Of all the possible digitalization initiatives, including big data analytics, cobots, digital twins and others, predictive maintenance is far and away the most likely to be of interest for CPGs. As the newly released infographic, Predictive Maintenance: More Than a Buzzword, points out, 29.4% of CPGs are evaluating the technology, 21.6% are piloting it and 23.5% have already implemented it.
Avoiding downtime and preventing product loss are the major drivers pushing manufacturers towards implementing predictive maintenance. Due to the nature of packaging machinery, packaging lines are 30% more “slightly likely” to fail than other types of equipment. Some types of packaging machinery are more prone to downtime than others, as the infographic highlights, form/fill/seal machinery, labeling, decorating and coding equipment as the equipment types “extremely likely” to suffer downtime.
Predictive maintenance is being touted now because it is the lowest hanging fruit that can be harvested from another much-talked about concept in industry – digitalization. Sometimes also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is quite nebulous as its scope is broad and its cost can be challenging to justify. This is not the case for predictive maintenance, which aims to solve the age-old problem of costly plant downtimes, which can incur millions of dollars of lost output.
New business models are needed to ensure predictive maintenance delivers on its promise of optimizing equipment performance for CPGs, while ensuring OEMs get the revenue they need to stay in business. The most promising candidate for this, as highlighted in the report and white paper, is Machines as a Service (MaaS), which involves pricing based on performance goals set between the OEM and the end users (such as the number of cases palletized).
PMMI said if there is one single problem that could hinder the widespread adoption of an MaaS business model for predictive maintenance, it is the aversion that many CPGs have to connecting their machines to the cloud, and to allowing remote access.
According to the PMMI’s Trends in Adoption of Report Access: Moving Forward During Covid 19 white paper, 29% of CPG respondents indicated they do not allow any remote access in their facilities. However, 27% of respondents allow certain OEMs or service providers to maintain a dedicated connection to specific equipment.
As both PMMI white papers indicate, cybersecurity is the biggest barrier CPGs cite for not using currently available remote access technologies and fully taking advantage of predictive maintenance options. That said, all parties agree that as a result of the global pandemic, the industry has shown a willingness to respond to remote access and forging partnerships between suppliers and end users would go a long way to overcoming the barriers.
Many of the technologies will be on show next week at PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2021 (Sept. 27-29, Las Vegas Convention Center). More than 1,500 exhibitors will display the latest solutions to implement predictive maintenance, improve efficiency, productivity, automation, health & safety and remote access.