Will the Internet of Things move our businesses from preventative to predictive maintenance?

Will the Internet of Things move our businesses from preventative to predictive maintenance?

My first job out of university was with the oldest lift manufacturer in Melbourne, Edmiston & O’Neil, working on lift services.

Often I was the guy on the end of the phone speaking with people stuck in a lift, they were never happy about the experience.

As a small company in North Melbourne, E&O provided reactive maintenance and a break fix service. Sure they had a maintenance schedule they tried to run to but they were less than reliable at proactive maintenance and certainly did not perceive value in replacing working components before they failed. This is the typical old school approach to maintenance of mechanical systems.

ThyssenKrupp (as featured in this two-minute video) maintain over one million lifts globally. When they wanted to provide better maintenance, they looked for technology to predict failures so they could replace components before they failed. This has proven to be a most cost-effective style of service as they can reduce the number of expensive emergency call outs and so reduce person hours per lift maintained.

To do this they turned to the Internet of Things (IoT). They placed sensors in strategic places within their machinery to report back to a cloud-based database and then used smart predictive analytics to find signals of wear and tear. The output from this analysis is then put out on dashboards in the control centres around the world to drive actions for maintenance.

This smart use of technology applied to large scale maintenance jobs makes a lot of sense as the savings are in the multiple millions of dollars. While ThyssenKrupp may be a pioneer in this space in its industry, what they have done is accessible to all of us as the tools they have used are all in the cloud and are affordable on a small scale or a large scale. The sensors are inexpensive and the pathways from machine to report to decision to action are established.

Here in Australia it is time we looked at how these global leaders are changing their businesses and moved from our conservative ‘she’ll be right’ mentality to a more aggressive stance of competition through innovation. When your competitors locally make use of these new technologies, while you are still using six or eight-year-old PCs and servers, you will realise your market place has left you behind.

Now is the time to give your CIO a voice to drive innovation and a competitive stance in your industry, be it mechanical services, manufacturing, logistics, aviation or some other technical services industry.

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?


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