General Motors Prevents Factory Downtime with Connected Machines

March 15, 2016 - 4 Comments

Factory workers often learn about issues with their production machinery too late – after the line shuts down. For example, a robot used in Automotive Body in White production may suddenly break down or start yielding poor-quality welds. This can be disastrous for final assembly, halting output while workers troubleshoot the issue. Unplanned downtime in a factory can cost automakers $15,000 – 50,000 per minute, according to Nielsen.


Now we can prevent unplanned downtime using real-time condition monitoring and diagnostics.

Cisco has collaborated with FANUC and Rockwell Automation to create a solution deployed with hundreds of robots at General Motors’ factories to prevent downtime.

Dubbed by FANUC as Zero Downtime (ZDT), the solution alerts workers well before a problem occurs, so they can schedule maintenance in a planned outage window. According to Fortune Magazine, “The robot calls in and says, ‘I’ve got an issue in one of my motors in one of my joints.’ Or it may say ‘I’m about to get sick in a few seconds.’

This remote monitoring in addition to diagnostics and proactive maintenance planning is enabled through the 1+1+1 > 3 integration of capabilities and expertise that each company brings to the table.


Read more details about the GM success story in these recently published articles:

Manufacturers in a recent  survey project a 48% reduction in unplanned downtime from these kinds of connected machines solutions. What could your plants achieve if you could eliminate unplanned downtime? Let us know in the comments section below.



In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. This is a great solution! Imagine if other machine builders applied the expertise they have to the machines they build and sell! Leveraging that knowledge with a Cisco Connected Machines solution and our partners will allow machine builders to offer more value to their customers, and help them differentiate their offerings, all while adding a post sale services revenue stream to their business.

  2. It’s Not your Father’s Oldsmobile Factory! Great post. Be sure to tell our community the progress with BMW and Bosch and to start posting regularly. LOL: we want more car talk!

    • Indeed, Jonathan, GM is reinventing with digitization. Thanks for reading and commenting. We would love to share more about the outcomes achieved at BMW, Bosch and elsewhere; just need our customers’ express permissions! Some recent automotive customer outcome stories include Tesla and Mahindra. And we have another coming very soon. Watch for it this week!