MRO Magazine

Maintenance 4.0 Vs. CMMS

March 16, 2020 | By Peter Philips

Photo Credit: ipopba / Getty Images

Maintenance 4.0 is synonymous with Industry 4.0 and Factory 4.0 and is talked about everywhere in the maintenance community. Its name was given based on the current trend in automation and data exchange within industry technologies. They include the industrial internet of things (IIoT), wireless sensors, cloud-based computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.

Photo Credit: ipopba / Getty Images

How did we arrive at Industry 4.0? Let’s have a quick history lesson. Industry 1.0 refers to the first industrial revolution. It is marked by the transition from hand production methods to machines through the use of water and steam power. Industry 2.0, the second industrial revolution, was made possible by extensive railroad networks and telegraph, which allowed for faster transfer of goods and ideas. The third industrial revolution, or Industry 3.0, occurred after the Second World War and was also called the digital revolution. This involves the use of computers and other digital technologies in the production process.

Maintenance 4.0 is a machine-assisted digital version of all the maintenance activities we have been doing for years to maintain the equipment in the best state of reliability. It is the next progressive step for maintenance departments to take and adopt to modern industrial technologies.

For example, traditionally skilled technicians were sent out to collect vibration readings on pumps, motors, and gearboxes and manually entered the readings into a maintenance program, our computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). In Maintenance 4.0, the technician no longer wastes time going out to collect the data; instead, the readings are gathered by remote sensors that tie directly into a digital system, which can analyze the data and take the appropriate action. The system might report a problem by setting off an alarm, stopping the process, or creating a work order.


Examining the Effects of the Maintenance 4.0 Revolution on the Current CMMS
For several decades, we have depended on CMMS to manage and generate preventive work orders, to record reactive work, maintain equipment and inventory records, and keep work order history on equipment. Inputting of data is a manual process and analysis of breakdown data is a labour-intensive exercise. Technicians need to return to the maintenance shop to interact with the CMMS to process their work orders, look up parts inventory, and to research equipment documentation.

In Maintenance 4.0, this is all changing, and CMMS providers are working hard to catch up and to adopt their software to the new technology. Instead of collecting data points from several sources separately and trying to connect the dots, the new generation of CMMS will need to connect to many industrial devices like sensors, equipment monitoring software, safety systems, and other digital technologies, then analyzing the data and triggering the actions to address the problem.

CMMS are not as far behind as you might think. Many software providers are quickly adapting to the new revolution and digital connectivity between multiple systems. One example is the mobility of CMMS. Instead of returning to the maintenance shop to interface with the maintenance software, tablets are now being deployed with a CMMS application that is carried out to the factory floor.

Technicians carry their work orders directly to the equipment where the work order is executed and all the data is entered immediately. Follow-up work orders can be created on the spot. Pictures can be taken of the problem and fed back directly to the CMMS. If parts are needed, real-time inventory levels are available. Tablets can scan barcodes or QR codes that have been applied to the equipment and display equipment documents, manuals, drawings, vibration readings, BOM (bill of materials), and more.

Functions Future CMMS Will Need
In Maintenance 4.0, a CMMS needs to be able to connect to digital devices like sensors, where vibration, temperature, amperage and other readings are recorded. When they are outside predetermined values, the CMMS sets an alarm to alert the maintenance department and create a work order.

Other software, like WINCC, SCADA, and Wonderware, that monitors the production process and equipment, needs to be linked to the CMMS. These programs continuously scan the status of the equipment like temperature, amperage, vibration, and many other parameters and need to link to the CMMS.

Production scheduling software needs to integrate with the CMMS, so work orders can be easily scheduled when the equipment will be out of production service, saving the maintenance planner valuable time scheduling work.

When it comes to reporting the new Maintenance 4.0, the CMMS has to produce top-of-the-line KPIs (key performance indicators). Everything from detailed work order completion rates, to mean time between failures, to when and what needs to be done on the equipment. Maintenance managers need comprehensive spending reports that integrate with financial software. The CMMS KPIs need to be available in histograms, pie charts, and comparison reports with the ability to drill down into the layers of data to view specific details.

This integration and holistic approach comes with its share of challenges for companies and their current CMMS. Can it support the new technology, or does it need to be replaced or upgraded? It’s not just a matter of purchasing the new technology and flicking a few switches. Putting all the right tools, processes, and systems in place takes time and resources.

CMMS data needs to have structure and naming conventions for master data. Many past CMMS bad habits will not work in the new systems; CMMS garbage in will result in some pretty useless data out. We need to cultivate new habits through strong processes and procedures in order for Maintenance 4.0 to be successful. Help will be needed for some of the technicians with adapting to the new way of doing things.

The bottom line for organizations is, can Maintenance 4.0 help the maintenance teams save money? Will accurate data from multiple sources flowing to and from the CMMS increase reliability? Will it provide a healthy ROI? Will it reduce the cost per unit of what is manufactured?

Let’s face it, the spotlight usually shines brightest on the maintenance department when something goes wrong. They are either blamed for the problem or glorified for saving the day using a reactive approach. This way of thinking devalues maintenance best practices and often rewards poor performance. This mindset is ready to change with Maintenance 4.0.

New tools and methods linked to the CMMS are capable of measuring maintenance activities in minute detail and how they affect equipment reliability. Maintenance 4.0 is in its infancy, so some industries and CMMS providers are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what happens. The average manufacturing plant misses 17 days of production every year, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue. The risk of not pursuing Maintenance 4.0 is far greater than the risk of waiting.

The CMMS is the key to the implementation and it’s time to start taking steps to explore, evaluate, and determine if you are ready for Maintenance 4.0.


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