The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or what we know as Industry 4.0, has been barreling down the tracks and picking up speed for more than a decade. But the digital transformation accelerated by COVID-19 has turned the locomotive of Industry 4.0 into a high-speed bullet train. For product developers, deploying the most competitive combination of digital technologies is now the price of entry for the race to success. Among these technologies, predictive maintenance plays an essential yet often underestimated role. Let’s take a deeper dive into how essential this role can be.

Predictive Maintenance

Increased Efficiency and Smarter Resource Allocation

In traditional factories, industrial equipment undergoes regularly scheduled maintenance. As anyone who has owned a vehicle knows, the trouble is that machines do not always behave predictably. This means they often require diagnostic checks and repair work before their scheduled tune-ups or inspections. When this occurs with your personal vehicle, it’s an inconvenient but relatively simple affair. But when industrial equipment is on the fritz or outright fails, an incredibly costly domino-effect can occur.

There’s also the equal but opposite challenge: bringing in your vehicle for scheduled maintenance only to find there isn’t a need. Again, the time and expense are negligible for your vehicle, but industrial equipment is a different story. Considerable time and expense are often funneled into “servicing” industrial equipment that is performing perfectly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, predictive maintenance puts a virtual end to these problems. As the name suggests, this technology reliably predicts the need for maintenance via data analytics. This drives dramatic resource-efficiencies through early-detection of issues and servicing of equipment only when necessary.

Flexible Production Runs to Capitalize on Real-Time Demand

Digital twinning is a vital part of predictive maintenance, and more than half a million twins of varying complexity are currently in use. Digital twinning refers to the practice of creating a virtual model (or “mirror”) of networked industrial machines that are fitted with sensors. Via a strategic combination of AI and human oversight, the virtual models essentially allow these machines to be remotely monitored, analyzed, optimized, and controlled.

At Pivot International, we are a global, full-service product development company that has made massive investments in the latest digital technologies, including two mirrored Samsung high-speed SMT lines. Because these lines mirror each other, they can simultaneously perform identical (twinned) specifications to maximize manufacturing volume. And since these lines share a server and database, our teams can simultaneously switch or adjust maintenance and manufacturing parameters. This increases equipment-security while also enabling us to scale production to help our customers capitalize on real-time demand. This mirrored technology is also essential for our customers who distribute globally. It allows them to flexibly shift production to whichever of our manufacturing facilities is closest to their shipping destination, saving them both time and money.

Cost-Savings Through Enhanced Quality Control

Quality control must be maintained with any product, but the bar becomes exponentially higher when developing an industrial, medical, or security-sensitive product. Not only are these products generally more complex than those found in consumer markets, but they also pose compliance and regulatory challenges.

A product’s complexity is often inversely correlated to unpredictable downtime, low yield (products that don’t meet quality control standards), and low productivity (extended production times). Because product developers have a vested interest in productivity, the production process is often pushed at the expense of yield.

But the monitoring capacity of predictive maintenance and the AI upon which it depends can catch quality issues the moment they occur, providing immediate feedback. This feedback allows for rapid adjustments, reduces downtime, and accelerates productivity. Predictive maintenance offers the “best of both worlds” for yield and productivity alike. This translates to significant cost savings and timely delivery of high-quality products that meet strict compliance standards.

If you’re looking to bring a new product to market, Pivot is a proven one-source partner. For nearly a half-century, we’ve been helping companies worldwide turn product ideas into commercially successful innovations. We bring the world’s top talent in design, engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain management. With product development expertise that spans fourteen industries, more than 300,000 square feet of manufacturing capability across three continents, and extensive ISO certifications, we deliver the winning solutions you’ve been looking for. Contact us today. We’d love to explore how we can help you achieve your goals and grow your business.