Condition Based Maintenance in the Manufacturing Industry : From Strategy to Implementation

Abstract: The growth of global competition has led to remarkable changes in the way manufacturing companies operate. These changes have affected maintenance and made its role even more crucial for business success. To remain competitive, manufacturing companies must continuously increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their production processes. Furthermore, the introduction of lean manufacturing has increased concerns regarding equipment availability and, therefore, the demand for effective maintenance. That maintenance is becoming more important for the manufacturing industry is evident in current discussions on national industrialization agendas. Digitalization, the industrial internet of things (IoT) and their connections to sustainable production are identified as key enablers for increasing the number of jobs in industry. Agendas such as “Industry 4.0” in Germany and “Smart Industry” in Sweden are promoting the connection of physical items such as sensors, devices and enterprise assets, both to each other and to the internet. Machines, systems, manufactured parts and humans will be closely interlinked to collaborative actions. Every physical object will formulate a cyber-physical system (CPS), and it will constantly be linked to its digital fingerprint and to intensive connection with the surrounding CPSs of its on-going processes.That said, despite the increasing demand for reliable production equipment, few manufacturing companies pursue the development of strategic maintenance. Moreover, traditional maintenance strategies, such as corrective maintenance, are no longer sufficient to satisfy industrial needs, such as reducing failures and degradations of manufacturing systems to the greatest possible extent. The concept of maintenance has evolved over the last few decades from a corrective approach (maintenance actions after a failure) to a preventive approach (maintenance actions to prevent the failure). Strategies and concepts such as condition based maintenance (CBM) have thus evolved to support this ideal outcome. CBM is a set of maintenance actions based on the real-time or near real-time assessment of equipment conditions, which is obtained from embedded sensors and/or external tests and measurements, taken by portable equipment and/or subjective condition monitoring. CBM is increasingly recognized as the most efficient strategy for performing maintenance in a wide variety of industries. However, the practical implementation of advanced maintenance technologies, such as CBM, is relatively limited in the manufacturing industry.Based on the discussion above, the objective of this research is to provide frameworks and guidelines to support the development and implementation of condition based maintenance in manufacturing companies.  This thesis will begin with an overall analysis of maintenance management to identify factors needed to strategically manage production maintenance. It will continue with a focus on CBM to illustrate how CBM could be valued in manufacturing companies and what the influencing factors to implement CBM are. The data were collected through case studies, mainly at one major automotive manufacturing site in Sweden. The bulk of the data was collected during a pilot CBM implementation project. Following the findings from these efforts, a formulated maintenance strategy is developed and presented, and factors to evaluate CBM cost effectiveness are assessed. These factors indicate the benefits of CBM, mostly with regard to reducing the probability of experiencing maximal damage to production equipment and reducing production losses, particularly at high production volumes. Furthermore, a process of CBM implementation is presented. Some of the main elements in the process are the selection of the components to be monitored, the techniques and technologies for condition monitoring and their installation and, finally, the analysis of the results of condition monitoring. Furthermore, CBM of machine tools is presented and discussed in this thesis, focusing on the use of vibration monitoring technique to monitor the condition of machine tool spindle units.