about it?

First of all, you yourself must be a believer in  the importance of a digital form of maintenance. Find a partner for whom this is also very clear - and one who can tell from experience where the changes will occur and how they will affect your factories, your processes and company. One who can identify the opportunities together with you and who can also quantify them. Technology solutions are out there and some are out-of-the-box, but in the end it is your partner's experience that counts. 

Conclusion: The use of digital technology in maintenance can deliver instant benefits.

I'm already working on my next blog post!


Event note:

IoT TECH EXPO GLOBAL 2021 on 17-18 march 2021, Olympia London, UK


If you have any questions or suggestions, write directly to Héctor Fernández or

Follow Héctor Fernández on LinkedIn.

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