Industry 4.0 brings TPM into the digital age

tpm trs oee

Before you talk TPM, you need to know that Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing manufacturing on many fronts - from production throughput; predictive maintenance and quality to supply chain and inventory management.

Indeed, while this wave of innovation is being greeted with great enthusiasm by a traditionally conservative industry; a clear deployment and ongoing management strategy is needed to successfully adopt Industry 4.0 technologies.

So, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a lean manufacturing approach - developed in Japan in 1971 and widely used today - it is proposed as a strategy well suited to the smart factory and its IoT use cases.

In this article, we will cover:

  • -The fundamental principles of total productive maintenance
  • -How TPM is enhanced by Industry 4.0 technologies
  • -Choosing a pilot for implementing TPM in the smart factory
  • -What is total productive maintenance?
  • -Total Productive Maintenance is a system for optimizing maintenance and achieving perfect production efficiency.

-TPM therefore focuses on driving efficiency by organic means, i.e. using the company's existing resources.

Finally, the main objectives of Total Productive Maintenance are:

  • -No microstops or sub-optimal production rates
  • -No faults
  • -No unplanned downtime
  • -No accidents

The origins of TPM

The TPM approach is attributed to Nippondenso (now known as Denso Corp.), a company that created parts for Toyota.

Dissatisfied with the preventive maintenance methods transferred from the U.S. in the 1960s, Seiichi Nakajima, considered the founder of TPM, promoted the idea that factory workers should assume a wider range of responsibilities for machine maintenance.

Indeed, instead of each machine/production line having separate employees for operation and maintenance; employees would be trained with the tools and knowledge to do both; giving them a more holistic approach to ensuring machine health.

TPM methodology creates shared responsibility among plant workers, and increased morale and pride in the efficiency and condition of machines and production.

5S - The foundation of Lean TPM

TPM is based on another management methodology, also from Japan, known as 5S.

5S focuses on the organization of the work environment to improve efficiency and effectiveness through 5 main activities:

1st activity: Sorting (Seiri)

  • Action - Sort equipment and materials in each work area, moving unnecessary items to another area or disposing of them.
  • Result - the reduced footprint makes inspection easier, frees up space and makes searching easier.

Activity 2: Putting things in order (Seiton)

  • Action - Place tools and equipment in a way that suits the job. Frequently used tools are the easiest to reach, and storage is marked to facilitate the return of items to their designated locations.
  • Result - A smoother workflow.

3rd activity: Shine / sweep (Seiso)

  • Action - Regular cleaning and inspection of work areas, tools and machines.
  • Result - Slower deterioration of equipment and infrastructure, and improved safety.

4th activity: Standardize (Seiketsu)

  • Action - Train employees in the various procedures in detail, and provide them with an organized schedule, clear instructions and the necessary visual aids on site in the form of markings, photographs and illustrations.
  • Result - Procedures covering the first 3 "S" practices are planned, carried out regularly and monitored.

5th activity: Sustain / Self-discipline (Shitsuke)

  • Action - Set up training sessions and regular monitoring to ensure compliance.
  • Result - The 5S methodology is followed not because workers are asked to do so, but because they want to, initiating further improvements through experience.

Industrie 4.0 and the 8 pillars of TPM

With 5S as its foundation, TPM proposes an 8-pillar approach that aims to cover all possible aspects of maintenance in industrial manufacturing.

First, here's an overview of these 8 pillars and how Industry 4.0 can take this approach even further:

Pillar 1: Autonomous maintenance

Probably the most unique feature of TPM; the idea here is to make the people who work with a machine on a daily basis as "in tune" as possible with its behavior and performance.

Indeed, training operators to claim "ownership" of their machines; taking care of routine maintenance activities such as cleanliness; lubrication and inspection; and should be the first to try to solve problems as part of their training; before calling in expert technicians.

So, with Industry 4.0: As machines become more automated; monitoring improves and dashboards are easier to read; operation becomes less complex; making the "ownership" suggested by TPM much simpler and therefore more accessible to workers.

Pillar 2: Planned maintenance

Maintenance prevents malfunctions, while interventions by high-level technicians are carefully planned to minimize downtime for software updates or parts replacement.

finally, with Industry 4.0: Using predictive maintenance by means of machine learning; maintenance activities are carried out only when necessary and can be timed to avoid downtime altogether.

Pillar 3: Quality management

Training and encouraging workers to identify production problems that ultimately lead to defects and quality problems.

So, with Industry 4.0: enter "predictive quality" - sensor data and machine learning help identify anomalies in machine behavior; alerting operators; who can then carry out targeted root-cause analysis. Problems can be corrected much earlier than was previously possible; reducing the financial damage associated with quality deterioration and defects.

Pillar 4: Targeted improvement

Encouraging cross-functional team building and proactive involvement. 

Problems affecting production are tackled by workers who start with the main obstacles/barriers, moving on to more minor inefficiencies.

So, with Industry 4.0: through organized data collection and the application of artificial intelligence algorithms (e.g.; artificial neural networks); less obvious correlations between defects and root causes can be exposed. Inspection information and hypotheses can be shared across the enterprise; enabling more synchronized and successful collaboration.

Pillar 5: Managing new equipment

The design and installation processes for new equipment need to be planned on the basis of previous experience to ensure that performance targets are achieved quickly with a minimum of start-up problems and improved safety.

So, with Industry 4.0: production data in historical systems can be analyzed to identify best practices from previous installations / designs while taking into account current plant / factory conditions.

Pillar 6: Education and training

See Pillar 1 - operators are trained to maintain machines and identify problems. In turn, maintenance technicians learn approaches to more proactive work, while managers are encouraged to improve their leadership skills.

So, with Industry 4.0: SYRAM solutions offer an excellent opportunity to discover the complexities of manufacturing at all levels; from components and machines to production lines and overall facility management.

Finally, educational content can be online and available to employees 24/7. Novice staff can be assigned to experienced mentors who can access their activities and be available to answer questions.

Pillar 7: Safety, health and the environment

A safer working environment is created by identifying potential health risks and hazards and striving to eliminate them. Uncomfortable conditions are detrimental to productivity, and employees should not be productive when they are at risk.

Finally, with Industry 4.0: sensors can measure air quality; radiation; temperature and other environmental conditions that can affect health and performance; while early detection of harmful gases; electrical surges and fires can save lives and prevent damage to equipment.

Pillar 8: Administration

The TPM approach can be applied to systems not directly involved in manufacturing, including administration. The value of including administrative functions as one of the eight pillars is that this level of management - order processing; planning; personnel management; accounting - must be synchronized with other facets of the facility through effective communication, transparency and proven protocols.

so, with Industry 4.0: Artificial Intelligence algorithms are very well suited to analysis and decision-making processes; making this technology extremely advantageous for management.

Finally, according to the TPM approach, achieving excellence in each of the 8 pillars mentioned above is verification that a manufacturing plant is producing "world-class" results.


TPM has given rise to one of the most widely used Key Performance Indicators in the manufacturing sector: the Synthetic Efficiency Ratio TRS (OEE).

In fact, OEE is an important TPM metric, used to assess overall plant efficiency.

So, if we look at the objectives we have previously described for TPM, it becomes clear how they align for the calculation of OEE:

Finally, when you implement TPM in Industry 4.0; it makes sense to start with a proof of concept; analyze; and then move on to greater challenges. Choosing the right pilot is an important first step in the implementation process.

3 levels of complexity to consider when choosing a TPM pilot for your project

1st level: Simple improvements

  • Advantages : Initiating a small improvement is a good opportunity to achieve a "win" in a short space of time, and does not require an in-depth level of TPM knowledge. It's a good type of pilot for recruiting stakeholders and building confidence in the process from the outset.
  • Disadvantages: Making only a small improvement will result in a relatively low return on investment for the project, and won't generate as much information about the TPM process.

2nd level: Optimization

  • Advantages : By resolving a bottleneck in your production line or alleviating a constraint, you'll see an immediate increase in total production.
  • Disadvantages: Targeted optimization may require some planned downtime for experimentation and analysis, and there's a risk that you won't get a measured improvement on the original output rate.

3rd level: Problem solving

  • Advantages : Solving a long-standing problem with a machine/process will benefit from support in implementing TPM, and will be welcomed by operators.
  • Disadvantages: The return on investment can be relatively low. What's more, a complex problem may be too difficult a starting point, losing momentum.

The impact of Industry 4.0 on total production maintenance

As Industry 4.0 progresses, further disrupting the way products and materials are manufactured and the market itself, new plant / factory management issues will arise.

In order to meet these challenges; managers would do well to use methodologies such as TPM to ease the transition to Industry 4.0 and to ensure an impact on the bottom line through improved production rates; quality and customer satisfaction.

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Author: NAJI Faouzi