Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) has revolutionized the working of maintenance departments all over the globe. A maintenance professional walking with a large task sheet, scheduling and keeping track of assets on spreadsheets, paper-based inventory management is a thing of the past.
CMMS has bridged this gap between past and present. According to A.T. Kearney and Industry Week Magazine, a survey of 558 companies concluded that use of maintenance softwares has increased productivity by 28.3% and has reduced equipment downtime by 20.1%. Currently, CMMS Systems offer inventory control, preventive maintenance, work order management and seamless integration capabilities. But what does the future looks like for CMMS ?
If you ask anyone what the future of CMMS software is, chances are terms like drones, AI Robots, Virtual Reality (VR) come up. The same is true for the way maintenance is managed. Drones, AI Robots and Virtual Reality are the cutting-edge next generation technology predicted to change life as we know it. Let’s shed some light on how these technologies bring us to a new age of CMMS Software.
Industrial Inspections with Drones
Often times the potential for the use of drones in businesses, research and emergency services is realized only by few. However, drones can and will a vital role in the future of CMMS Software.
According to GE Reports industrial inspections cost companies a lot reaching up to $40 billion annually. Some companies even spend over $100 million annually on these inspections. Equipments like drones can lower the cost spent on inspections by as much as 25 percent! They can be used by technicians and maintenance personnel for monitoring the condition of assets in unsafe and hard to reach places. They can be used for inspecting roofs of buildings as part of maintenance aspect of facility management. The use of drones will not only help companies save tremendous amount of money but also make the workplace safer for maintenance workers by substituting the hazardous part of their job.
Moreover, new age CMMS software will have ability to control and watch the video feedback provided by the drone built-in. Drones can also connect with artificial intelligence of the CMMS software for purposes of maintenance automation. Seamless data integration from a drone fleet, ability to automate drone inspection, and live video monitoring of assets will be some of many features found in new age CMMS software.
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Robots and artificial intelligence are the future in pretty much every industry, and CMMS isn’t far behind. Estimates by McKinsey show that with the increasing use of AI and robotics, global productivity growth could rise by between 0.8 and 1.4 percent every year. By comparison, the introduction of the steam engine increased productivity by 0.3 percent every year between 1850 and 1910.
Most people don’t realise that robotic revolution has already happened. In large and some mid-scale manufacturing industries, robots and AI have already replaced a lot of manual labour.
Predictive maintenance takes massive data from various sources like historical maintenance records and sensor data from equipments to find out when a machine needs to be serviced. Getting real-time asset data along with historical data, would allow operators to make more informed decisions about when a machine will need a repair. By the use of AI and predictive maintenance softwares, this data is translated into insights and data points thus helping to avoid data overload.
In the not so distant future robots will not only monitor but also decide the adequate course of action to rectify the problem.They will be able to communicate with each other instantly, relay information and learn from past. Anomalies in data that will take humans a stroke of luck and mental labour to point out, robots can do in less than a second. Facilities management, manufacturing, hotels, restaurants, sports, arenas and more will all find use for these AI equipped robots to help in carrying out maintenance activities.
They will clean, remove waste and repair equipment with minimal human intervention. CMMS software will be able to incorporate this mechanized workforce in its interface so that you can control, review and assign tasks to robots with a simple click of a button. Robots will carry out all preventive maintenance tasks automatically and will also generate reports. AI equipped robots combined with seamless integration through new age CMMS software will make life of a maintenance professional a lot easier.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
The number of active virtual reality users has been estimated to reach 171 million by the end of 2018! However, like the other two technologies mentioned above, use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) other than in video games and immersive art is understood in a very limited way by general public. There are in fact many more uses of VR than were at first realised, which can range from military through to business, academic research and manufacturing too.
VR makes it possible for you to create a 3D model of your facility that maintenance professionals can interact with, with the help of VR Headset. It will allow technicians to fully immerse in building maps and manage equipment and infrastructure. VR can also help with educating the new maintenance personnel. They can be trained in virtual environment which feels like the real deal but is away from danger and provides with a much better understanding of the facility.
Augmented reality (AR) will help to monitor hidden equipment and environment which are hard to access physically for example pipes behind a wall, switches in the back of equipment and such. AR sensors can determine if something is wrong and relay that information back. This will allow maintenance professionals to access and analyze equipment remotely and take next steps.
If something breaks down and the technician isn’t quite sure where the problem lies, VR will come in handy. Simply exploring the inner mechanics of the machine in simulated environment can help identify the problem area. Simply clicking on the faulty part will produce information like part number, model, last date of maintenance, location and more.
CMMS software will incorporate VR and AR for purposes of training, monitoring and maintaining by letting the technicians see and learn how to perform the task in a simulated environment, increase their skills by practicing without the need for proximity to physical assets and monitor and study hard to access areas.
New age CMMS software will allow seamless integration of all these new technologies so that they can aid maintenance operations. These technologies will even interact with each other under the framework of CMMS, such as an AI equipped robot using AR data to figure out the best course of action. The possibilities are endless and it’s just a start of revolution in the field of maintenance management. Incorporation of new technologies in CMMS Software universe will result in a better, more efficient and safer maintenance department.