That is precisely the question and then also the difference between condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. Magical terms that make the difference between a relaxed, smooth production process, delivery capability and adherence to contracts, and also what production can cost. Reason enough to briefly explain what is behind these terms and – if you have not already done so – why it is worth thinking about.
The plant is running. No error messages, no failures. Everything is fine. Now. At this very moment. But what will it be like tomorrow? The day after tomorrow? Next week? Not only for the good feeling it would be important to know how it looks in the machine, how the condition of the wearing parts actually is, right? Such monitoring of machine components that are not immediately visible to the naked eye (or only at great expense) can be done by means of a sensor. Condition monitoring does just that - a first step towards safety, because, as the name suggests, a condition is monitored: a sensor is attached and reports whether the roller bearing is okay, the gearbox or the plant. Problems are detected and classified. If the condition is so critical that action must be taken, an immediate response is possible. The damage is limited and the question of why the situation occurred can also be clarified.
The here and now - no more and no less
Condition monitoring therefore makes a statement about the moment – just not about the future. How pleasant would it be not to react only when something is already cracked, shattered or simply used up? It would be good to know what the condition of the parts that have to be replaced at regular intervals will look like in the coming week, for example. Or in two weeks. Or in a month.
Predictive maintenance – for looking into the future.
In this way, time would be gained to act – in advance and not when the machines are already at a standstill in the worst case. The claim to be able to look into the future is only fulfilled by predictive maintenance. This means that not only the current condition of the equipment is determined and classified. This "I measured today and everything is fine" alone is not enough. Predictive maintenance does exactly that, but at the same time, thanks to intensively trained artificial intelligence (AI), it also looks into the future and adds: "I expect everything to be fine for the next three months as well, and everything will still be fine for the next six months, but the remaining service life is only seven months in total. So pay attention: take care of the spare parts x,y,z in time."
What one can do and the other can do even better
Why not combine condition monitoring and predictive maintenance? Condition monitoring analyses in the here and now, predictive maintenance additionally provides a view into the future. How long will something still be in working order? What about the remaining service life? Predictive maintenance answers these questions effortlessly, reliably and cost effectively. The product life of wear parts is exploited to the maximum and reliably sounded out. This puts you in a position to react in time. A good idea.
Author: DI. Mag. Markus Loinig