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Reliability in Mechatronic B2B and B2C Industries

Reliability, availability, and lifetime are relevant factors for the market success of technologies in all mechatronic industries.

Reliability in B2B-Industries

Long-life investment goods and plant are developed in B2B industries. Their validation is focussed on warranty because time is not available for proof of lifetime. Uptime Engineering therefore focusses on the contributions of development, simulation, and quality as well as the collaborative validation chain as a means of meeting the challenge. This enables a high level of reliability to be achieved on a module level. System risks are addressed during operation via monitoring and analytics.

Reliability is often the only control variable for the improvement of plant or fleet profitability. The topic belongs to the operator if maintenance work is carried out inhouse. However, there is a broad trend towards outsourcing maintenance to the supplier or an independent third-party. These service providers not only take over maintenance work, but they also assume responsibility for the technical-economic risk that goals may not be met.

For this reason, methods for maintenance optimisation are being worked upon. The primary goal is the avoidance of unplanned downtimes using state-based or predictive maintenance.

This approach is profitable if the consequence of downtimes are high direct or indirect costs of damage through subsequent damages, production stops or delays. The input data for the maintenance optimisation originate from plant control and/or dedicated monitoring systems (SCADA). Automated analysis condenses the information relevant to downtimes.

For this purpose, Uptime Engineering has developed models of downtime risks for mechatronic systems from knowledge of engineers and technicians. Deviations in system behaviour can thus be detected, their causes determined, and the remaining lifetime can be calculated. The approach does not require long periods of training and manages without specialised big-data procedures. It delivers practical recommendation for maintenance improvement. The models are easy for technicians to identify with. They are explained to the user in detail and are therefore easily useable for critical decision-making in a real maintenance process.

B2B-Applications of the Reliability Process

Reliability in B2C Industries

In B2C industries, customers expect reliable products, particularly in the premium sector. Poor quality, high repair costs or poor repairability can result in log-term damage to the manufacturer’s image.

The fierce competitive environment in B2C sectors leads to high levels of innovation pressure and increasing functional scope. The number of variants increases continuously, and the time pressure increases simultaneously because of rapid product cycles. In terms of reliability, this is a highly risky combination of risk drivers.

Variants in a product family are developed and validated together. Decisions have to be made as to which activities are carried out on which variants, and which of the results are transferable to other variants. A detailed investigation of component risk provides the answers to these difficult questions.

Broad verification and validation is economically easily implementable for B2C high volume production. However, high levels of innovation also require a radical realignment of methodology. A widely scoped risk analysis helps in this case. This enables establish the risk-based collaboration and networking of all expert disciplines.

In B2C sectors, permanent product updates and development are carried out with high levels of pressure to succeed. Uptime ENGINEERING therefore supports the learning organisation through cross-project documentation of the methods, models, and results. This ensures that the quality of development will continuously improve.

The highest levels of reliability are achieved if the development process is accompanied by the reliability process. This ensures that the corresponding technically meaningful activity is carried out at each stage such that the foundation for the subsequent activities is laid. It also provides the framework for risk-focussed product monitoring. This will enable predictive maintenance to take hold, even in B2C industries.

B2C-Applications of the Reliability Process