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The fourth industrial revolution is dawning as more and more Industry 4.0 applications are becoming reality. One of the most popular visions: machines that autonomously predict and report possible sources of nonconformance. This is a vision that MAN Diesel & Turbo is close to achieving for its customers of various industries.
From the Control Centers in its German headquarters in Augsburg and Oberhausen, MAN PrimeServ is remotely monitoring engines and turbomachinery both at sea and in onshore installations thousands of miles away. The MAN PrimeServ Online Service transmits key data from any place in the world via secure data connections. “As original manufacturers we know our products best. Secure online access to engines allows us to monitor operating parameters and provide appropriate services,” explains Stefan Eefting, Head of PrimeServ Diesel in Augsburg.
As one of the first, MAN started its online services in 2000 providing simple monitoring with weekly or monthly reports. Today, online connectivity allows for interactive troubleshooting where MAN PrimeServ may access data simultaneously to technical personnel onsite for immediate support.
“Should a problem prove insoluble from the distance, we can dispatch someone who already knows all relevant parameters. In this way we can plan and work more efficiently,” says Eefting. The experts also monitor data in real time and provide valuable recommendations for the maintenance or repairs of the machinery without delay. And MAN PrimeServ is now working on fully automated evaluation of data – a step that will revolutionize the classic concept of maintenance and service.
Stefan Eefting expects automated monitoring to be standard within the next 5 to 10 years. “Condition-based maintenance where maintenance is no longer scheduled at fixed intervals but provided according to the actual condition of a unit will be one of the major steps in development,” says Eefting. In this way, conditionbased maintenance allows for preventative care of machinery. Another step is providing service around the clock. “We are currently training personnel in Fort Lauderdale in the US as well as in Singapore and will realize a 24-hour service during the course of this year.”
One of the challenges facing online services in general is customer trust. “Even though data handling at MAN PrimeServ is completely secure and remote services offer obvious benefits, some customers are hesitant to share data outside their company,” states Marcel Sicker, Product Manager at MAN PrimeServ in Oberhausen. But there is a cultural change in sight. With regards to digitization and Industry 4.0, benefits clearly outweigh potential risks of handling data, no matter if it’s related to industrial machinery, or just sending an email containing private information. So the future is bright, if you imagine that the experts who service your machine will be able to solve a problem – before you even guess it occurs.
With the machinery data transmitted via secure network connections, MAN PrimeServ provides a number of services, such as condition reporting, remote support and trend analysis.
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