Tablets, cloud services assist construction equipment manufacturers in field and on factory floor
By Brian Rabe
| March 08, 2013
From tracking and monitoring production assets to insuring uptime, mobility has made its entrance via the iPad and is making sweeping changes in managing today’s complex manufacturing assets.
Today we have technology that allows maintenance techs to respond to critical machine failures in a fraction of the time it took in the past. And since the technicians can open and close work orders at the source of a machine issue, repairs are expedited.
PM compliance is also enhanced since there is no need to constantly return to an open terminal for more data. Everything needed is in hand. So It’s not uncommon to see time savings of up to an hour per tech per shift using the new technology.
And that’s just the beginning. In the future the system will allow you to watch in real time as digital video is transmitted to machine experts far away. Unlike in the past when difficult machine down issues required an onsite visit by the OEM, in this new world of mobility, an expert staff back at the ranch can view the issues instantly.
The result: resolution comes quickly, repairs are initiated and productivity resumes.
And with the huge cloud-based content archives available through mobility, massive machine schematics will be searchable and accessed instantly providing maintenance technicians with the critical data and tools to maintain production. In the cloud you will also access information on critical spares and up-to-date-parts inventory. And with the tap of a finger, you can review historic parts usage on every machine on the floor.
The system will also allow a diverse number of databases to be uploaded. A popular one in my company is a maintenance forum that allows a technician to query thousands of machine records for key words that provide insight into machine problems and failures—through first-hand experience.
Driving productivity by defying downtime is the essence of mobility in the future of manufacturing. As each machine is tied to a value stream and monitored for pre-determined KPIs, a maintenance tech armed with this new technology can single handedly report on machine availability and equipment efficiency without leaving the floor to access maintenance software.
Speed and efficiency add up to increase productivity since mobility and maintenance provide a potent combination in reducing downtime and lowering overall manufacturing costs.
Much of this mobile technology is available today providing heavy equipment manufacturer’s with the competitive edge they need to meet the demands of a fast changing global economy.
Editor’s Note: Brian Rabe is Vice President and General Manager of Advanced Technology Services (ATS) Heavy Equipment Industry. ATS makes factories run better for some of the world’s most successful companies through production maintenance of manufacturing assets.