By Jeff Zacuto, Director of Product Marketing

In the fast-paced worlds of defense, air, and rail operations, where operational technologies (OT) play a pivotal role in critical infrastructure, the ability to predict and prevent equipment failures isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. This is where the concept of predictive maintenance for OT comes into play.

Predictive maintenance uses real-time condition-based monitoring and artificial intelligence/machine learning inferencing to anticipate potential issues before they occur. This proactive approach not only helps enhance the performance of OT assets but can also significantly reduce maintenance costs.

But existing predictive maintenance solutions fall short when applied to OT environments, as most are often designed for IT environments. Without access to all the data flowing across an entire fleet of assets, operators and maintainers can only get a partial view of a fleet’s true health and an asset’s actual condition.

Introducing the Shift5 Predictive Maintenance Module 

Today we’re introducing the Shift5 Predictive Maintenance Module, a new and powerful enabler of better data-driven predictive maintenance outcomes. The Shift5 platform captures and analyzes data from data onboard critical transportation and defense assets. The platform provides real-time insights that enable effective prediction and maintenance scheduling, helping avoid critical failures and optimizing fleet availability.

Whether you’re a hands-on maintainer, a business decision-maker, or the commander of a fleet of military assets, the insights the Shift5 Predictive Maintenance Module derives from your fleet’s onboard data can transform how you work today.  

Operationalizing Onboard Data is an Obstacle  

The stakes are high for the defense, air, and rail industries. Our nation’s security, public safety, and economic well-being are deeply intertwined with the performance of our critical transportation and defense infrastructure assets. For example:

  • Defense: Our national security, as well as the security of our Allies and partners, directly relies on the readiness, lethality, and survivability of our military’s fleets and weapons systems.

  • Rail: The rail industry is the backbone of our nation’s economy, and its challenge is twofold: The need to optimize the performance of legacy assets that have been in service for decades and the task of integrating newer, technologically advanced assets with existing rail platforms and systems.

  • Air: For airlines, passenger safety, and fleet reliability are the top priorities. The challenge for airlines lies in maintaining high safety, reliability, and compliance standards amidst the increasing complexity of technologically advanced and increasingly connected aircraft.

The components and data buses onboard these assets generate enormous volumes of data that can enable faster, more precise maintenance outcomes. However, data in almost all cases is often incomplete, viewed as proprietary, or tightly controlled by third parties. This incompleteness and inaccessibility create gaps in observability that prevent performance optimization and real-time decision-making.

A New Way Forward for Predictive Maintenance

In the face of these challenges, the Shift5 Predictive Maintenance Module can help. Powered by our hardware, bus, and protocol-agnostic platform, the module unlocks critical insights that enable better, more reliable predictive maintenance outcomes. Our platform is designed to perform passive, full-take data capture at the edge from any onboard source — every frame, bus, and protocol, filling the gap left by existing systems and tooling by collecting and analyzing enormous volumes of onboard data generated across entire air, rail, and defense fleets and weapons systems.

The Shift5 platform doesn’t just capture data; it translates raw onboard operational data and performs deep enrichment, meta-data merging, tagging, and labeling; actions that lead to creating scalable datasets that can uncover new critical insights. The platform analyzes and correlates vast volumes of onboard data collected from across assets, fleets, and operations to help detect, identify, and alert on operational anomalies.

It then helps visualize complex onboard operational data in a meaningful, task-based manner using pre-packaged or customer-developed dashboards. These visualizations simplify complex data, making it accessible and actionable for decision-makers, operators, and maintainers alike.

And the Shift5 platform can extend its value further by exporting data and analysis to existing systems, platforms, or storage (e.g., maintenance, ticketing, AI/ML, etc.). This democratization of data ensures that the insights generated by the platform can be integrated seamlessly into existing workflows, enhancing their effectiveness and efficiency.

Our platform’s full-take data capture, combined with the new Predictive Maintenance Module and our Cybersecurity Analytics Module and Compliance Module, make it more than just another point product. It’s a comprehensive, extensible platform that empowers decision-makers in the defense, air, and rail industries to make real-time decisions that improve their fleets’ availability, reliability, and resilience.

Data-Driven Insights for Excellence-Driven Organizations

The Shift5 Platform’s Predictive Maintenance Module brings many benefits to the defense, air, and rail industries. It’s not just about preventing failures—it’s about optimizing performance, enhancing safety, and driving cost savings.

  • Observability: Provides access to onboard operational data and insights previously obscured by legacy limitations, complexity, or design. Monitors asset performance for patterns and trends indicating problems and identifies potential maintenance actions.

  • Readiness: Enables faster, better decisions. It helps reduce unscheduled maintenance and optimize fleet availability. Get early warning indications to mitigate problems before they cause delays and identify resourcing needs earlier.

  • Safety: Automates monitoring system/component thresholds and helps forecast and prevent equipment failure. Enable scheduled maintenance before equipment failure to help reduce the risk of malfunction. It also identifies and prioritizes potential safety hazards, which can avoid legal liabilities and fines.

  • Cost savings: Identifies equipment failures and more accurately attributes maintenance responsibilities. Shorten sustainment cycles and ensures assets remain in service longer to prevent costly delays and lost revenue. It prioritizes maintenance for equipment likely to fail to help reduce costs. It finds and fixes potential safety hazards, which can mitigate legal liabilities and fines. It keeps asset components at optimal performance levels to help extend asset life. Focus on Critical Security Events 

The Shift5 Platform is more than just a tool; it’s a comprehensive solution that enables real-time decision-making that improves the safety and reliability of their most critical, expensive, and long-lasting assets.

Shift5: Observability of Onboard Data for Enhanced Predictive Maintenance

The introduction of the Shift5 Predictive Maintenance Module marks a significant step forward for maintenance practices within the defense, air, and rail industries. By harnessing the power of onboard data, this module can transform how these industries approach maintenance, shifting from a reactive to a more fully proactive strategy.

The ability to capture, process, analyze, visualize, and extend onboard data is not just a technological benefit, it’s a testament to the potential of data-driven solutions. It’s about leveraging data to make informed decisions, optimize performance, and enhance safety.

The future of maintenance is not just about preventing failures, it’s about anticipating them. It’s about using data to understand the health of fleet assets, predict their needs, and optimize their performance. This is the future that the Shift5 Predictive Maintenance Module helps create.

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