Digitalization

Choosing software for machine maintenance.

What should you pay attention to?

Maintenance based on paper schedules or Excel lists is labour intensive and prone to error. Today's maintenance mechanics use handy apps and software tools with which maintenance can be carried out efficiently and at exactly the right time. Various tools provide online access to all necessary machine-related information and maintenance planning. But what do you actually need to consider when selecting such a tool? In this blog, we explain the points for consideration and make suggestions.

In this day and age, a lot of maintenance-related data is available digitally. A convenient way to store all relevant matters in image and text and to generate new documents from this is needed. For example, the planning, the stock of spare parts in the warehouse, the user and maintenance manuals or the accumulated history of the number of failures in recent months. Apps are increasingly being used to get the right information in the right place. In addition, each maintenance-related user group has different needs; a good app takes all stakeholders into account.

Operator

A first target group are the machine operators who often carry out front-line maintenance. These people can use the app to access, for example, the user and maintenance manual, instruction videos or maintenance history and planning. They are also the group of employees who want to be able to report a malfunction or request maintenance quickly and easily.

Maintenance engineer

The most intensive user of the online maintenance tool is the maintenance engineer himself. He too has access to documentation and the planning with his specific assignments, but also benefits from the availability of, for example, historical data. What is the maintenance history of a component?

Have similar failures occurred before and how were they resolved? In addition, the tools offer an optimal possibility to easily record and tick off tasks. By adding photos and text, a record is made of what the maintenance employee has found, what work he has done, what products he has used (stock management) and what follow-up action, if any, is required.

Maintenance manager

Because everything is recorded online, a maintenance manager always has a maximum overview of the maintenance status via the app or his PC. Simply from his desk. Based on this, he can make, check and adjust his planning. In addition, all data entered by a maintenance employee or machine operator is an important source of information for optimisations and improvements. For example, do certain advantages in terms of maintenance costs or energy consumption justify the investment in better components? Are there machines that perform significantly better than others, or just worse? And where does the cause lie?

Last but not least, all data can be easily called up in case of an audit, for example.

Management and engineering

Finally, all generated data can be used to make reports on a strategic level. For example, with regard to total costs, total number of operating hours, energy consumption and so on.

Practical use

In order to facilitate all target groups as much as possible, the following points are important when choosing a maintenance tool:

  • Accessibility. Can the programme or the app be accessed with a normal computer, tablet or smartphone or does it require special equipment?
  • User friendliness. How easy:
  • new machines or assets can be added
  • Make adjustments
  • Create and place/send maintenance orders, for example, via a QR code
  • Receive orders
  • Enter 'free' data such as comments and photos
  • Data can be stored in a (structured) manner
  • The software can be linked to other software such as financial administration, planning and logistics.
  • Access to manuals, historical data of the machine or previous maintenance, for example
  • It is possible to make reports and create overviews that make trends visible.
  • Analyses can be carried out with the various types of collected data.
  • Functionality. Is the program exclusively for maintenance or can it also be used for, for example:
  • Planning
  • Storage of data
  • Fault analysis
  • Alarms
  • Possible link to ERP/MES systems, for example.
  • User groups.

Has the programme or the app been set up in such a way that the data is tailored to the various user groups such as the technical director, maintenance staff on the shop floor, operators or management?

Smartenance

An app that fulfils the above criteria to the maximum is Smartenance. This tool was developed in close cooperation with the various user groups so that all requirements and wishes were taken into account. It is therefore a practical solution for planning maintenance, reporting malfunctions and storing measurements. It is a practical solution for planning maintenance, reporting malfunctions and storing measurements, using the mobile app in the field and the web app to control maintenance via the desk PC.

Smartenance is available in Basic, Advanced and Premium versions with increasing functionality and is purchased as a subscription.

Try it first: register for a free test license. All Festo software is sold exclusively in the Festo Appworld!

July 2022

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