Predictive maintenance survey reveals drivers, obstacles and the future

Financial considerations propel the use of oil analysis, infrared, and vibration testing.

By Paula Hollywood, ARC Advisory Group

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In brief:

  • PdM is the practice applying condition-based monitoring techniques to collect and analyze asset data to gain an understanding of asset performance and perform appropriate maintenance as indicated by the asset.
  • In order for production to meet targets, equipment must be available and in acceptable working order.
  • Efficient management of assets is critical to improving plant performance.

The global process industries lose an estimated $20 billion annually due to unscheduled downtime and poor quality. It’s no surprise that, in a joint survey by Plant Services and ARC Advisory Group, respondents indicated "improve uptime" as the primary driver for deploying predictive maintenance (PdM) solutions (Figure 1). PdM is the practice applying condition-based monitoring techniques to collect and analyze asset data to gain an understanding of asset performance and perform appropriate maintenance as indicated by the asset. The survey polled end users regarding current status of PdM programs, as well as future plans for improvement.

Figure 1. Almost 90% of survey respondents deploy PdM solutions to improve uptime.
Figure 1. Almost 90% of survey respondents deploy PdM solutions to improve uptime.

This PdM survey provides insights on practices and maintenance management. Users should compare their operations with the survey results to gain a better understanding of best practices and obtain ideas for proven improvements.

In order for production to meet targets, equipment must be available and in acceptable working order. Ineffective maintenance accounts for $60 billion annually, according to ARC research. This PdM survey reflected that manufacturers are well aware of this, too, as "reduce operational cost” was the runner-up, followed closely by "reduce maintenance cost". A sound PdM strategy can improve workforce and financial performance. With a combined view of asset availability and other operational constraints, workers can make information-driven decisions.

PdM technology usage

PdM is frequently referred to as condition-based maintenance, but, regardless of what it’s called, these types of solutions quantitatively evaluate equipment condition relative to an established baseline or standard. The value of PdM lies in its diagnostic capabilities, which greatly aid in the maintenance decision-making process. Spending for PdM systems continues to outpace that of the automation industry in general, as manufacturers seek to leverage a deeper knowledge of equipment condition as a means of increasing asset utilization and productivity and reducing maintenance costs, according to ARC research.

The increased amount and complexity of automation equipment currently installed in plants requires a higher-order approach to maintenance provided by PdM systems. As the discipline of asset performance management (APM) matures, the process industries are exhibiting a greater understanding of its principles. As users become more familiar and proficient in condition-based monitoring techniques, they will demand more from the equipment, and suppliers must keep pace.

Figure 2. More than two-thirds of survey respondents use oil analysis, infrared, and vibration testing as part of their PdM practices.
Figure 2. More than two-thirds of survey respondents use oil analysis, infrared, and vibration testing as part of their PdM practices.

The survey results indicate that oil analysis, infrared, and vibration are widely implemented now (Figure 2). Predictive monitoring solutions continue to expand in capability, as indicated by the interest in corrosion monitoring. The effects of corrosion cost the process industries roughly $300 billion annually in lost production, failure of key equipment, and fines for environmental and safety violations. Corrosion monitoring can significantly lengthen the life of mechanical equipment and piping, as well as prevent abnormal situations from occurring. In addition to traditional PdM technologies, reliability, predictive software modeling, and condition monitoring in EAM/CMMS were included as choices for survey respondents. Responses for reliability and CM in EAM/CMMS were very similar. However, it appears that utilization of predictive modeling as a PdM technology is not yet mainstream.

Integration enhances value of PdM

Stand-alone solutions can provide excellent value for newcomers, but may not be sufficient for sustainable improvement due in part to the islands of information stand-alone solutions create. The industry has progressed far beyond proprietary one-off connectors to certified interfaces to facilitate information exchange. In organizations where increasing physical asset reliability as a means to improve asset availability is deemed the primary goal, connecting PdM applications that directly or indirectly administrate, measure, analyze, resolve, and improve asset performance in a comprehensive fashion will drive appropriate workforce actions. The good news is that, for the most part, survey respondents are integrating PdM solutions with other enterprise systems, particularly with historians and EAM/CMMS (Figure 3).

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