"If you think about manufacturing, your mind probably creates images of lots of machines operating automatically in a relatively clean, tidy and sometimes noisy environment. In a world that is heavily dependent on technology to operate machinery and keep a manufacturing process running, the scene certainly looks very different from that of a generation ago.
Over the past ten years or so there have been many smart manufacturing initiatives that have promoted the need for production facilities to become much more efficient and effective through the use of technology. Initiatives such as Industry 4.0, initially conceived by the German government, have been adopted by other nations as a template for how process and production-based organizations can improve their overall productivity and efficiency. More recently, the concept of the connected factory, as achieved through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is significantly driving up operational effectiveness, resource utilization and a digital visibility of production and process metrics never before thought possible.
While examining the physical manner in which a production line or discrete process line can be made more efficient, it is highly likely the machinery that makes it operate is still reliant on a variety of motors, sensors, actuators, process controllers and valves. With increased efficiencies the impact of any equipment failure or unplanned downtime can significantly affect plant operations. However, the concepts of maintain, repair and operate (MRO) are well-rooted in any manufacturing organization, so management will already be very familiar with the steps needed to address such operational challenges. Planned maintenance of machinery and equipment is still a common process at many manufacturing sites, although the pressures of business agility, process flexibility and keeping downtime costs to a minimum are now demanding a change to this approach. Closely monitoring critical production machinery/assets is essential to maintain the reliable and smooth running of a manufacturing process."