Significantly reduce maintenance costs with intelligent condition monitoring systems


Condition monitoring refers to the regular to continuous recording or monitoring of the condition of a machine (particularly in the case of rotating components or moving applications), plant or equipment. a process. The operational benefits for maintenance managers are obvious: maximizing production in the form of OEE and increasing the life of the plant landscape.

But the financial benefits of condition monitoring systems often struggle; precisely because the initial investment in modern condition monitoring does not reduce costs at first, of course, but increases them. Therefore, in the following sections, we want to use a break-even analysis to examine the financial impact over the entire period of use based on practical experience in an automotive production hall.

Ready-to-install condition monitoring systems for less than 2000 EUR
First of all, there are the one-time costs of procuring and installing a condition monitoring system such as i.Sense from igus – smart plastics. This can be defined as a ready-to-install complete package for upgrading a power supply up to 30 m path length directly in the online shop and ordered for less than EUR 2,000. The installation can be carried out completely independently with the associated instructions for use and assembly. Also, there are no additional charges during the usage period.

On the other hand, there is the regular maintenance work, which has to be carried out continuously in typical production plants with several thousand cycles per day.

These may include the following examples:

  • oil change on a crane
  • maintenance of a production machine
  • monitoring of a production plant by measurement technology

Since these efforts can be very different in different applications, we want to approach everything in 3 different scenarios:

  1. Regular case – Optimally designed power supply with normal use
  2. busy case – Fully utilized production line in 3 shifts
  3. Accident case – Complete failure of the production line

Break-even point in normal operation already reached in the first years of use
Expenses generally relate to maintenance costs that are spent on maintaining the equipment. This includes all costs that keep the equipment in working order. For the power supply of a gantry in a production hall, this can include the following typical expenses in the normal case:

  • Weekly inspection of travel path for impurities or objects (a 10 min)
  • Monthly check of cable package and recalibration of push/pull forces (at 30 min)

If these expenses are compensated by the average costs in the manufacturing industry in Germany of EUR 41.60 for one hour of work3, the profit threshold of an i.Sense system is already reached from the 3rd year of use.

  • (10 min/60 x 40 working weeks) x 41.60 EUR/h = 277.33 EUR
  • (30 min/60 x 12 months) x 41.60 EUR/h = 249.60 EUR

In this normal case, we assume a properly designed and smoothly operating power supply. If we now have a production plant operating at full load in 3 shifts, additional expenses are to be expected:

  • Daily visual inspection of the distance traveled (3 min)
  • Six-monthly inspection of complete energy supply (240 min)

In this loaded case, the break-even point of a modern condition monitoring system such as i.Sense is reached after just under a year and a half:

Avoiding a total breakdown with i.Sense EC.P is difficult to envisage financially
However, the main advantage of eB is a permanent monitoring of the pulling / pushing force with i.Sense EC. P has not yet been taken into account: namely the immediate shutdown of the installation in the event of an abnormal increase in the force.

This can be caused by any outside influence in the form of tools or other items left behind during the trip. Thanks to the emergency stop of the system and the warning of the person in charge of the machine, immense consequential damages or even total breakdowns can be avoided.

The occurrence of such a blackout cannot be predicted in general, but in an emergency it will be very expensive. In the automotive industry, we are talking about several thousand downtime costs per minute; This case of crash must therefore be avoided at all costs.



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