Service partners: an important element in successful predictive maintenance

Recommended actions based on data and models offer a great potential for the service of a machine and can contribute considerably to longer usability and availability. The service partner, who acts as the link between the operator and the manufacturer and manages the maintenance of a machine, plays a crucial role here.

After all, the best recommended actions will not be of any use if they cannot be implemented in a competent manner. Thorough knowledge of machines and long-standing experience give the service engineer a central position when collaborating with machine operating companies and data analysts. Their vast technical knowledge and skills will help to obtain more accurate analyses and consequently develop precise models and predictions.

Data and experience complement each other

Despite increasing digitalisation, humans still have a central position. The new systems and applications support the experts at the machine operating company as well as the respective service partners in their daily work. Thus, the maintenance of each machine can be individually planned, in line with requirements.

Experienced technical staff have additional aids at their disposal for making even more reliable assessments about the condition of a machine. In return, they supply the analysts with valuable practical experience and insights into machine processes, which can be used to bring the gathered data to life. Not least, this intensive exchange helps to make processes more transparent and make the traceability of evaluations easier.

Close cooperation between service partners and analysts

It is essential that service partners and analytics companies work closely together. An example of such a close cooperation is that between Deutsche Plasser and P&T Connected.

We had to set the course for some changes in order to be able to fully utilise the potential described above. Unquestionably, Deutsche Plasser will remain the first port of call for customers in our markets. This ensures that the responsible advisers are always up to date with regard to the condition of a machine.

Link to P&T Connected

They are supported by Philipp Verheyen, who acts as the interface between Deutsche Plasser and P&T Connected. He gathers all the information and so has an insight into both the practical maintenance and the data-based analyses. This also helps to further expand on relevant topics with contacts on both sides, i.e. maintenance and analysis. For the user this creates an invaluable situation: a close link between the personal technical experience of the service engineers, who know the respective machines inside out, and the data-based analysis from the data experts at P&T Connected.

Based on this, recommended actions and customised service schedules for each machine are compiled in cooperation at the customer’s request. The result is much more flexible maintenance and, through in-depth knowledge of existing data, more predictable maintenance.

Changes in familiar processes

These new possibilities not only change the service providers’ processes but also those of the operating companies. For decades machines have been serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedules and inspections planned accordingly. The recommendations from service engineers, which were based on their professional experience, were taken into consideration.

Machine maintenance would usually be carried out during the periods when the machines were not fully deployed due to adverse weather conditions. This resulted in workload spikes at the service companies in winter and a huge pressure to service all machines on time and at the usual high quality.

With the new possibilities the maintenance of machines will be spread out over the year. If the maintenance is carried out at the optimum point in time, it may well take place in the summer. Through close coordination between operating company, service company and analysts the maintenance can be prepared very well so that the time period in which the machine is not available is kept as short as possible.

In future, operating and service companies will have a better idea than ever of what to expect at an inspection. Accordingly, the required spare and wear parts can be procured on time and any preparatory work scheduled to fit perfectly in the maintenance process, so that the latter can be reduced even further.

Even though it may be odd for many operating companies to dispatch a machine for inspection in the high season, the effects for the machine life cycle will be positive, which in turn will contribute to improved economic efficiency and availability.

Combining maintenance with new service offerings

The service solutions on offer are becoming ever more customised. An example is the option of a 24/7 service offered by Deutsche Plasser, the details of which are agreed on individually between the customer and Deutsche Plasser. This flexible contract focuses on a company’s requirements and offers services ranging from telephone support through to an exclusive service support, up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When combining this concept with predictive maintenance it has a particular impact. If the machine data indicate that action needs to be taken, it is possible to respond quickly and, if necessary, enhance the service offerings or be in a position to better prepare for an inspection.

Customised service for each machine

Increasing digitalisation and interpretability of data create a huge potential for servicing machines, especially when combined with customisable service offerings. Operating companies can focus the maintenance of their machines on data- and model-based predictions about the machine condition and so increase machine availability.

“Service is becoming ever more customised. Deutsche Plasser has the right solutions for this.“

Robert Riquel Stadtlander

Sales Manager