Tag: predictive maintenance

How the Internet of Things Can Make Your Manufacturing Business More Sustainable

The Internet of Things, often abbreviated as IoT, refers to the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data.

The Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, is a specific application of the Internet of Things that pertains to the manufacturing sector. In recent years, sustainability has become an important issue for manufacturers as consumers increasingly seek out products that have been made sustainably and with minimal impact on the environment.

Fortunately, the IIoT can help manufacturers reduce their environmental impact and become more sustainable. Here’s how:

  1. Collecting Data to Increase Visibility and Transparency Across the Value Chain
    The first step to becoming more sustainable is to have visibility and transparency across the entire value chain. This means understanding where your raw materials come from, how they are sourced, how they are used in your manufacturing process, what happens to your finished products after they are sold, etc. In order to gain this visibility and transparency, manufacturers must collect data at every stage of the value chain. This data can be collected manually or automatically through sensors and other digital technologies. Once this data is collected, it can be analyzed to identify areas where your company can become more efficient and reduce waste.
  1. Connecting Machines to Improve Efficiency
    One way that manufacturers can use the IIoT to become more sustainable is by connecting their machines together in order to improve efficiency. For example, if one machine is idling while another machine is overloaded, this presents an opportunity to optimize production by redistributing work among the machines. By connecting machines together and using data analytics to optimize production in this way, manufacturers can avoid wasting energy and resources.
  2. Using Renewable Energy Sources
    Another way that manufacturers can use the IIoT to become more sustainable is by using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power instead of traditional sources such as coal or natural gas. While renewable energy sources may have been more expensive in the past, advances in technology have led to a decrease in cost while simultaneously increasing efficiency. As a result, many manufacturers are making the switch to renewable energy sources in order to reduce their environmental impact.
  3. Implementing Predictive Maintenance Schedules
    Predictive maintenance is a type of maintenance that is performed before problems occur. This is in contrast to traditional preventive maintenance which is performed on a regular schedule whether or not problems exist. By using predictive maintenance schedules based on data collected by sensors, manufacturers can avoid unexpected downtime due to equipment failures. In addition, predictive maintenance can help extend the lifespan of equipment which leads to fewer replacement cycles and less waste over time.

The IIoT offers many opportunities for manufacturers to become more sustainable businesses. By collecting data across the value chain, connecting machines together for improved efficiency, using renewable energy sources wherever possible, and implementing predictive maintenance schedules; manufacturers can reduce their environmental impact while simultaneously improving their bottom line. As consumers increasingly seek out sustainable products, there has never been a better time for manufacturers to take advantage of these opportunities presented by the IIoT .

Italy’s train operator invests big in IoT

TrenItalia has invested €50m in an Internet of Things project which it expects to cut maintenance costs by up to €130m anually, to increase train availability, and improve customer satisfaction ratings.

There is a lot of hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) these days, so it is refreshing to see an IoT story with some real traction (terrible pun, sorry!).

TrenItalia, the primary train operator in Italy, and SAP had a big launch event recently to announce a partnership whereby TrenItalia are using SAP’s IoT technology to help manage the maintenance of the TrenItalia fleet.

TrenItalia operates around 8,000 trains per day, which is in itself, no mean feat. However, it wanted to make its service even more efficient so it looked to the Internet of Things to help.

Historically maintenance on trains was scheduled based on how long the train was in service, how many kilometers it had travelled, or if a failure ocurred, and as a consequence many times the maintenance happened before it was needed.

Trains have had sensors installed for some time now, however typically they wrote their data to log files which were examined at the journey’s end. With the new Dynamic Maintenance Management solution (DMMS), TrenItalia is deploying sensors on all its trains to report back detailed data on the trains’ performance in realtime. The data is used to track where the trains are, to schedule maintenance when it is actually needed, and to increase the safety, and reliability of the entire locomotive fleet.

The trains have between 500-1,000 sensors capable of generating up to 5,000 data points per second measuring variables like motor temperature, line voltage, and braking effort. This data is transferred to TrenItalia’s 6 terabyte in-memory database, and can be stored ultimately in their 1 petabyte cloud storage facility.

The cost of the project to TrenItalia is €50m, which may sound like a lot, but according to TrenItalia CIO Danilo Gismondi, they expect the solution to save them between €104m – €130m per annum (8 – 10% savings in the annual maintenance budget of €1.3bn). There are also savings of an estimated €10-€20m from not having to pay fines and penalties to customers and regulators associated with train failures and delays.

Apart from the financial savings, other benefits of the solution include:

  • a reduction in the unplanned unavailability of trains (leading to a 5-8% increase in train availability)
  • a reduced stock of spare parts
  • a reduction in the amount of time locomotives spend in maintenance and
  • a realtime look into the status of the entire TrenItalia fleet with the ability to be alerted to issues on any one individual locomotive before problems arrive

At €50m, this is a significant outlay for TrenItalia, but they are now battling against competitors on many fronts (air travel, buses, and even ride-share schemes like Uber). Knowing this, a big motivator for TrenItalia’s undertaking the project was to increase customer satisfation ratings. As TrenItalia CEO Barbara Morgante put it

Customers have to choose us because we’re better than others

The transformative nature of the Internet of Things should not be underestimated. With this one solution TrenItalia is saving over €100m a year, it is increasing the safety and reliability of its trains, and it is providing a better service for its customers.