Maintenance 4.0: What, my new employee is a robot?!

Detlef Aden

Neither science fiction nor a far-off vision of the future: In manufacturing processes, robots are already being used in high numbers. Their presence will also soon become the norm in maintenance departments.

Who’s been turning back the clock?

Is it really that late? Keep your eyes open: We have now arrived in 2017. At the HANOVER TRADE FAIR 2017 held in April, everything revolved around digitalization and how our working world will be altered. For me, robots are a very conspicuous feature that demonstrate how the hurdles are falling in the use of new technologies. Barring only a few exceptions, robots have always only worked behind enclosures. However, in terms of this we are currently going through an extreme change. Because more and more often robots are now becoming our colleagues. They have direct contact to people and have become a part of the team. Just like a new colleague!

What can maintenance do so that it is not left behind?

Make it clear that digitalization is also a very important topic for maintenance – a topic that even this department (or: in particular this department!) can no longer ignore. We feel digital change everywhere: from our personal lives to business, and from our desk to the machine park. A lawnmower-robot is even being used to mow lawns. Have you noticed anything yet?

Do I have to immediately purchase a robot if I work in the maintenance department?

That depends on how far you have advanced with your Industry 4.0 project. You don’t know what I am talking about? Then you should highlight this project in CAPITAL LETTERS on your agenda as soon as you can! Your competition is most likely already working hard on digitalizing and streamlining their processes. As far as I am aware, digitalization means the ability to use digital technologies. Digitalization must always effect an optimization. Otherwise, digitalization in itself wouldn’t make much sense.

The goal: strive to get better!

Today, every company must run like clockwork. Companies that are still debating questions such as “Do I have to digitalize my company? Do I have to implement Industry 4.0 processes?” will quickly be left behind. Or perhaps they have already been left behind. More likely, the question to pose is:

What can I do NOW to not fall behind?


Where do I find people that will help me find a successful road to the realization of digitalization, IoT, and Industry 4.0?

What happens with my old IT?

We often are asked the question: “What do I do with my old IT?” I tell it like it is: The IT you installed ten, fifteen, twenty or even thirty years ago will no longer be able to help you. Not even if you have been actively tinkering with it for years. Or did you have a smartphone twenty years ago? Let me ask you another way: Would you be able to build a smartphone using your old Nokia 3310 as a basis? So, you see: The decisive factor is establishing a contemporary and progressive basis upon which you can build.

What can I specifically do in order to make my maintenance future-proof?

If you ask yourself this question, then you’ve come to the right place. The focus topic of “maintenance” (and subtopics like enterprise asset management) is my passion and for years I have been actively working on the questions listed in the article. I am very fortunate to have been able to assist many companies during their successful road into the future.


My tip for you today: Visit our Live Webinar: Digitizing Services and Maintenance: Sensors will change your business.