7 trends within maintenance.

Which trends are driving the development of maintenance in manufacturing companies? 2BM Software’s CEO Martin Pock has been to EuroMaintenance, the largest European maintenance congress and fair, and he has these 7 suggestions. Many of them are closely linked to Industry 5.0 and the increased demand for sustainable production in economic, social, and environmental terms.

The fifth industrial revolution, Industry 5.0, is upon us. It focuses on sustainability, human creativity, and well-being and will also influence manufacturing companies’ approach to maintenance. This was an overarching point at EuroMaintenance 2023 in Rotterdam – Europe’s largest congress and fair for maintenance professionals in manufacturing companies. 2BM Software’s CEO Martin Pock was at EuroMaintenance, and he has these 7 suggestions of which trends will characterize the development within maintenance and production in the coming years.

1. Industry 4.0 + sustainability = Industry 5.0

Today, we characterize it as Industry 4.0, when we leverage sensors, cloud and IoT to make our production smarter and more intelligent. But hardly do we have time to embrace the potential of Industry 4.0 before Industry 5.0 knocks on the door and requires new demands from us – for the even better.

Put simply, Industry 5.0 is Industry 4.0 + sustainability in a broad sense. The three key areas in the European Commission’s definition of Industry 5.0 are thus: human-centric, resilient, and sustainable.

«Sustainability in economic, social and environmental terms is the new leg of maintenance. How can manufacturing companies reap all the benefits of IoT and Industry 4.0 and become more sustainable at the same time? This agenda will drive production and maintenance in the coming years for us in Europe to manage in global competition. This year’s EuroMaintenance is the first where sustainability has been the most important theme of all, and it will set the agenda for many years to come,» says Martin Pock.

2BM Software brings to the market, solutions that support predictive maintenance and companies’ work to reduce resource consumption; for example the application 2BM Mobile Work Order with its Asset Connector.

According to Martin Pock, the market is now characterized by a very strong interest in sustainable solutions among both manufacturing companies and manufacturers of machines and software for manufacturing and maintenance.

«The investment projects that companies now approve must have a green effect. Period. The green effect may consist of using less energy. One thing is to produce more and be more efficient, but there is also a huge saving in reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, because it costs so much. Earlier in 2023, we saw that the large chemical group Mitsubishi Chemical chose to close its factory in England because gas prices had become too high, so it was not worthwhile. You must be competitive with your product even if raw material prices rise. In addition, the industry will probably be subject to a CO2 tax at some point.»

2. CO2 is a business model

Today, CO2 reduction is a business model and constitutes a trend in itself.

«CO2 reduction has become synonymous with business improvement, because CO2 is created by fuels that have become so expensive for us. In our production and maintenance, everyone has to do the same calculation: If my plant has this lifetime, how much fossil fuel and CO2 will I save, and how much more will I get per unit produced?»

3. How can plants live longer?

Man’s efforts to live longer have had a parallel in manufacturing companies. Not least in Europe, where the Industrial Revolution from the mid-1700s spread from England to the rest of the continent. The trend has been named De-aging Assets.

«The early industrialisation in Europe means that our industry is very mature, and we have many factories that are old but still in operation, while countries such as China and India have many completely modern production facilities that have been built in recent years. When European companies with older plants consider investing in new installations, the trend now is that instead of expensive replacements, they choose to enable existing plants to live longer.»

De-aging Assets extend RUL (Remaining Useful Life), i.e. how long a machine can live before requiring repair or replacement.

«In addition to the immediate financial savings by extending the life of a machine rather than replacing it, it also has a positive impact on the CO2 footprint you create as a company. It is basically about creating a roadmap for «De-aging» of your production assets. It is a growing market where consultants go out and help companies find potential upgrades to existing facilities, including IOT connectivity and sensor installation. Best practices have already been established under the auspices of EFMNS and this will influence developments in this area in the coming years.»

4. The demographic challenge

It is not only in Denmark that the demographic development challenge our recruitment of employees for specific professions and sectors. The whole of Europe is suffering from an aging population. We don’t just lack nurses and social and health assistants. We also have challenges in production and maintenance which are not the most attractive professions among young people.

Generation Z – the generation born between 1997 and 2010 – is entering the labor market, and this requires more from manufacturing companies and their maintenance.

«When today’s young people were born, the internet was already there. They are digitally native and 100 percent mobile. They trust the internet and they don’t want manuals, but video. They will opt out of companies not ready to support their expectations and career aspirations. According to the trend, mobile and accessible solutions in maintenance are the future, and that is water on mine and 2BM Software’s mill.»

Intelligent software will increasingly be joined by automated maintenance performed by robots.

«To one degree or another, robots will run maintenance in the future. Development is ongoing. Today, they may not be able to do everything, but in some places, they can inspect a plant and automatically report back if something is not working as it should.»

5. Maintenance with AI

In parallel with an increased use of robots to monitor maintenance needs, our ability to deliver software that can calculate when a machine crashes, is growing.

«At EuroMaintenance, a professor of artificial intelligence explained how AI can be used to improve maintenance. The exciting thing for me and 2BM Software was that he proved the theory that with the use of different machine learning algorithms, you can predict reality when it comes to the remaining lifetime of a machine. He theoretically proved what we have already done with our predictive maintenance solution. He even used the same model as us, the CRISP model, which is the standard model for creating AI based on machine learning.»

With more precise, preventive maintenance, companies can extend the lifetime of their assets while increasing their OEE (Overall Equipment Effeciency) by avoiding unplanned stops.

«Until now, preventive maintenance has been a matter of scheduling a repair for a specific time, late enough for us to get value out of the machine, and early enough for us to avoid downtime. With AI-based predictive maintenance, we can wait to replace or repair the machine until the breakdown is really imminent,» says Martin Pock.

6. Digitalization must be anchored.

Digitalization is no longer a trend, but a condition. But the way in which the continuous digitization of production and maintenance develops is trending in new directions, and one of the most significant – related to Industry 5.0 – has a human face, Martin Pock explains.

«No more seeing digitization projects as projects owned by the IT department. Then they will run off tracks. New solutions and the ideas behind them must be anchored among the employees in the departments that will work with the solutions. We need to think even more about user interfaces and the processes that are important to employees in production and maintenance.»

If digitization projects are to succeed, it also requires more clarity on how a new solution in practice transitions from project stage to operation.

«Many large companies have global project organizations that make projects, but when they are finished, there is uncertainty about who takes over when a new machine or new software troubles. Governance must be sorted out on errors in the system so it does not ends up with no one using the new handheld scanner.»

According to Martin Pock, it was also an interesting point at EuroMaintenance that we create a fantasy about the potential of digitalization if we focus too clearly on the companies that are already well underway.

«We should not only focus on the most adaptable companies and then believe that the others will follow by themselves. It is precisely when we create solutions for those who have the hardest time adapting that we can lift digitalization to new heights.»

7. Psychological ownership

Industry 4.0 has been a showdown with how to work in the industry for decades, and the demand for change for companies and employees will only increase in Industry 5.0.

Only if the end-user of a new digital solution feels psychological ownership can the change that innovation aims for occur.

«Formal ownership – «you are the one and you are in charge» is no longer enough in itself. If you are going to have psychological ownership, you also need to have detailed knowledge. If you haven’t been introduced properly and haven’t recognized the project’s great WHY, you can’t feel psychological ownership. This is a major problem in many places today. Management sits at a seminar and decides to go one way, but no one really explains to the executing employees why this happens. Employees must be able to see themselves in it and want to invest some of themselves. If control, knowledge and self-investment are present, psychological ownership can be achieved.»

And psychological ownership comes with benefits that will be crucial to the success of manufacturing companies.

«Psychological ownership increases voluntary behaviour. Fewer will stop working. Fewer will apply to other jobs. More people will be motivated to work their way up the hierarchy, and more will feel pride in their company because it is a great place to work,» says Martin Pock.


Martin Pock

Martin Pock

CEO, 2BM Software