Lift PdM data above the information din

The deluge of daily facts and knowledge can cloud maintenance data.

By J. Stanton McGroarty, CMfgE, CMRP, senior technical editor

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In brief:

  • Valuable predictive maintenance or condition-based maintenance data can sometimes add to the noise surrounding managers today.
  • When dealing with PdM or CBM output, the decisions aren’t usually very complex, but the data can be baffling.
  • Maintenance data needs to be distilled into actionable information and presented in an understandable and convincing manner to the proper organizations.

We’re all living in the Data Deluge of 2012. Broadcasting more raw data, even valuable predictive maintenance (PdM) or condition-based maintenance (CBM) data, just adds to the noise surrounding managers today. Most of them are trying to do their jobs while reading hundreds of emails per day and sorting through input from all the employees and contractors around them. Maintenance data needs to be distilled into actionable information and presented in an understandable and convincing manner to the proper organizations. This kind of information will help them make the right decisions in an efficient timeframe. In other words, it will make maintenance and reliability effective.

Data, data, everywhere

One organization that needs timely, well-organized information to maintain the asset health of its equipment is the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority (DMMWRA, www.dmmwra.org) in Iowa, which enlisted the help of a full-line PdM service provider for Web-based data and information support for maintenance decision making.

“After performing our monthly vibration, oil analysis, and annual air leak detection and infrared thermography inspections, our service providers post the results on the website within 24 hours,” says Bill Miller, CMM, MMC, MRO, ASE-EAM, ops support maintenance administrator, facilities management, City of Des Moines WRF. “They also post any results that need to be addressed within a specific time constraint on our alert board. We have also implemented the Infor10 EAM Asset Sustainability Edition (ASE) condition-based monitoring program, which is monitoring the energy consumption of our critical assets around the clock. Both of these programs are integrated into the ASE email alert system and EAM auto work-request (WR) generation function. Email alerts are sent out to schedulers, planners, and management, while WR are directed to the maintenance technicians. Through CBM we run a tight ship, should critical asset trending run outside of plus-or-minus two standard deviations from a normal curve, email alerts and WR are automatically generated and sent out to respective personnel. These two programs are set up and configured around a maintenance best practice and MRO storeroom environment.”

Mobile devices are becoming necessary tools to increase the efficiency and productivity of the workforce.

DMMWRA’s scale of operations and annual budget-driven operating approach dictate a different decision-making approach, as well. “Best-in-class advanced analytic reports we have developed pull accumulative data and upload it into our newly developed "quad" advanced analytic reports — the only one of its kind,” reports Miller. “The quad reports pull data from four major inspection and trending programs and incorporate this information into the quad report. The four areas from which data are pulled are facility conditions (FCAs), PdM inspections, EAM work-order historical records, and ASE energy consumption trending reports. Then the pertinent fields from each quadrant are uploaded into an advanced real-time physical condition lifecycle report used by engineering and finance for budgetary and CIP replacement scheduling purposes.”

The use of real-time data gathering and information generation have paid some exciting dividends for DMMWRA. “The biggest improvements have come through these key areas,” says Miller. “Through continuous energy consumption monitoring with the Infor10 EAM-ASE program, we have experienced annual energy savings in the area of $200,000. With the implementation of our advanced PdM and CBM programs, we have experienced extended equipment lifecycles ranging between 10 and 20%. The development of our advanced analytic reports has helped eliminate the run-to-failure maintenance approach, thereby taking the guesswork out of equipment replacement for engineering and finance. And all the information listed here assisted the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority in becoming one of the first industries in the nation to achieve PAS 55 certification.”

A good deal of training went along with the implementation of DMMWRA’s system. Even though most information gathering and processing is performed by contractors, several groups received training in the system. These groups included reliability and sustainability engineers, managers, supervisors, and maintenance technicians.

Train the users

When dealing with PdM or CBM output, the decisions aren’t usually very complex, but the data can be baffling. Usually the decisions take the form of when to issue maintenance work orders for repairs or periodic maintenance. The data, on the other hand, take the form of strangely named parameters and trends with mystically derived limits. For these to be useful, the data users must be trained. Staff turnover also requires that the training be renewed frequently in most companies.

In a plant with a sizable technical staff and a maintenance organization that can handle work orders reliably and in priority order, it may be adequate to train reliability and supervisory maintenance people and to publish data directly to them. This is the most economical approach to data use; however, training must be constant and up to date. Also, the maintenance work order system must be working reliably, or predictive work orders will constantly be displaced by breakdown work. Of course, the predictive orders eventually become breakdown work if they are ignored, but this will erase the safety, efficiency, and profitability improvements that the PdM system is designed to deliver.

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