Article 27 June 2022

Can big data fast-track maintenance solutions?

Leveraging big data can significantly enhance facilities maintenance and engineering, reducing both time and workforce demands. How does it work?

Buildings can produce a continuous stream of data from the components or equipment under supervision. On average a building can generate 1 million data points per day. The data is transmitted in near real-time, using Internet of Things (IoT) protocols, and typically includes:

  • Total hours of use to date
  • Current levels of use
  • The dimensions and movement of components

This data is then compared with standard operational parameters to detect any faults that might be developing. If any problems are found, alerts will be generated, allowing the maintenance team to get ahead of the game and fix any problems before they become more serious. 

Analysis of this data will enable the detection of any anomalies in the operation of mechanical devices: for example, unusual movements or patterns of vibration. These sometimes-subtle signals may indicate misalignment or accelerating wear and tear that could trigger failure or breakdown. Another example is the detection of deviations in heating and cooling performance of HVAC assets which can support businesses with cost savings initiatives.

How Mitie’s engineers use data to ensure the success of your maintenance projects

Mitie is one of the UK’s largest strategic outsourcing and facilities management firms. Our engineers are dedicated to the elimination of disruptive downtime and asset damage. Our ecosystem is designed from the ground up to handle predictive and reactive maintenance. We incorporate multiple factors into our data analysis, including:

  • Performance
  • Up-time
  • Energy consumption
  • Running costs

Our maintenance teams work in close coordination with our carbon reduction, energy, and asset management experts, to truly optimise equipment usage and maximise the operating life of our clients’ assets.

The data required for such fine calibration is captured in real time and then analysed within our Technical Service Operations Centre. 

This is a 24/7 process, in which the current operation of a piece of equipment is automatically compared with a comprehensive database of optimal parameters to detect any potential problems that may be developing. Our engineering team can instantly switch off, or bypass, any such components or equipment, enabling swift repair or replacement.

Mitie helpdesk colleagues and specialist engineers work together closely to provide clients with assistance and technical information. Clients can proactively contact our team at any time – via telephone, web form or Aria, our workplace app.

This data-driven approach to maintenance forms part of the Science of Service, a broad package of transformational solutions available to help our clients achieve lasting change within their businesses. 

Why data-informed maintenance leads to better results

Traditional predictive maintenance schedules require both precise management and sufficient manpower to conduct each check when required. The system stands or falls on accurate, comprehensive record keeping. These logistical challenges can escalate over time, increasing costs and creating staffing and time-management challenges for the business.

Data-informed maintenance stands in contrast. Using specialist software, engineers can potentially quickly zero in on problems, even specific components, significantly reducing the time required to detect and fix a developing fault. The potential business benefits are clear:

  • Reduced long-term maintenance costs (because wear and tear is reduced)
  • Reduced repair costs (because there are fewer serious faults to fix)
  • Less expensive equipment downtime
  • Increased productivity

Engineering maintenance: where data meets hardware

Future commentators will undoubtedly look back on our era as the Data Age. Thanks to modern information technology, data has taken a central place in the fast-paced, ultra-connected world of 21st Century business. Many businesses generate new data points 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and all that data requires sophisticated analysis.

The future of engineering maintenance is one sector where data can intersect with physical hardware to unlock a range of tangible business benefits – and AI maintenance software will provide the key. To fully explore our suite of data-informed management services, get in touch with Mitie’s team of specialists today.

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