Reliability is a central and cost-determining issue in the context of the development, validation and maintenance of mechatronic, controlled or hybridized systems. Uptime Engineering has developed methods and solutions to establish this topic as a continuous, cross-departmental process in a company: Their software – suite Uptime SOLUTIONS – is able to support the reliability process of systems and products over the entire life cycle. 

The core of this suite are the solutions Uptime PROVE (organization of product development), Uptime LOCATE (ensuring system reliability) and Uptime HARVEST (optimization of preventive maintenance).

Interview with Dr. Franz Langmayr, Managing Director at Uptime Engineering GmbH.

Easy Engineering: What do your customers look after when buying products or services?

Franz Langmayr: Our customers maintain fleets of wind turbines, metro systems, vehicles, machines and process industry equipment. Despite the diversity of these appliances, from a reliability and availability point of view they have a lot in common. Their “physics of failure” is generic to a high degree.

E.E: What are the main needs of the customers?

F.L: In all of these industries we see the need to prevent unexpected failures. This is due to the high entailed costs resulting from unplanned downtimes and also because the failures might lead to further costs and risks from consequential damage. 

E.E: How important are the after-sales services?

F.L: The after-sales divisions are becoming ever more important for manufacturers, since in several industries long-term service contracts are in high demand. Total cost of ownership or total cost of energy production is more and more becoming the standard approach. For this business case long-term risk management via optimized service and maintenance is crucial. It requires risk-identification, risk-mitigation and documentation. This is what we offer with our consulting and software Uptime HARVEST™.

E.E: What after-sales services do you offer?

F.L: The focus of Uptime ENGINEERING is on the reliability process for product validation and for fleet maintenance. The reliability process starts with the identification of degradation risks, providing the requirements for the risk-focused analytics of fleets and equipment.

A reasonable set of input-data for analytics is meanwhile existing from fleet supervision. However, there is generally lack of value from data. This is basically because it is not trivial to identify what is relevant in order to avoid failures. 

E.E: What is the specialty of your service and software?

F.L: Uptime ENGINEERNG’s background is the product validation methodology. In this context we have gained comprehensive knowledge on how technical systems might fail during customer usage.  Over the years we have set-up our knowledge and model base on degradation modes and damage kinetics. 

This comprehensive knowledge base is directly useful for condition based and predictive maintenance (CMB & PDM). Furthermore, its models refer to those degradation modes, which might lead to failures in the field.

Our on-line, web-based software Uptime HARVEST™ supports CBM and PDM. It consists of three modules:

  • DETECTION indicates deviations. I.e. it finds hints on degradation via automatic analysis of supervision data. In many cases this is already sufficient to send a service technician to the suspicious equipment. Complementary on-site tasks are specified for the technicians to inspect suspicious equipment. 
  • DIAGNOSIS finds root causes. This is executed by combining the on-line indicators with the on-site information from the service personnel and finds out, which failure mode fits with these findings. The combination of on-line analytics and on-site inspection makes up quite a powerful guidance for sustainable problem solving.
  • PROGNOSIS predicts time to failure. The root-cause diagnosis identifies the proper damage model for the evaluation of the remaining useful life. It facilitates predictive maintenance. For this task we again leverage on our experience and damage model library.
  • Engineering knowledge, physics of failure and applied statistics models are used for these tasks. These models are made transparent to customers and agreed with their experts. 
  • The understanding of how the software Uptime HARVEST™ processes data and generates results is very important to our customers. Since they remain responsible for decision making also in CBM/PDM regime it is essential that they understand the models for the assessment and usage of the results.

E.E: What kind of support do you offer your customers?

F.L: We offer a combined solution for maximum reliability, consisting of consulting, training and the software Uptime HARVEST®. The implementation typically starts with a weak point analysis to identify the maintenance hot spots and cost drivers. Together with the customer we develop a corresponding strategy for a step-by-step maintenance optimization. 

It includes the initial risk and cost-benefit analysis, the risk assessment, the analytic algorithms, further support for the implementation of the data process and the change process for maintenance optimization.

E.E: How do you promote your after-sales services?

F.L: We contribute to conferences on smart maintenance and publish best practice in international journals. We have been participating in large-scale R&D projects, currently the EU funded project “ROMEO” on wind park maintenance optimization. 

Only recently we have launched our new homepage with quite some content on methods and use cases for various industries. On the homepage there is also our Reliability Magazine, where articles and videos on reliability topics are posted, most of them derived from project learnings. We use LinkedIn as a platform to announce news.

Further we are currently preparing application videos to demonstrate the functionality of our Software suite.

E.E: What impact has product innovation on your customers?

F.L: Innovation is a must for our customers in order to meet market demands and legal requirements. However, from the reliability point of view innovation is one of the major risk drivers. It is therefore of utmost important to implement innovation risk management. 

Our patented approach to this task identifies the intended changes from innovation. The effects of these changes are propagated through the whole system to uncover all the unintended side-effects as well. They are the risk drivers. Consequently, their severity is assessed to set-up the catalogue of risk-mitigation measures.

For highly innovative equipment this approach is replaced by a first-principles.

E.E: What industries do you think will grow in 2022? 

F.L: Globally the rail industry is on a steady path of growth, which includes digitization, in particular for condition based and predictive maintenance. Here a large need meets a great potential. Centralized service organizations are capable of using the recommendations from our software Uptime HARVEST for preventive maintenance to avoid unplanned downtime.

The rising requirements on the availability of construction machinery and commercial vehicles lead to a similar optimization path for service and maintenance.

The largest and most sustainable growth will take place in the renewable energy industry. There are huge investments in this sector. The capacity extension of wind and PV parks and hydro power needs to be accompanied by a maximization of their availability. 

E.E: What solutions do you bring for these industries?

F.L: With our combination of consulting and software we provide the scalable and adaptable solution to achieve maximum reliability and availability. 

We work in close cooperation with technicians and supervisors to support their daily service jobs as well as the strategic planning and implementation of advanced maintenance strategies.




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