In the fast-paced automotive industry, staying ahead of the competition is a constant challenge. Lean manufacturing practices and high-quality standards quality mean there’s little room for error. Maintaining reliable, high-performing, and safe equipment isn’t just nice to have — it’s a necessity. In fact, any unexpected breakdowns or production delays can wreak havoc on an automotive manufacturer’s bottom line.

That’s why automotive manufacturers around the world have turned to condition monitoring to help them keep their equipment — and their manufacturing operations — running at peak performance, efficiency, and reliability.

In this blog, we dive into the biggest challenges automotive manufacturers face when it comes to equipment reliability and performance, and how condition monitoring can help overcome these hurdles.

Top Maintenance Challenges for Automotive Manufacturers

As automotive manufacturers pursue operational excellence, it’s important to first identify the inefficiencies holding them back from success. Here are a few common maintenance issues that can quickly erode asset performance and reliability in automotive manufacturing:

  1. High Vibrations, Heat, and Noise: Uncontrolled vibrations, excessive heat, and bothersome noise can be early indicators of potential equipment issues, such as misalignment or unbalance, leading to premature wear and eventual failure.
  2. Rotor Unbalance: Rotor unbalance results in reduced machine efficiency, accelerated wear on bearings, and a decline in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
  3. Bearing Damage and Failure: Damaged bearings can lead to catastrophic failures, causing unplanned maintenance and costly production downtime.
  4. Premature Component Wear: Gears and bearings are vital components in automotive machinery, and premature wear can decrease asset reliability and performance.

Any one of these issues, left unchecked for too long, will ultimately lead to unplanned downtime, disrupting production schedules, hampering productivity, and incurring avoidable costs.

3 Ways Connected Reliability Helps Automotive Manufacturers Stay Ahead

Connected Reliability Enables a Data-Driven Approach to Maintenance   At Fluke Reliability, we offer a suite of connected reliability solutions with a focus on the Pruftechnik VibGuard products and Fluke 3563 sensors – the cornerstones of our online condition monitoring  solutions for the automotive industry. By integrating these cutting-edge technologies into their manufacturing operations, automotive manufacturers can:

  1. Continuously monitor critical equipment to detect early signs of faults, preventing costly breakdowns and unplanned downtime.
  2. Receive real-time data and alerts about potential issues, enabling timely maintenance interventions and informed decision-making.
  3. Optimize maintenance schedules based on equipment health, reducing the risk of premature failure and maximizing component lifespan.
  4. Improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) by addressing inefficiencies and minimizing equipment downtime.
  5. Enhance worker safety by identifying potential hazards and ensuring timely corrective action.

Connected Reliability Ensures IATF Compliance

Another challenge in the automotive industry is compliance with relevant standards. In particular, the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) regulation 16949 provides certifications, rules, and standards for automotive companies.

IATF requirements focus on a few key things auto manufacturers must adhere to:

  1. Automotive suppliers must prove that they are maintaining equipment well enough to ensure a consistent product.
  2. Plants need to have established risk mitigation strategies in place.
  3. Organizations need to keep excellent documentation and records (including PM completion) for their assets.

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) like eMaint helps companies meet IATF standards and ensure preparedness in the case of an audit. A CMMS accomplishes this through digitizing and documenting work, automatically tracking labor hours, generating reports, and offering more visibility and transparency every step of the way.

With a CMMS, you can store past work orders on all of your assets in a centralized location, and easily access those records to demonstrate compliance with maintenance requirements.

Changes and challenges in the automotive industry, such as economic and environmental factors, have led to some transformations in how manufacturers operate and in what customers expect from vehicles. A CMMS solution with a robust reporting function can help automotive manufacturers adapt to evolving standards and requirements.

Connected Reliability Protects Worker Safety

Finally, connected reliability is key to protecting worker safety. For example, wireless condition monitoring sensors placed on machines in harsh or hazardous environments — common in the automotive industry — can capture data remotely and send it to the cloud. This lets maintenance technicians limit the number of times they need to access hazardous areas.

By reducing unnecessary route-based maintenance tasks, not only do the technicians stay safer, but they can devote their time and attention to the most important tasks. And when issues are spotted before they lead to failures, emergency repairs — which carry more safety risk compared to planned corrective repairs — become less frequent.

Drive Success with Fluke Reliability

As a leading provider of reliability solutions, Fluke Reliability brings unmatched experience and expertise to the table. We understand the unique challenges faced by automotive manufacturers and have a dedicated team of experts who implement high-quality and reliable online condition monitoring projects.

Our obsessive focus on our customer’s needs ensures we deliver tailored solutions that cater to their unique challenges. Fluke Reliability’s track record of success shows we are committed to enhancing equipment performance, optimizing maintenance schedules, and minimizing costly downtime in the automotive industry. Contact us to learn more!