Industry 4.0: Predictive maintenance use cases in detail

Predictive maintenance involves collecting and evaluating data from your machines to increase efficiency and optimize maintenance processes. Not only can you gage the condition of your equipment, but also more accurately predict when maintenance work is needed.

Industry 4.0: Predictive maintenance for milling machines

Spindles in milling machines are prone to breaking during the production process. What’s more, repairing spindles can be very expensive. Therefore, being able to predict damage and precisely when the spindle will break can greatly reduce costs.

To overcome this challenge, special sensors (e.g. ultrasonic or vibration sensors) identify the patterns of a fragile spindle. Relevant alert settings for the current state of the machine can then be created.

Milling machine working on a piec eof metal. Source: ©fotolia/Andrey Armyagov

The sensors generate data which is then compared to the information from the machine and the specific workpiece being processed. By analyzing the data, it is possible to identify patterns of behavior that more accurately predict when the spindle is about to break. This enables maintenance schedules to be planned accordingly.

The benefits in detail:

  • Higher process transparency
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Reduced machine downtime

Industry 4.0: Predictive maintenance for heat exchangers

Deposits in the conduits can cause heat exchangers to clog. A further complicating factor is the fact that it is impossible to measure the flow rate of a heat exchanger directly. A complete blockage can cause serious problems, resulting in manufacturing errors and hours of downtime.

Close-up of a heat exchanger. Source: © Fotolia/missisya

One solution to this issue is to measure the temperature differential upstream and downstream of the heat exchanger. After gathering and visualizing the measured values, it is possible to define threshold values. These values can then be input into an alert system to notify employees as soon as the first signs of clogging appear.

The benefits in detail:

  • Early warning of anomalies indicating potential blockages
  • Reduced machine downtime and less wastage of materials

Industry 4.0: Predictive maintenance for the health of robots

It is difficult to plan robot maintenance if the health of a robot is monitored only locally or not at all. But why refrain from gathering relevant machine data? Many parameters can be monitored, including CPU and housing temperature as well as positioning and overload errors. By collecting and displaying this data centrally and then evaluating it, maintenance can be planned before the situation becomes acute.

Close-up of a robot's arm. Source: ©Fotolia/Sved Oliver

The benefits in detail:

  • Awareness of the health of the machine
  • Intervention before the machine is damaged
  • Increased uptime
  • Early recognition of wear

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Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring use cases in detail

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring in laser welding processes

Getting operational data from a laser during the welding process is difficult. This is especially the case when the data appears only on the human-machine interface (HMI). What’s more, the HMI is not easily accessible if located on or between the lines. This can cause disruptions in a highly automated and connected laser line. In the event of unscheduled downtimes, the whole line may break down.

Close-up of a laser welding machine. Source: ©fotolia/Patrick Foto

To solve this problem, we decided to gather and process machine notifications centrally along with the operating times of different modules. This includes the temperature of the water used to cool to the laser diode. We then introduced a ticket system to assign specific tasks to the machine operators. In addition, we implemented an automatic escalation system, where the response depends on the severity the issue.

The benefits in detail:

  • Reduced machine downtime
  • Increased production output

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring in the Drilling Laser Line

We also implemented condition monitoring in a Drilling Laser Line (DLL) on the shopfloor. This highly automated and interconnected line comprises a materials handling process, a laser process, a flow test, and a test station. The DLL itself, along with external metering equipment, normally records a lot of measurement data values. The DLL is serviced either according to a schedule or when it exceeds control or tolerance limits.

Machines standing on the shop floor of a factory. Source: Bosch

To evaluate the amount of soiling, we started to display all data centrally. We then evaluated the data to detect if there was a need for early servicing.

The benefits in detail:

  • Flexible and easy-to-plan service intervals to boost overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
  • Reduced need for servicing

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring of electrical boxes

Insurance providers demand that plant operators regularly check the status of electrical boxes to prevent fires. These checks are often conducted manually – a low-value and time-consuming job.

Woman electrician standing in font of a breaker box with a tablet computer in hand. Source: ©iStock/aydinmutlu

Using a simple sensor, we were able to read the thermal data from the electrical box. We then visualized this data and set up a basic alert and ticket system in the event of deviations.

The benefits in detail:

  • Automation of the safety control process
  • Time saved on checking and improving safety

Industry 4.0: Condition monitoring when working with spindles

Spindles are used in various ways to process materials in production. However, obtaining data from this component can be challenging – especially when the machine is older. The result is that maintenance often follows pre-set cycles.

Close-up of a spindle. Source: ©Fotolia/sorapolujjin

With the help of our project partner, we read and visualized the spindle tension and speed using an OPC DA connector. We then evaluated the data, which allowed us to send push notifications to employees when deviations occurred.

The benefits in detail:

  • Reduced downtime thanks to swift intervention in the event of a disruption
  • Increased savings

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Industry 4.0: 10 use cases for software in connected manufacturing

1. Monitoring lubricants & filters in hydraulic valve production in Industry 4.0

The cleanliness of the oil used to test hydraulic valves after production must meet a specified ISO target code. In order to obtain valid test results, we had to improve the oil quality.

Man sitting next to a machine with a laptop uin his hands. Source: Bosch Rexroth

We retrofitted the test benches, with IoT gateways and connected sensors. This enabled existing machines to communicate and perform sensor-based monitoring of the testing medium. Together with our customer, we created a rule-based method to monitor the ISO cleanliness level of the oil. It is now possible to continuously monitor the processing units and use an automated system for maintenance tickets.

With this approach, our customer was able to transform a manual process into an automated process.

The benefits in detail:

  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Less complex manual testing
  • Increase in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)

2. Quality management of the pressing process

Airbag control units are manufactured by mechatronic presses that assemble every component by mating. To gain a better understanding of these mating processes and how process parameters and product quality relate, we extracted the process data from the proprietary press control system. That way we were able to monitor and demonstrate the force and position of the pressing processes.

Production worker performing a quality check Source: ©fotolia/Kzenon

We used the data to define a template process which then served as a reference for each press in the production. This allowed a direct evaluation of every single pressing process, based on the raw data. In the past this was only possible with a downstream quality assessment.

The benefits in detail:

  • More process transparency
  • Increase in product quality

3. Harmonization of tightening processes

When production lines are scattered across the world, it is important that products should be of the same quality, regardless where they are manufactured. One of our customers faced this issue when it came to improving the overall quality of tightening processes.

A Bosch Rexroth worker using a nur runner. Source: Bosch Rexroth

Our approach in this Industry 4.0 project was to connect the nut runners in different production locations to centralized software. This made it possible to apply the same quality standards to processes in different locations.

The benefits in detail:

  • More process transparency
  • Better product quality

4. Centralized monitoring & automated ticket allocation

In this Industry 4.0 use case, we developed a centralized monitoring solution in collaboration with a manufacturer. Because there was no central management system for the machines, error messages were only displayed locally on the human-machine interface (HMI). This meant that workers had to wait by the machine and might overlook other important issues.

Close-up of an OSRAM worker holding his Ticket Manager. Source: Offenblende

We decided to set up one centralized system to record and display all machine data. We also established a system that automatically creates maintenance tickets and allocates workers depending on the situation. The workers access this system using an Android app with push notifications.

The benefits in detail:

  • An optimized maintenance process
  • Cutting the cost of failures by implementing a transparent and consistent troubleshooting process

5. EDM cycle time monitoring

The challenge here related to the monitoring of an electrical discharge machining (EDM) process: The data on process parameters were stored in a database which was checked only once a day. We wanted to evaluate the data using a manufacturing execution system (MES). But since the machines were old, the expense of connecting them to the MES was not a cost-effective option.

bosch plan homburg Source: Bosch

Instead, we used a software connector to read out and display the data directly from the machine. That way we were able to evaluate the status and notify associates when deviations occurred. This also allowed us to check and service machines on demand.

The benefits in detail:

  • Early detection of cycle time deviations
  • Increase in output

6. Cycle time monitoring of CNC machines

Monitoring the status of a CNC machine is particularly difficult. One of the biggest challenges which many large manufacturing facilities are facing is not being able to see what is going on at a granular level. In other words, monitoring is labor-intensive and often only provides limited insight into operations. Employees normally check the vibrations of the machines at predefined intervals. This fixed schedule means that a problem may go undetected for some time. It is also hard to calculate the cycle time of various machines and pinpoint where underperforming machines are affecting production.

Close-up of a CNC machine. Source: ©Fotolia/prescott09

We decided to connect sensors to each machine to collect information on its operating status and performance. These parameters were then centrally processed and displayed. This allowed us to analyze information in close to real time. We were thus able to trigger standardized machine checks to optimize production parameters.

The benefits in detail:

  • Reduced machine downtime
  • Fault prevention thanks to an early warning system
  • Continuous improvement based on machine benchmarking and condition monitoring

7. Condition monitoring of cooling systems

Blocked pipes in a cooling system can lead to pump failure. We encountered this problem in a plant where there was one cooling system with four cooling pumps. There was no central monitoring of cooling performance over time.

Photo of a cooling system standing on the shop floor. Source: ©depositphotos/tomasz_parys

We attached temperature and flow sensors to the cooling pipes to generate data. Then we defined limits for cooling power and flow.

The benefits in detail:

  • Advance warning of pipe blockages
  • Less need for pump maintenance
  • Less plant downtime

8. Condition monitoring of cutting fluids

Managing cutting fluid involves measuring the concentration, dosage and addition of fluid, and documenting measurements. It can be a completely manual process which is not always ideal.

Close-up of a milling machine. Source: ©Fotolia/Kamdy

Using a digital refractometer, we were able to measure the concentration of cutting fluid. If air bubbles formed in the cutting fluid mixture, this rendered the measured values useless. These values then had to be deleted.

The benefits in detail:

  • Long-term documentation, which can be used to improve tool life and surface finish quality
  • Cost savings resulting from lower dosing and consumption of water-soluble cutting fluids
  • Compliance with cutting fluid tolerance

9. Product quality monitoring in paint shop

Painting can be a demanding task. Especially when it comes to complex-shaped items like car windshield wiper arms. This means that a paint shop has to deal with a varying degree of quality when it comes to their paint jobs.

Photot of the shop floor of a paint shop. Source: Bosch Rexroth

By integrating the IoT gateway into the process, we enabled our project partner to collect production data. This helped identify three parameters of relevance to product quality: temperature, humidity and paint consumption. We then defined threshold values enabling alerts to be issued when quality parameters were out of spec.

The benefits in detail:

  • Faster response time in case of quality deviations
  • Better product quality

10. Vibration monitoring for milling machines

Another Industry 4.0 use case is vibration monitoring in milling machines. By positioning sensors close to the machine it is possible to measure vibration and gather information about specific vibration patterns during cutting operations like milling or drilling. In this way process data is collected on a large scale and provides a unique “digital fingerprint” for every milling process. By comparing the measured roughness with the individual fingerprints you can see how the two sets of data correlate.

Close-up of the spindle of a milling machine. Source: ©fotolia/Andrey Armyagov

The benefits in detail:

  • Alert system when milling process gets out if spec
  • Quick response time should a problem occur

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Welcome to Bosch Software Innovations’ new headquarter: the Bosch IoT Campus

Regardless of whether customers are at the very beginning of their IoT journey or whether they have already started a project, the team at the Bosch IoT Campus is happy to offer its expertise. Topics range from business model development workshops, prototyping, creating proof of concepts, testing, and evaluation to IoT training and consulting.

Get a virtual reality tour of Bosch Software Innovations’ headquarter in this video.

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Introducing Stefan Ferber, Bosch Software Innovations’ new CEO

Rainer Kallenbach handing over the CEO baton to Stefan Ferber. Source: Ruth Townsend

Happy faces at the Bosch IoT Campus in Berlin: Rainer Kallenbach (right) is handing over the traditional Bosch Software Innovations “CEO baton” to his successor Stefan Ferber.

Stefan Ferber joined Bosch in 2000 and has held various positions in research, software development and product management. In 2008, Bosch acquired a software company that eventually became the core of Bosch Software Innovations. This was an early and strategic leap for the company, bringing it one step closer to the connected future. Fascinated by the Internet of Things and the value software can bring to the connected world, Stefan was intrigued by this move and transitioned to the Bosch Software Innovations team in 2009. Not long after, he became Bosch’s first IoT evangelist and an industry thought leader.

“With my software and programming background, I feel responsible for the Internet of Things at Bosch.”

Stefan Ferber, CEO, Bosch Software Innovations Tweet this

Stefan has been developing software since he was 16 years old. Today, he combines his passion for coding with his passion for the IoT and employs a variety of connected technology – from connected toothbrushes and thermometers to plant watering and heating systems – at home. It’s this excitement for real world IoT use cases that makes him a perfect fit to lead Bosch Software Innovations. The engagement between customers and IoT projects have been a great inspiration to Stefan.

“When we implement real-world use cases with our customers, we can improve how they run their businesses,” says Stefan. Doing so can bring new business models and revenue channels to life, streamline and automate processes, and make the lives of customers, employees, and citizens safer, easier and more comfortable.

In his latest position at Bosch Software Innovations, Stefan was responsible for developing and making the Bosch IoT Suite a leading IoT platform. Inspired by the emergence of DevOps and Scrum, Stefan was instrumental in transforming the development team of Bosch Software Innovations into a truly agile organization.

“There are no role models for digital transformation. In order to prepare for a connected future, companies have to simultaneously reinvent themselves while staying true to their DNA and collective experience.”

Stefan Ferber, CEO, Bosch Software Innovations Tweet this

Shaping the next era of Bosch as a software and service company is what drives Stefan today. “And the very best place to do this,” he says, “is with the team at Bosch Software Innovations.”

Stefan Ferber and other Bosch Software Innovations staff are playing table soccer at the new Bosch IoT Campus Berlin Source: Bosch Software Innovations

Stefan Ferber and Bosch Software Innovations staff are playing table soccer at the Bosch IoT Campus in Berlin.

The IoT is more for him than software, technology, connected products and business models. In fact, Stefan has had the same article posted in his office since 2009 – a list of the 15 global challenges facing humanity. The two that drive him the most? The global convergence of information and communications technologies, and meeting growing energy demands both safely and efficiently.

Stefan Ferber

Before joining Bosch, Stefan Ferber worked at the research center of DaimlerChrysler in Ulm in the field of 3D computer vision, robotics, and measurement technologies. He holds an undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany and an M.Sc. in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA. He is also a certified ATAM (Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method) lead evaluator by the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.

For Stefan, following the Bosch Software Innovations’ mission statement of “We connect everyThing” is a way to help solve global challenges and contribute to the larger corporate Bosch motto, “Invented for Life”. He believes that by continuing to take a humanistic approach, IoT will transcend the way we live and work. His leadership ethos follows Robert Bosch’s original vision for the company, that “improvements in the world of technology should always be beneficial for mankind.”

“With Bosch, we have the ability to bring value to our customers and their markets,” says Stefan. Currently, Bosch Software Innovations has completed more than 250 IoT projects, connecting people and enterprise systems with more than 6 million devices.

“Software expertise is the key to the connected world.”

Stefan Ferber, CEO, Bosch Software Innovations Tweet this

Stefan Ferber’s responsibility at Bosch Software Innovations will be for product and business development, sales and marketing as well as human resources, finance and controlling. Together with Chief Operation Officer Michael Hahn (a board member since 2012), Stefan is co-leading the board of management at Bosch Software Innovations.

“No one can do IoT alone,” is a phrase heard often around Bosch and attributed to Stefan Ferber. This mentality has shaped the IoT ecosystem and Bosch’s footprint in the open source community, including the launch of five open source projects within the Eclipse Foundation where Stefan is representing the Bosch Group as board member. He is also an active member of the European Internet of Things Council, and frequently provides keynote addresses at industry events. His 25-year experience and stance as an industry expert has garnered him regular appearances on IoT thought leader lists, including a coveted position on the “Top 30 IoT Influencers Of 2017”.

Interested in hearing more from Stefan? Find him on Twitter at @stefferber and Github.

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