3 tips to save costs on servicing industrial machines
Automating processes with advanced industrial machinery is common practice among machine builders nowadays. Yet there are challenging times ahead. Increasing globalisation and competition lead to price suppression. Machine builders often set themselves apart by innovating and offering fast service. Fortunately, delivering good service can lead to savings that offer significant benefits.
An acute machine issue can have major consequences for the end customer. Often it's small issues that can have major consequences, such as a wrong configuration, a software error or human mistake by the operator.
These problems are mostly common when commissioning new machines. Without access to the machine logs or inspecting the environment, solving the problem is almost impossible. An on-site trip may then be necessary, which can quickly get expensive.
Save directly on your service cost as a machine builder with these 3 tips:
- Standardize remote machine management
- Focus on machines that need attention with preventive alarms
- Set the right requirements for your service solution
Tip 1. Standardize remote machine management
The internet makes remote access to machines easy. A so-called 'remote access' solution provides a secure connection to your machine on location. This gives you the ability to remotely monitor the PLC, control an HMI screen and upload new instructions for your robots. When using vision cameras, you can even view live images to observe environmental influences. This eliminates the need to go directly to the location, and takes your machine service to the next level.
Using a remote access solution for each of your machines is a smart decision. This will immediately save costs for unnecessary travelling and the valuable time of your service technicians. In addition, it gives more freedom to your service team and reduces waiting times to reduce the chance of machine downtime. The one-time costs for a remote service solution occur only for the purchase and installation of an industrial VPN router, and you'll see a return on investment after the first maintenance service.
- Related success story: “BMO Automation solves 90% of support issues remotely”
Tip 2. Focus on machines that need attention with preventive alarms
When managing and maintaining all the machines in the field, it can sometimes be difficult to set priorities. Machine failure has a direct impact on your maintenance planning. By actively monitoring machine parameters, which can be a cause of failure, you can monitor the machines remotely.
"The generator kept failing and we immediately received a notification," said Sébastien Robert, project and innovation engineer at TSS. Setting up preventive alarms is crucial to avoid complications. "Solar panels get dirty over time, reducing their efficiency. We have set up an alarm to indicate that they need to be cleaned," says Sébastien. Read their full story here.
Alarms, combined with remote access to the machine, make on-site maintenance more efficient. "We can see from the office where the malfunction occurs and which part is defective. Then we can supply our service engineers with the right replacement parts," Rick Kokx, Engineer at BMO Automation, points out.
In addition to the efficiency and cost savings of avoiding downtime, setting up alarms does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. With the right solution, it is easy to configure and apply to any machine - without programming knowledge! Find the right parameters, configure the alarms and you're done.
Related success stories:
- TSS4U monitors solar systems globally with alarms
- Remote monitoring of livestock with smartphone alarms
Tip 3. Set the right requirements for your service solution
It is tempting to go with the cheapest provider when trying to cut costs. However, this can be a costly mistake - so set the right requirements for selecting your machine service solution.
An alluring deal, or excisting solution, does not always mean that you have made the right choice. Besides hidden license costs for extra users, or valuable time for configuration or maintenance, a lack of the right functionalities is an expensive mistake. If you have to replace your solution in a couple of years, you will incur double costs.
Therefore, when considering or switching to a service solution, keep in mind the following:
- Initial and license fees for daily use
- Ease of use and maintenance: time = money
- Use of industry standards and modern techniques
- Scalability and expansion options: is it future-proof?
- Related success story: 5 reasons why Dymonc switched to IXON for remote access
A Remote Service Platform to reduce costs
The added value of remote service is often underestimated. The required hardware is only a small part of the total machine or installation. The customer is often the one that decides whether such solution will be included or not. However, there is a direct benefit for the machine builder.
A remote service platform:
- Reduces expensive service trips;
- Makes the commissioning and after-service of machines more efficient;
- Prevents machine downtime.
IXON Cloud is the platform that makes remote service and IoT easy and accessible for every machine builder. This gives you all the tools at your fingertips to provide cost-efficient service.
Through the IXON Cloud portal, we gain access to the machine in question in order to rectify the fault. This allows us to guarantee our quality and fast service.
The benefits of remote machine management with IXON Cloud:
- Time-saving installation due to the integrated connectivity and use of templates for e.g. configuration and dashboards.
- No hidden costs for using the platform or inviting new users.
- ROI after one service call: full machine access worldwide and flexibility for your service team. Calculate your ROI here.
- Scalable on all levels: from number of machines to the use of machine data or integrations with external platforms.
- Future-proof: from remote service to data collection using the same hardware and without software maintenance.
We compared several solutions, their qualities and costs. IXON came out on top.