Enhancing Equipment Availability

Proper maintenance of plant systems and equipment supports optimal plant operation, capacity, and productivity; improves output quality and worker safety; reduces the likelihood and severity of plant and machinery downtime; and pares overall operating costs. Although maintenance covers many facets, the main objective now is to augment the effectiveness of current maintenance strategies by real-time monitoring of equipment health and processes using digital technologies (Figure 6.2).

Asset optimization is defined as the approach to maintenance that allows operating at minimum cost. Maintenance strategies are specific for each piece of equipment and contribute to its process function. The total cost associated with an equipment failure is the sum of the costs related to the availability of the equipment while the plant is down for repair; the costs associated with the repair and maintenance; revenue lost by not supplying product to customers; and increased environmental, safety, and asset risks. A computerized maintenance management system, also known as enterprise asset management, is used to coordinate equipment parts inventories, planning, and maintenance policies. The equipment and associated elements are related to plant areas and production lines. Each of these elements are subject to multiple failure modes. For example, Proclndustries has many processing areas, thousands of equipment pieces, and hundreds of thousands of sensors with different types of failure modes. This is a huge challenge for the digital transformation team.


Typical industrial maintenance strategies.

With raw sensor data and real-time calculations, such as totalized run times, asset performance efficiency measurements, and unscheduled asset downtimes, process, energy, and manufacturing companies can transform their maintenance programs from

  • • Time-based (servicing equipment every X months) to
  • • Condition-based (continuous monitoring and taking action before a failure) to
  • • Predictive (calculating when an asset is expected to fail) to
  • • Prescriptive operational maintenance (operational modes, production, and equipment) to
  • • Community-based maintenance (integrating remote service providers).

Transforming to a data-driven maintenance strategy allows manufacturers to reduce catastrophic failures, reduce business losses from being unable to supply product, more accurately budget for maintenance and replacement parts, improve safety, and avoid environmental issues.

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