Future of maintenance in the metals sector
Metals and Mining industries are one of the oldest industries and have always helped in the economic development across the globe, right from the first industrial revolution. Today, the metals sector faces numerous challenges from lack of competitive advantage, power shortages, tight budget, regulatory compliances, etc. But one of the significant challenges is still unplanned downtime and maintenance in metalworking. Here, in this article, we’ll break down the major challenges and discuss the future of maintenance through the predictive maintenance solution for the metal industry.
Challenges faced in the maintenance of the metal industry
Challenges from growing competitors, increasing energy costs, government regulations, etc., make it difficult for metal companies to maintain profits. To add to this, unplanned machine failures and downtimes increase the production cost, reducing the revenue.
Anomalies with old and legacy machinery
Machinery in the metalworking plant is generally old (~30/40 years old) and demands extra care and services. Though equipment in the metal sector was designed to work in the harshest conditions, it does break down with age and poor maintenance strategies. And thus, continuous monitoring & maintenance of assets is essential.
Unplanned downtimes due to machine failures
Downtimes are the worst nightmares for the metal plant heads as they come with no warning alarms and cost time, money, and manpower. Unplanned downtimes decrease plant productivity and delay production, leading to loss of customers and a decline in profits. Thus, maintenance in metalworking plants is required to prevent unplanned downtimes.
Low Maintenance Budget
Cost pressures on metal manufacturing are increasing due to the soaring prices of coking coal. Manufacturers end up trimming the maintenance budget to meet tight margins, retain customers and stay profitable. Even when the rest of the plant scales, maintenance teams are typically still small & lean. What needs to be understood is that plant maintenance activities are critical for business profitability, and investment in tools that can help your maintenance team be on top of all machine parameters is mandatory.
Lower Productivity of Workforce
Inefficient maintenance strategies and improper structure and scheduling often hamper productivity. Even when not entirely down, faulty machines result in sub-par output quality, increased time for plant operators, and lower productivity. Maintenance teams have to spend a hefty amount of time diagnosing issues from scratch, which hampers the plant’s overall productivity. Predictive Maintenance helps avoid this by pointing out anomalies and also suggesting resolutions.
High chances of a safety hazard due to machine failures
Machine failures cost money and lives if spiraling out of control. There are always chances of safety hazards around old machines as they frequently break down. Predictive maintenance for the metal industry can resolve this issue by cautioning about the imminent machine failures before they reach a severe stage.
Scope of Predictive Maintenance for the metal industry in the future
The maintenance of a metal industry or plant is a cumbersome process. It demands diligence and precision, yet machines break down. Machine failures and downtimes are very catastrophic for the plant. One significant machine failure takes away all the past maintenance hard work, plant productivity, and future profits. Fortunately, advanced technologies that empower industry 4.0 have got our backs. The rise of IoT, 5G connectivity, automation tools, AI, and Machine learning simplifies the maintenance process. An IoT-led Predictive Maintenance solution can foretell the potential failures and prescribe the requisite corrective measures, protecting not just machines but your bottom line too. Here is how:
Benefits of Predictive Maintenance in the metal industry
Predictive maintenance tools can be beneficial in the metal industry as they can save a lot of money and time. It thoroughly resolves some significant problems in the maintenance of the metal industry.
Predictive Maintenance analytics offers substantial time and cost savings.
Unlike Reactive Maintenance, Predictive Maintenance has a high initial cost but can save your plant much more than it costs. If we do the math, unplanned shutdowns cost a lot (USD 2,60,000 per hour) which can be saved by predicting a failure and fixing it beforehand. A study revealed that predictive maintenance decreases the costs by 12%.
Prevent downtime & asset health degradation
What could be better than having the real-time data of all your plant assets? You can monitor critical machine parameters like temperature and vibration, which can be early indicators of a severe problem. Any abnormal behavior will get tracked down and assessed, and warning alarms and corrective measures will communicate serious issues. A McKinsey report states that predictive maintenance reduces downtime by 30%-50% and extends the life by 20%-40%.
Foster real-time decisions
Deloitte says, on average, Predictive Maintenance increases productivity by 25%. It helps plant heads, Maintenance Planners, Systems Engineers, and Controllers optimize asset performance & availability and prescribes corrective measures as needed. It is easy to use for plant workers and technicians, and you need not employ a data scientist for it.
Better quality output
Predictive Maintenance is highly cost-effective, saving roughly 8% to 12% over Preventive Maintenance and up to 40% over Reactive Maintenance (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). It gives you a competitive edge against the other players in the market, which you can leverage to produce and supply higher quantities of goods.
Low chances of safety hazards
Well-functioning machines promise a safe on-site environment. Real-time assessment and beforehand cure of any anomaly can sustain the plant equipment and extend its life. Non-faulty machines reap great results and ensure a safer working environment for plant workers.
Future maintenance in the metal industry necessitates futuristic technology to cut costs and increase production efficiency. A Predictive Maintenance solution answers the most questions on plant maintenance, and it provides a competitive edge that you can leverage to increase your profits. At Infinite Uptime, we strive to transform the industrial health diagnostics space by enabling process manufacturers to use their assets to their full potential. With our advanced predictive maintenance platform, we are helping unveil the untapped efficiency and productivity of the metal industry and creating a profitable future. Want to know how we can enable better asset health & performance for your metal plant? Reach out to our team of experts today.