Manufacturing companies are looking for solutions that automate and reduce maintenance costs. Traditional vibrodiagnostic methods can be too late in many cases. Taking readings in the presence of a diagnostician once in a while may not detect a fault in advance. Mr. Zykmund from the Czech potato chip company knows this. A pump misalignment due to a frame buckling, repeated several times already, has already cost a lot in equipment breakages and subsequent production outages.
A maintenance manager is looking at the latest news on his phone at home before going to work and receives an alert that there is a sound anomaly on one of his helium compressors. At the same time, the AI library identifies a loose bolt on the compressor’s frame. The manager picks up the phone and calls his colleague, who is about to start his day shift, to make a targeted inspection of the machine parts. With timely intervention, the misalignment in the equipment is detected. This would have caused the compressor shaft to fail and production to be down for hours.
The helium compressor example concerns a Czech manufacturer of transmission equipment for the automotive industry. In this case, a failure without early identification would mean three major things: replacing the entire piece of equipment, the spare part of which may not be in stock right now because it is expensive to stock replacement equipment. Next, the devaluation of the current pieces of gear in production, and thus the discarding of the entire production run. Last but not least, it would represent up to 16 hours of production downtime. The losses would run into tens of thousands of euros.
In the future, predictive maintenance will be a necessity, not only in industry, but also, for example, in larger electronic appliances such as refrigerators and coffee machines, or in cars. For example, we can all recognize a damaged exhaust or an unusual sounding engine. But it’s often too late to drive the car safely home from a holiday, for example, without a visit to the workshop. With the installation of an AI-driven detection device, we will know about the impending breakdown in time and be able to resolve the problem in time, before the engine seizes up and we have to call a towing service. This case, by the way, happened to a friend of mine and was one of the main reasons why we started developing this technology here in the Czech Republic.
The text was written by Pavel Konečný for Trade News 9/2021