Written by: Linn Björklund
Preventative maintenance is all about identifying and avoiding defects and deviations before they cause problems, and subsequently continuing operations without expensive breakdowns. With RFID tags, you gain additional control as you minimise the risk of missing something important whilst performing routines. Here you can read about the four biggest advantages of connecting RFID with your digital maintenance routines.
The digitisation of preventative maintenance
Over the last few years, digitisation has enabled the automation of many elements of preventative maintenance. Today, most large companies in the industry use digital maintenance systems where guides, routines, and checklists are gathered on one platform, and where employees can easily access these through their mobile devices. These systems support both scheduled and condition-based maintenance, and send reminders for recurring routines to be done at a certain time interval. Measurable factors such as fuel levels, mileage, or operating time can be linked to the maintenance system through APIs – enabling automatic reminders that notify you when it’s time to refuel or when a vehicle has been running a certain amount of miles.
Increased control with RFID
Today, there are many smart ways to create digital checklists and routines for preventative maintenance that let your employees know what to do – and when. At the same time, several companies demand an additional level of control. Because, how can you, as a maintenance manager, be absolutely certain that your maintenance routines are being done correctly, or even at all? That is where RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) enters the picture. By placing RFID tags on units or places in your facility that need to be checked, you can connect critical steps in your digital routines to specific tags. That way, the task can only be marked as completed after an employee has scanned the tag with their phone.
Here are four advantages of using RFID tags in your preventive maintenance routines:
1. Maximises availability
When preventative maintenance is done the wrong way, the risk for unplanned and costly breakdowns is increases significantly. To maximise your facility’s availability, it’s important to ensure that routines are actually being followed. By connecting checkpoints in your preventative maintenance routines to RFID tags, you can guarantee that employees conduct checks properly. This way, you minimise the risk of carelessness, negligence, or mistakes caused by human error.
2. Improves safety
Preventative maintenance is also a deciding factor when it comes to preventing accidents. For example, if someone forgets to check an important machinery function or the like, it can lead to dire consequences. Since the RFID technology guarantees that an operator has conducted the check, you can sleep soundly knowing that your facility is as safe as possible for everyone involved.
3. Saves time
If your business has a mobile fleet with many similar machines, you know how time-consuming it can be to match the right object with the right information in your digital maintenance system. You may have to manually search for a serial number or scroll through many different options before you find the information you’re looking for. The process is significantly easier if the object or unit you are to check has an RFID tag connected to your maintenance system. In that case, you only need to scan the tag with your phone to access the correct information. While on-site, you can also easily find, conduct, and complete checks for the corresponding object or unit without wasting time searching the system.
4. Improves traceability
Have you ever been in a discussion with a customer regarding who caused damage to a leased vehicle or piece of machinery? Or that colleagues blame each other when certain information has fallen through the gaps? When you connect preventative maintenance to RFID tags, each action taken can be marked with time and date, location, and operator. You can also set photo-based documentation as a mandatory stage of your routines. That way, you can retroactively double-check who has been where and when, as well as the condition of the object in question.