Industry 4.0 : Industrial Maintenance to Smart maintenance System

Industrial maintenance of a production process is one of the most essential planning items to identify, improve and control the health problems of the machines and to reduce the downtime of the production process due to these problems. Humans are still responsible for this task in recent technology, but several systems are proposed to enable machines to have the self-maintenance ability.

In recent years, the maintenance management system is focusing on the role of maintenance to contribute to value for the business. The purpose was that the maintenance should not be viewed only at a narrow operational level representing an unavoidable cost; but it must be viewed in the long-term strategic context, integrating technical and commercial issues in an effective manner.

In the Industry 4.0 era, factory transformation and production management are expected to reach a new level with data analytics and cyber-physical systems. The Cyber-Physical System and adaptive robotics framework for self-aware and self-maintenance machines have been provided for more intelligent decision making in the modern manufacturing processes.

Alliance of Smart Maintenance system and production planning in the Industry 4.0 paradigm

Industrial Maintenance tasks are a frequent part of shop floor machines including simple tasks such as cutting tools replacements to complex time-consuming procedures. Nowadays, these procedures are usually called by the machine operator or shop floor technicians, based on their expertise or machine failures, commonly without flagging the shop floor scheduling.

Modern approaches promote mobile devices and wearables as a means of communication among the shop floor operators & production or quality departments, to quickly notify for similar incidents. Production scheduling is frequently highly influenced by maintenance tasks, thus the need to include them into the machine schedule has arisen. Moreover, production is highly disturbed by unexpected failures.

As a result, in the last few years through industry 4.0, manufacturing industries are equipped with monitoring software for production planning and schedule a maintenance task. Towards that end, an integrated system is developed, under the Industry 4.0 concept, consisted of a machine tool monitoring tool and an augmented reality mobile application, which are interfaced with a shop-floor scheduling tool.

The monitoring application allows the operator to monitor the status of the machine based on the data from the monitoring tool. It helps to decide on immediately calling maintenance tasks or scheduling maintenance tasks for later. The application retrieves the machine schedule, providing the available windows for maintenance planning, and also notifies the schedule for the added task.

Advanced Maintenance system

Maintenance is an important part of the equipment lifecycle, accounting for a high percentage of its total cost, and having a high impact on the utilization period of that machine. In the last few years, manufacturing companies have started adopting monitoring solutions in order to increase system reliability by reducing the unplanned breakdowns.

A maintenance operation involves activities such as analysis, testing, servicing, alignment, installation, removal, assembly, repair, or rebuilding of human-made systems. Machine condition monitoring systems are being implemented in modern machinery informing human operators for the majority of the upcoming maintenance tasks, based on Wireless Sensor Network input, defining the remaining operating time between failure of the machine tools.

In the modern era of Industry 4.0, technologies are starting to be implemented in maintenance processes in order to increase its efficiency and facilitate the maintenance support service provision. Augmented Reality is one of the upcoming technologies in manufacturing with numerous applications aiming to provide remote maintenance support in an effort to facilitate technical knowledge distribution in a digitalized and easy-to-perceive way. Additionally, it helps to handle the CAD files & maintenance instructions manuals.

To facilitate system communication, cloud platforms have emerged as a viable solution in manufacturing systems, as they enable the seamless data and knowledge exchange from different systems embedded within the entire manufacturing shop floor and its users.

Moreover, the high security of these systems makes them a viable solution to combine with different wireless sensor networks, providing unified solutions of monitoring and acting on the production line by bringing together different systems and stakeholders.

Industry 4.0 technologies in the context of smart maintenance

Industry 4.0 technologies create advanced maintenance systems, through the concepts of E-maintenance, Internet of Things, and Cyber-Physical Systems that enable the manufacturing machines and industries to adopt the behavior to changing operating sequences & conditions through self-optimization and reconfiguration for creating the time-window to do the maintenance tasks.

To do this, they perceive information, derive findings, and change their behavior accordingly. Simultaneously, these systems store knowledge gained from past experience to improve production facilities in smart factories.

Industry 4.0 technologies that can be considered for maintenance activities :

Condition-based maintenance and monitoring software

Since products have become more and more complex due to the evolution of technology, the costs of time-based preventive maintenance have increased so Condition-based Predictive Maintenance has evolved condition-based maintenance solution that monitors assets through IoT sensors and system data to provide timely maintenance recommendations and strategic health assessments.

Cloud Systems and IoT for Maintenance

Technologies for communication such as cloud systems and IoT can storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of the computer’s hard drive so that every person or system can use that data whenever it required. Thus, with the help of these technologies, the maintenance tasks and monitoring of equipment can be easily done.

Virtualization Technologies for Maintenance

Technologies for operator enhancement, such as new information systems, new portable devices, and other new means to consider the operator in the loop. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) tools that are entitled to the integration of computer-supported reflection of a real-world environment with additional and valuable information. To this category belongs also the solution for augmented and virtual reality that is emerging and may apply extensively to the maintenance processes.

Data Analytics for Maintenance

In the Industry 4.0 era, factory transformation and production management are expected to reach a new level with data analytics and cyber-physical systems. Technologies for data analytics are pushing a new way to analyze maintenance data, paving the way also for new engineering profiles, namely closer to mathematical engineers than to mechanical or electrical engineers for maintenance analysis.

The self-aware and self-maintenance machines for more intelligent decision making in the manufacturing process, a Cyber-Physical System framework is needed. The machine part includes collected data, control parameters, machine performance, machine configuration, model information, and task history while the human part consists of maintenance activities and operational parameters.

Adaptive Robotics for industrial maintenance

Industrial robots in smart factories are to be able to focus on monitoring, understanding, and optimizing the production process, diagnosing, and recovering faults. Thus, the robots are designed and developed to have self-awareness, self-maintenance, and self-predictiveness abilities.

Additive Manufacturing for industrial maintenance

The supply chain of the spare parts faces significant challenges while giving fast maintenance and repair services. Most of the spare parts are infrequently needed but in order to provide reliable maintenance services, spare parts must be kept in stock which will increase inventory and delivery cost. Additive manufacturing technology solves this issue very efficiently, as the Spares part can be repaired and constructed very easily by the 3D printing process.


Indeed, there is a big potential for maintenance, fostered by the promises of the Fourth Industrial Revolution “Industry 4.0”. At the same time, there is still widespread evidence of the state of practices leading to assert that maintenance is not yet advanced as it would be expected. however, there is a lot of progress in implementing isolated solutions for machine monitoring, scheduling, and maintenance support, there are limited unified approaches integrating communication between operational planning and maintenance planning.

About Sharad Kashyap

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