Maintenance Strategies for Industrial Multi-Stage Machines: The Study of a Thermoforming Machine

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Oct 13;21(20):6809. doi: 10.3390/s21206809.


The study of reliability, availability and control of industrial manufacturing machines is a constant challenge in the industrial environment. This paper compares the results offered by several maintenance strategies for multi-stage industrial manufacturing machines by analysing a real case of a multi-stage thermoforming machine. Specifically, two strategies based on preventive maintenance, Preventive Programming Maintenance (PPM) and Improve Preventive Programming Maintenance (IPPM) are compared with two new strategies based on predictive maintenance, namely Algorithm Life Optimisation Programming (ALOP) and Digital Behaviour Twin (DBT). The condition of machine components can be assessed with the latter two proposals (ALOP and DBT) using sensors and algorithms, thus providing a warning value for early decision-making before unexpected faults occur. The study shows that the ALOP and DBT models detect unexpected failures early enough, while the PPM and IPPM strategies warn of scheduled component replacement at the end of their life cycle. The ALOP and DBT strategies algorithms can also be valid for managing the maintenance of other multi-stage industrial manufacturing machines. The authors consider that the combination of preventive and predictive maintenance strategies may be an ideal approach because operating conditions affect the mechanical, electrical, electronic and pneumatic components of multi-stage industrial manufacturing machines differently.

Keywords: maintenance; maintenance algorithm; multi-stage machine; sensors; thermoforming.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Reproducibility of Results