The elevated complexity and costs of production assets combined with the requirements for high-quality manufactured products necessitate novel design and CBM approaches. These approaches should provide the required levels of availability, maintainability, quality and safety, while decreasing the cost of the system as a whole and throughout the production lifecycle.

Until a few years ago, maintenance was considered only as a cost factor in industry. However, the situation has changed radically over the recent years. There are still companies whose maintenance strategy is based solely on the fact that the machine is repaired only at the stage when one of its components break down. For certain types of businesses such a strategy may be suitable, for instance when the degradation or failure of a component does not generate major costs or stand-stills.

An important question in this context is whether predictive maintenance comes with justifiable costs or introduces methods to improve profitability and also lower costs. However, for most businesses with production processes, unpredictable degradation of industrial machines causes production stand-stills and thus higher costs and less revenue. In addition, the availability of spare parts also affects the costs, as replacement parts may not be immediately available or need to be ordered and manufactured to order. It should also be noted that all parts should not be stored in stock, waiting for the degradation of any component, and also because the storage is costly itself. On top of this comes the cost of time spent on the repair of the machine.

The implementation of the CBM is not only a technological challenge but a deeper question of new business models and their acceptance. Maintenance personnel are often very conservative and not prone to change.

The problem of concern in SMART-PDM is the acquisition of manufacturing data to provide diagnosis and prognosis information while rendering the underlying technology financially feasible. We believe this problem can best be tackled using predictive maintenance approaches. This is supported by Frost and Sullivan which sees “Manufacturing” as having a high level of attractiveness with a high level of success.