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How SAP uses state of the art technology to optimize maintenance and improve business outcomes.

SAP’s suite of applications for connected assets has a new dimension with augmented reality (AR) and wearable technology. The solutions are impressive as is SAP’s commitment to helping customers jump-start and accelerate their solutions. Co-innovation labs are available to customers, partners and startups in predictive maintenance, augmented reality, wearable technology, and IoT. Solutions are in the cloud, on premise and integrated with the digital core and other solutions like mobile applications, SAP Digital Assistants, and the Asset Intelligence Network.

Early Detection of Asset Health with Predictive Maintenance

At the heart of the SAP connected asset suite of applications is SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service (PdMS) that covers the complete life cycle of an asset from production to end of life. This connected asset life cycle addresses warranty, maintenance, and investment-related business challenges throughout the asset life cycle. The goal of PdMS is to holistically manage asset health at the lowest cost by monitoring the condition of assets and providing decision support for optimization of maintenance schedules and required resources based on the risk of failure. Dynamically optimizing maintenance schedules helps avoid unplanned downtime of assets as well as unnecessary maintenance. Predictive quality is also part of the application suite to ensure delivery of high-quality and long life products during production at lower cost.

PdMS detects failures based on historical data, data science, and machine learning. The health of assets may deteriorate faster than expected, requiring a corrective action before the next regular maintenance is scheduled. Providing an early indicator for the developing failure enables the maintenance scheduler to turn the unplanned maintenance into planned maintenance, giving the scheduler more lead time for better planning and optimizing maintenance.

On the other hand, with regular maintenance schedules, maintenance is planned without taking into account the actual health status of the asset. This can result in unnecessary maintenance where maintenance is done although the asset does not require it yet. If the health status of the asset deteriorates slower than expected so that the next planned maintenance is too early, maintenance for this asset can be shifted to a later point in time. This dynamic optimization of maintenance will reduce the overall number of services needed for the assets and with it the number of service engineers needed. It also increases the asset up time and thereby optimizes asset efficiency. Since this optimization can be applied to the bigger part of the asset population, the financial impact of this optimization can be significant.
The goal of PdMS is to holistically manage asset health at the lowest cost by monitoring the condition of assets and providing decision support for optimization of maintenance schedules and required resources based on the risk of failure.

The Bigger Picture. Business Process Integration, Digital Core, and Mobility

When we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, predictive maintenance is part of a much larger business process that we refer to as the entire asset life cycle. This process first includes people that perform many different jobs working toward similar goals such as safety, quality, and up time. Each job is ultimately connected and has its own set of processes, assets, and technologies. For example, service technicians in the field require mobility. The goal of PdMS is to support the entire asset life cycle and to help people do their jobs more efficiently and improve business outcomes. A few examples of how PdMS supports different areas:

  • First visit fix rate can be increased by better understanding the asset situation to identify the right skills and spare parts that are relevant for corrective action.

  • Merging shifted maintenance with required planned maintenance reduces the number of services and and thus increases asset efficiency.

  • Maintenance optimization can give an early indication that production plans need to be adjusted when maintenance schedules will change.

  • Financial information about the cost savings achieved by the maintenance process optimization gives the customer a measure of the effectiveness of the optimizations.

  • In the field, early failure detection, diagnosis and maintenance is conducted and completed along with all closed loop processes.

PdMS goes beyond simple integration such as service notifications to support the entire asset life cycle as well. PdMS is deeply integrated with the digital core (SAP ERP, SAP S/4HANA, SAP CRM, SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer) and other solutions like the Asset Intelligence Network.

PdMS also integrates with mobile applications and SAP Digital Assistants to enable hands-free and virtual maintenance for mobile applications and the digital core. SAP Digital Assistants provide real-time enterprise data in a visual context for the user. They can provide safety, intuitive instructions or features as innovative as indoor navigation. They also includes augmented reality (AR) to provide state of the art mobile applications for customers.
Deep integration with the digital core enables business process integration, mobility, and improved business outcomes. Extensibility enables extending analytical capabilities.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Wearable Technology for Asset Health

A typical maintenance scenario of an asset operator or OEM using SAP PdMS, Digital Assistants, and mobile applications.

Augmented Reality (AR) headsets are used to scan the environment and the PdMS application provides early failure indicators overlayed on top of objects identified in the environment. For example, an airport runway is scanned using Microsoft Hololens, a number of planes are identified, and a health status indicator appears on top of each plane.

Without leaving the runway, the person wearing the Hololens can zoom in to the specific part with the yellow indicator and read or listen to the diagnosis and prescription. For example, PdMS describes the root cause and recommends that it’s more effective to replace than repair the asset based on key indicators such as usage, life, severity, and investment.

With a continued focus on the asset with the yellow indicator in the Hololens, a menu appears on top of the part that needs to be replaced. The simple options enable the user to create a service notification. PdMS then provides the most effective maintenance schedule and creates a work order. Finally, an inventory check is initiated and the part is ordered.

At another location, a service technician receives the work order assignment, sees the priority, driving directions, materials needed, work instructions, and time and materials using the SAP Asset Manager Enterprise mobile application.

The technician arrives onsite and uses smart glasses such as Vuzix m-300s to continue the work hands-free. The technician sees a digital twin of the part he or she needs to repair with the work instructions for completing the repair. The demo is voice driven with simple commands like “next” or “repeat”. Each step contains text, audio, and a 3D animated rendering. For example, it says, “remove bolts,” and the animation displays the bolts being removed. The technician can also do voice and video calls with remote experts using a solution like Skype to share what he or she is seeing and receive support.

A remote expert can use a Microsoft Hololens to see a holographic model of the asset where he can zoom, rotate, and look all around the asset from every angle. He or she can also conduct a Skype call in the Hololens where he or she can see what the other person is seeing and speak with the technician to help resolve the issue.

Learn more
SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service (PdMS) turns unplanned maintenance to planned maintenance, decreases unnecessary maintenance, and optimizes business processes. PdMS helps customers harness the value of connected sensors quickly in order to focus on outcomes such as lower cost, new business models, process improvement, quality and safety.

SAP Digital Assistants - Wearable Technology and Augmented Reality (AR) solutions enable hands-free and virtual maintenance with PdMS, mobile solutions and the digital core. SAP Digital Assistant features bring an added value to mobile applications by providing real-time enterprise data in a visual context for the user. It can provide safety, intuitive instructions or features as innovative as indoor navigation. As a Digital Assistant, AR can bring innovative features that complement the core use cases and provide state of the art mobile applications.

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