Posted at Wednesday, 02 September, 2020

Removing risk by forecasting it through predictive maintenance

Paul Skade
By Karl May
ERIKS Product Manager Fluid Power

I have been very fortunate to have spent the past 23 years within the fluid power arena which I am very passionate about and love to this day! 

I star...

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0 as its commonly known, has been in development for several years, with the aim of assisting businesses in making their production lines smarter. But this is far from a short-sighted journey. Companies far and wide are continuing to develop new and existing technologies to aid in smarter production and proactive maintenance.


Previously, predicting when maintenance was required was somewhat a guess, but today, Industry 4.0 is providing a gateway to higher productivity and lower risk of failure. Performance levels and equipment condition can be constantly monitored during operation, so simply providing an efficient and reliable product is no longer sufficient.

Driving Industry 4.0

With Industry 4.0 functionality support and predictive maintenance key drivers, Piab have recently redeveloped their flagship piCOMPACT® vacuum pump series, enabling connectivity between devices through IO-Link, with additional sensors collecting valuable process information via integrated intelligence.

The latest connectivity developments of the piCOMPACT® 23 SMART enable communication with other devices, and the Cloud, via an IO-Link, which is an extension of existing, tried-and-tested connection technology suited for sensors and actuators. The automated parameter settings provide operators with the ability to read and write parameters for multiple features, even during regular operation.


This real-time process means that potential production issues can be identified and resolved before any critical impact on production can occur. The opportunity for system diagnosis also allows issues to be identified and corrected prior to catastrophic failure.

Increasing foresight

To further aid early issue identification, IO-Link offers a data storage function. This is particularly useful for scenarios when operation failures occur during overnight production, when maintenance and site managers are unavailable. This technology makes it feasible to identify the root cause of the failure, whether that be a faulty device or simply a loose electrical connection.

Additionally, if a new, identical substitution device is connected, the previously installed parameters automatically transfer, saving on installation time, in turn increasing production.

Maintenance planning is also eased, by enabling operators to set self-determined trigger points, so that when data deviates from normal parameters, this is seen as an indication that critical maintenance is on the horizon. This reliable process means that maintenance engineers can be fast-acting if, for example, a specific component needs replacing, ordering can be completed earlier, and potential production downtime is avoided.


Thanks to stringent research and development, Piab have equipped the new piCOMPACT® 23 SMART with multiple diagnostic sensors that have the capabilities to measure processes such as system temperature, voltage, acceleration, cycle counter and system self-check features. By monitoring the activity of such processes, further problems can be indicated, even if something else is broken in the robot cell or plant. This means that the piCOMPACT® 23 SMART assists in monitoring the entire automation system, while providing operators with an increased understanding of how the pump is functioning.


Through the continuous development of the piCOMPACT® 23 SMART, predictive maintenance is now a viable option, leading to not only increased machine output and uptime of your vacuum system, but also of the associated automation system and environmental conditions that influence your systems performance. With such visibility, production time and profitability can be at an all-time high.

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