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Popping the genie out of the bottle: How unleashing data can improve your maintenance strategy

2 min read

For one leading British brewer, utilising the RS Industria cloud-based platform has already saved thousands of pounds. Data gathered through the innovative condition monitoring solution has been put to good use to determine the performance of critical assets, averting costly and unplanned downtime.

Within hours of going live, RS Industria had alerted engineers at Britain’s oldest brewery, Shepherd Neame, to two hidden failings within a line central to its operations. Left unseen and unresolved, both issues could have caused serious secondary damage to other components within the machine and stopped the line completely.

By monitoring the condition of key assets, including vibration levels, temperature and speed, RS Industria digitally connects machines to engineers. If any anomalies are flagged, alerts are triggered in real-time, allowing engineers to investigate and remediate proactively before an in-service failure decides their priorities for them.

Using ethernet-enabled devices such as vibration sensors, machines are connected to a local hub, with data then transmitted to and collated in the cloud. This is then further analysed against a set of defined rules based on normal operating baselines. With the right solutions in the right places, RS Industria can pick up anomalies ranging from misalignment, mechanical rubbing, and component fatigue to bearing deterioration, lubrication degradation, and excessive friction.

The resulting insight not only alerts engineers to potential issues, it can also be used to spot trends, enabling predictive maintenance that can enhance and improve manufacturing capability and yield.

For Shepherd Neame, the use of RS Industria meant unusually high vibration on the bottling machine’s motor was immediately flagged, while data revealed the asset’s gearbox was showing high-frequency vibration – commonly indicative of a lubrication issue. While the former required a completely new part, further investigation revealed the latter had a faulty seal which had caused an oil leak.

Valuable insight from RS Industria enabled the customer’s engineers to investigate both issues and resolve the seal problem immediately. The platform also meant engineers could continue to monitor the faltering motor and plan their maintenance schedules accordingly while they waited for the replacement part to arrive.

As heavily mechanically driven assets, failures in bottling lines are often related to gearbox or bearing wear. As these components are contained inside the machine, issues can go undetected. By using RS Industria to monitor its condition, Shepherd Neame was able to receive warnings of small issues before they snowballed into line-stopping disasters.

Using RS Industria has already saved the brewer a minimum of £60,000 in downtime, excluding the potential cost of secondary damage to other components plus parts and labour.

By harnessing the power of condition monitoring in this way, Shepherd Neame has also taken strides in improving the performance and lifespan of an asset central to its operations.

RS Industria is already in use across a range of sectors, from heavy industry and pharmaceuticals to F&B. Furthermore, it’s not just performance and reliability that RS Industria monitors; it has another, even more timely, benefit. The platform can be used to monitor energy and water consumption, helping customers to achieve sustainability targets by reducing emissions, while driving down costly energy bills.