Purchasing and introducing new technology isn't easy. It often requires business case development that many technical people haven't learned to do. Teamwork between technical and financial people is usually needed to identify and clear the path, but the value of good ideas can be demonstrated. For more on this topic, visit the PdM survey that ARC Advisory Group and Plant Services made earlier this year. (http://www.plantservices.com/articles/2012/07-predictive-maintenance-survey.html)
Once the obstacles are overcome, the new technology is usually introduced and used to solve the specific problem that was targeted in the business case. Great! the home team posts a win - but what happens next?
This is when the project should get exciting. The organization has a shiny, new technology in house, and it's all paid for. The team should be asking each other, “What else can this tool do for us to make life easier? How can it pay for itself over and over again and make us famous?”
Answering these questions may require the organization to stretch some new muscles. But once you get started, the exercise is great fun. A wealth of resources is available to help. The handiest may be the salesperson who sold you the technology in the first place. He or she can tap the company's experience to identify benefits that similar plants have derived from their tools.
There are also established experts in each technology who are usually available to discuss applications. Many of them are very generous with their time. For example, to see a sampling of experts in the area of thermography, you can consult our July article at http://www.plantservices.com/articles/2012/07-commit-thermography-predictive-maintenance.html. Similar collections of ideas are available for other technologies.
Whether or not your organization is blessed with application geniuses, the marketplace is full of them. Another good place to start could be the Plant Services “Ask the Experts” group at http://www.plantservices.com/industrynews/2012/ask-the-experts.html. The link will bring you to a list of topical experts who can help directly or introduce you to others who will have the answers you seek.
One-trick-ponies are fine on merry-go-rounds, but in the factory they usually indicate poor use of resources. The first application for a new technology should not be the last. After all, the hard part is getting technology in the door. After that, let the geek fest begin!