Archive | January, 1999


12:50 am
January 2, 1999
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Embracing Asset Management


Bob Baldwin

Last year was not the best for some of us. Many maintenance and reliability organizations were under increased pressure to conform to the dictum: “Do more with fewer people and less money.” Expect no let up in demands this year. Pressure will continue to rise unless demand is vented or capacity is increased.

Our capacity to deal with the demands of the job is a function of the amount of information available to us, as well as our organization’s approach to the work. With the low-level repair approach to plant equipment, the organization is under extra pressure because it is operating in the dark, operating with little information on equipment condition and thus controlled by equipment breakdown.

As an organization elevates its approach to include preventive and predictive maintenance, the outlook becomes brighter. The organization now has more information about the equipment and increased capacity to manage it. The pressure of breakdown maintenance has been reduced. Embracing the higher-level principles of reliability-centered maintenance and modern business processes again increases capacity of the organization.

The outlook is expected to become even brighter at the next higher level: asset management. Although the asset management function is still being defined, its major characteristics are coming into focus. It views equipment reliability, capacity, availability, and maintenance as elements of an asset utilization strategy supporting plant objectives. Asset management is a strategic peer at the plant operations table, not a vassal for providing maintenance services.

We believe in asset management and we have made it a part of our tag line—The magazine of plant equipment reliaiblity, maintenance, and asset management. This issue has several articles that deal with asset management:

  • Brad Peterson, in “Defining Asset Management,” explores some of the characteristics of asset management and describes an asset management model being installed in a progressive plant of a major industrial company.
  • Gino Palarchio, in “The Physical Asset Management Profession in 2010,” presents the thoughts of the leadership of the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals on where we should direct our efforts.
  • The article “Exchanging Enterprise Asset Information” reviews the progress of the Machinery Information Management Open Systems Alliance in enabling an information network to serve the asset management function.

I hope you will join us in one of our resolutions for the new year—To facilitate the growth of the equipment asset management profession. MT


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12:45 am
January 2, 1999
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Surviving Changes In Management


Bob Williamson

One of the biggest barriers to maintenance and reliability improvement initiatives is “management turnover.” When upper management, the decision makers in a company, changes because of promotions or reorganizations, improvement initiatives often come under scrutiny. New leaders frequently come into the job with improvement ideas of their own and are seldom aware of the real benefits of the current programs. Wanting to make a big splash in the pond, they tend to push their own agendas at the expense of the thousands of hours, and dollars, invested prior to their arrival in the executive suite.

Surviving changes in management is a tough challenge for maintenance and reliability improvement initiatives because very few upper managers and key decision-makers truly understand the value that reliable equipment and processes bring to the business. They often see maintenance as a necessary evil, pure overhead, and an expense to be reduced to become more cost competitive.

So, how can you survive changes in management? If your maintenance and reliability improvement initiative is truly improving the bottom line, improving plant performance, show it. Show through historical trending how more reliable equipment is less expensive to operate than unreliable equipment. Consider the cost of maintenance as well as the additional revenues resulting from uninterrupted throughput and customer orders shipped on time. Data, data, data. Having historical data to show improvements in maintenance and reliability key performance indicators is key to surviving changes in management. Without the data you are “whining,” so to speak. Make sure the data connects to the bottom line business indicators, not just the typical maintenance and reliability measures.

Other survival preparedness should include before and after photos of critical equipment process areas. Show the effects of the old practices visually. People often forget how bad it was, or could be if an improvement initiative is stopped or employees are discouraged by the curtailment of an improvement process that made their place a better place to work. Many of the modern maintenance and reliability improvement initiatives result in equipment that is easier to maintain and operate.

Collect testimonials along the way from those who are working in the area where improvements are being, or have been, made. Undoing an improvement process that has engaged the people on the plant floor can do irreparable damage to the attitudes, cooperation, and that little extra discretionary effort that people contribute because they know they are making a difference.

One of our clients has been on a “TPM journey” since 1994 in their large union plant. They have grown to appreciate the value of documenting performance improvements using many of these approaches. They compile a list of TPM improvement activities quarterly, link the activity to the appropriate “pillar” of TPM, quantify the benefits to the people, and summarize the benefits in terms of one-time and annual cost savings, cost avoidance, and improved revenue/throughput. Digital photos of before and after conditions often accompany their reports and presentations to upper managers and senior corporate leaders. The key-performance data that has been collected for years, but seldom used, is now displayed on large colorful charts in prominent places. While this practice is not plant-wide yet, it is beginning to be used as an excellent communications tool in many of the areas where improvement efforts are underway.

I get calls and e-mails from readers who are experiencing the “death” of maintenance and reliability improvement processes because of changes in a company’s leadership. They wonder what they can do to save a program that they believe in and have been championing for years. Following the advice in this article can save some of these. Others cannot be saved.

Unfortunately, some improvement programs have had little or no measurable affect on the bottom line. They were not focused on results—they were merely programs to implement in the hopes that sizeable results would follow.
The bottom line: The language of “maintenance” alone often goes unheard by people in leadership roles. Be prepared to demonstrate how maintenance and reliability improvements have beefed-up performance of the business in terms of costs and throughput (revenues), and have positively affected the people and the work environment. MT

Robert M. Williamson, e-mail, Internet

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12:18 am
January 2, 1999
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Automatic Lubricators Solve Bearing Overheating Problem

One facet of a strong preventive maintenance program is proper lubrication. In order to prolong machine life, there are three approaches to lubricating:

  1. Manual lubrication with a grease gun is the simplest alternative if the bearings are easy to reach.
  2. Single point automatic lubrication is the answer for hard-to-reach points, inaccessible due to running equipment, machine guards, or remote locations.
  3. Centralized lube systems typically require a substantial capital investment, but are justified if there are many lube points grouped tightly together. These systems are, however, one more piece of equipment to maintain.

automatic_lubricatorsAutomatic lubrication systems can offer a minimal, constant flow of lubrication. The ideal lubricant film thickness on a typical ball bearing is 0.002 in., enough to provide a barrier between metal-to-metal surfaces, but not so much as to cause bearing heat buildup due to friction drag.

One northwestern United States paper mill went from manual greasing to using single point automatic lubricators on fan bearings, pumps, motors, conveyor bearings, and agitator screw bearings. After success in these areas, the mill asked the supplier, PERMA USA, to study one of its problem spots: the paper rider roll.

The tail end of a paper machine has a large winding roll that the paper sheet is rolled on to. A tensioner roll rides on the paper roll, and keeps the paper web/sheet in line. If a bearing fails on this tensioner/rider roll, the entire paper machine goes down. This mill runs three shifts, 24-hours-a-day, and could not afford extensive downtime. Although this paper machine received regular manual lubrication monthly, this was not servicing the four bearings on the rider roll well; they were overheating and dying. They were 315/16 in. shaft size, 3200 rpm.

A common misconception of greasing a bearing is that high-speed bearings break down the grease faster. Actually, the opposite is true. High-speed applications feature a shaft that is centrifugally centered, therefore seeing little contact with the bearing. The low-speed shaft sees more contact with the roller bearings, and therefore “crunches” down the grease faster.

The lubrication solution offered by PERMA provided single point automatic lubricators on a 6-month setting, giving the bearings ½ shot of grease per day. One shot equals a typical shot of grease from a grease gun, about 1 gram of lubricant.

The lubricators are settable with dip switches and instructions on the labels. They also offer outputs of 4 shots per day, 1 shot per day, or ¼ shot per day.
Since the installation of the PERMA Stars, the rider roll has not had any bearing failures in one year of operation. The paper machine has had no unscheduled downtime as a result of the rider roll bearings failing since the installation.

Single point lubrication is a simple solution for hard-to-reach bearings, but also offers solutions to critical need areas as well. The simplicity of a single point lubrication system gives companies the flexibility to approach many special situations with constant lubrication, in small quantities, keeping bearings lubricated but not choked with over-greasing. MT

Information supplied by Ken Koester, technical director, PERMA USA, 2727 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte, NC 28209; telephone (800) 997-3762; Internet Continue Reading →


9:03 pm
January 1, 1999
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The Physical Asset Management Profession in 2010

Is there a future for the maintenance and reliability profession? Yes, and it is called Physical Asset Management. Here are some observations from a practitioner.

Where is the maintenance and reliability profession moving? Will it still be viable in the next 5 years, or the next 10 years? What can be expected? I believe the profession will be more important than ever before, and be more tightly linked to enterprise performance. However, the function will be most visible as “physical asset management” rather than under its traditional label.

Here are some thoughts about Physical Asset Management and its future, thoughts that generally represent my view and that of the board of directors of the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP).

Common view of the maintenance profession
I recently asked a cross-section of managers and employees within manufacturing and maintenance from various industries one simple question: “What is the first thought that comes to mind when I mention the word maintenance?”
The most common responses I received were:

  • fix it
  • high cost
  • under utilized
  • not highly valued
  • bottom of the organization totem pole
  • untapped frontier of competitive advantage

In essence, these first thoughts are not what one would consider highly positive responses. There seems to be a fundamental problem embedded within the word maintenance itself, and the historical context that it brings.

In more straightforward terms I am talking about all the baggage associated with the term maintenance. As we dwell more on the subject we begin to understand that maintenance by its very nature and history has self-limiting drawbacks in its ability to further the creation of wealth in industry, in the economy, and for practitioners themselves. The limitations within the maintenance function can be further evidenced by the following points:

  • Rarely has an individual from the maintenance function of an organization risen to the rank of chief executive officer.
  • Maintenance expenditure for the most part is viewed as a tolerated cost as opposed to a desirable investment.
  • Aside from safety and environment, there exists very little if any legislation to ensure a specified standard of maintenance is practiced in industry.
  • Many of the world’s major physical asset disasters and associated fatalities have occurred from the root cause of inadequate maintenance.
  • The criteria to achieve ISO or QS 9000 certification have at best only one or two paragraphs dedicated to maintenance, yet typically maintenance makes up 25 to 30 percent of an organization’s resources.
  • Most academic colleges and universities do not offer programs toward a maintenance profession diploma or degree.
  • Most maintenance management personnel come from trade and engineering backgrounds with little business management experience.

The most self-limiting factor is how the maintenance function in many organizations is viewed, and the behavior promoted by that view. In most cases, maintenance is viewed as a service function rather than a critical business process. The service function view breeds customer supplier behavior, whereas the critical business process view breeds comprehensive ownership behavior.

Society For Maintenance And Reliability Professionals

SMRP mission
SMRP will be the global leader that . . .
• Facilitates information exchange through a struc-tured network of maintenance and reliability professionals.
• Supports maintenance and reliability as an integral part of business and asset management.
• Presents a collective voice on maintenance and reliability issues and advances innovative reliability practices.
• Promotes and supports maintenance and reliability education for production and quality processes to improve the work environment.

SMRP purpose
The Society is dedicated to instilling excellence in maintenance and reliability professionals.

SMRP values
• Practitioners for practitioners
• Learning and knowledge
• Sharing of ideas and information
• Fairness, respect, and diversity
• Industry leadership and an impact on our profession
• Teamwork among our constituents (members, vendors, suppliers)
• Quality and value
• Integrity
• Celebrate volunteers

Membership information
Contact Dana C. Wulff, Membership Services Director
Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals
401 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611-4267
(800) 950-7354 or (312) 321-5190

Trends in physical asset management
As we look out toward 2010, we must consider certain information and trends that have been evolving. If proactively acted upon, they can have either a very detrimental or very positive outcome for maintenance practitioners. These trends are as follows:

  • Customer expectations of the products industry continue to increase at a faster and more stringent rate.
  • Advances in technology are resulting in manufacturing equipment that continues to rise in complexity and thus becomes more complicated to maintain.
  • Environmental and safety legislation continues to place higher levels of custodianship in mitigating the safety and environmental consequences of physical asset failures.
  • Maintenance management functions are beginning to disappear and, in some cases, so are maintenance organizations all together.
  • Demographic trends are predicting serious shortages of skilled trades people in the next 10 to 15 years.
  • The suppliers of conferences, training, consulting, software, and hardware directed toward maintenance and reliability improvement are experiencing a boom and growing at a rate of 20 percent a year.
  • The opportunity to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness by which manufacturing equipment is maintained is being viewed as one of the last untapped frontiers of margin improvement in industry.

The detrimental outcome of these trends is that we could end up with a severe dilution and misalignment of the maintenance function as we know it today. The positive outcome is that if we act in an organized, proactive manner to develop a common approach to the practice of maintenance we will achieve value creation for industry and the economy and elevate the importance of a Physical Asset

Management profession.
The SMRP believes both these positive outcomes can be realized if we begin to focus less on the self-limiting and historical aspects of maintenance and more on the comprehensive aspects of Physical Asset Management.

Physical asset management in 2010
The Physical Asset Management profession that the SMRP envisions for 2010 would consist of the following:

  1. Standards in Physical Asset Management that encompass all required practices to maximize total financial and functional value over the complete life cycle of the physical asset.
    Examples of standards of the comprehensive practices would include design, capital procurement, installation and commissioning, staffing, spare parts procurement and storing, all maintenance and reliability business practices, life cycle costing, and much more.
  2. Common Physical Asset Management academic curriculum, accompanied by in-the-field internship, offered by the top business and technical educational institutions in North America.
  3. Legislation that requires certification and self-governing of the practices of the Physical Asset Management profession similar to the medical, legal, and financial professions.
  4. Annual participation in professional practice education sessions required to maintain certification.
  5. Standardization and integration of Physical Asset Management technologies in the form of software, hardware, and associated practices.

SMRP initiatives to elevate the profession

This vision of a Physical Asset Management profession is still very much in a state of genesis and will become clearer as the SMRP continues its leadership role in the evolution of this concept. It has developed an infrastructure in the form of several new and reformed directorships, including Professional Certification, Best Practices, Senior Management Forum, and Academic Liaison. Your input and participation is invited. MT

Gino Palarchio, business unit manager, Dofasco, Inc., Hamilton, ON, Canada, is director of the Senior Management Forum, Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals. He can be contacted by telephone at (905) 548-4582; email Continue Reading →


8:59 pm
January 1, 1999
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Maintenance and the Internet

Fifteen reliability and maintenance uses for the Internet, plus information on newsgroups and forums, from the new book Internet Guide for Maintenance Management.

The Internet is getting better for maintenance users on a daily basis. It is changing rapidly because users are becoming more demanding.

Internet pioneers were once wowed by the technology, brochureware (catalogs on the Web), and the ability to send a message and get a response. Today, maintenance professionals active on the Internet are more sophisticated and need more return on their time invested than even just a year ago. We have good reason to think that even greater change will come in the next years.

The funny thing about the Internet is its multiple personalities. It is easy to use (the learning curve is about an hour after you are hooked up, assuming you can already use a computer), and is mostly filled with trivia; yet at the same time, it is the answer to the prayer of maintenance professionals for around-the-clock access to information. Even as teenagers are chatting about the newest music, a researcher is accessing breakthrough up-to-the-minute research on the human gnome project.

The Internet is changing the way we communicate. E-mail alone has brought together families across the globe, authors writing books on three continents (at the same time), and presidents of companies with their employees. The change is radical, like the changes brought to maintenance by the fax machine or the computer itself.

Fifteen uses of the Internet
The Internet is being used by the maintenance profession in many ways. Since the capabilities are online, they are available around the clock, 365 days a year. Usually the servers (computers where the information is located that are connected directly to the Internet) are available except when they are being backed-up or serviced. Here are some ways you can put the Internet to work.

  1. The biggest use of the Internet is carrying messages or e-mail. According to one study, 80 percent of the business uses of the Internet were for e-mail.
  2. Finding vendors of everything from valves to engineering services. Companies can make their latest catalogs available as soon as they are complete. It is much less expensive to provide catalogs online than to print them. On-line catalogs save your shelf space and trees too. Because of the increasing cost of paper, expect to see a push for on-line catalogs. Since storage on computers is inexpensive, a huge volume of information can be made available, such as complete technical specifications, photographs, video clips, audio descriptions, or drawings. All of the information is just a click away. Locating vendors is the second most popular use for the Internet after e-mail. The driving force is the advertising budget. The fee for an entire Web site for a year is comparable in cost to a single full-page ad in a leading maintenance magazine.
  3. Technical bulletins: Information about the latest technical problem and fixes can be available minutes after the vendor’s engineers decide to put it on-line. No longer is there a weeks-to-months lead-time to publish and mail the bulletins. The software vendors are light-years ahead of everyone else in this area and give a higher level of support at a lower cost through this method (see item 10 below on software bug fix, software distribution).
  4. Drawings, field modifications, and manuals: The same way that you can be updated by technical bulletins, you can view manuals and download drawings. (Download means to copy a file from the server computer to your computer.) The file can be a manual, a drawing, just about anything. Wouldn’t that be great at 3 a.m. when you can’t find the wiring diagram? Also, field modifications can be fed back to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) engineering department if that is appropriate.
  5. Parts information, parts purchasing, reducing the cost of acquisition: Some sites allow you to look up part numbers from exploded drawings. You can move your mouse cursor to the part and then drag its number to an order form. Once you add your Purchase Order number and ship-to address, you have placed an order.
  6. Commerce: This use is an expansion of the previous idea. You can currently shop for many MRO items from storefronts on the Internet. Major industrial distributors such as Grainger and McMaster-Carr have a large presence on the World Wide Web. These storefronts currently cover all types of consumer goods and a few offer tools, maintenance supplies, uniforms, and other items. Encryption (a fancy way to scramble transmissions to make them hard to intercept and make sense of) is becoming widespread to allow high security for credit card numbers and bank information.
  7. FAQ (frequently asked questions): Every field and every piece of equipment has FAQs. These types of basic questions take up most of the time of the telephone support department. Novices, new customers, or customers new to a specific product can read the FAQ file. Many of the larger FAQ files have search engines that allow the user to make specific inquiries. FAQs are on-line and available 24 hours a day, when you, the new user, have a question.
  8. Technical help: Technical help is one of the greatest uses of the Internet. You can ask questions of the vendor’s technical departments and get answers back to solve your problems. Technical departments develop a menu of canned e-mails that provide solutions to common problems and can be sent immediately. The technician can then spend time on the more uncommon or complicated problems.
  9. Locating used equipment and parts: There are many classified ad sites where companies and individuals can buy, sell, and trade equipment. For example, a local manufacturer buys and sells punch presses completely on the net.
  10. Software changes: Almost all major software vendors allow access to the latest versions of their software. You can visit their site and download the latest version. Also, software that you may want to sample is available to download.
  11. Directories of installers and vendors: When you are looking for vendors or installers, you can ask members of a newsgroup related to the topic, make an electronic query from a home page, or send an e-mail to the company’s postmaster or webmaster.
  12. Access to libraries: Many university libraries and information databases are available online. The Library of Congress is putting its enormous library online. Another group is making the complete texts of great books available via downloading.
  13. User groups: Do you own a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and want to talk to others using the same system? Many user groups are going online as newsgroups. Here you can read others’ comments about the software, ask questions of the whole group, get help, and gripe to your heart’s content.
  14. Newsgroups: These are groups that are bound by a common love, hate, interest, or membership. By mid-1998 there were almost 35,000 newsgroups on the Internet with new ones starting every day. Groups range from people who collect stamps or love anagrams, to people who hate politicians or fast food.
  15. Killing time: If you have an hour or more to spare, the Internet can be more fun than TV and a lot less predictable. In some homes, Web surfing has almost replaced channel surfing.

Major capabilities of the Internet
E-mail is one of the most used and most powerful parts of the Internet. It links the entire world together and enables researchers, business people, and even elementary school kids to send messages worldwide. There are no extra charges beyond the local phone call to your internet service provider (ISP). A recent survey showed that over half of the users of the Internet just used e-mail.

Mailing lists are lists of people’s e-mail addresses. The people on the list share some common interest. The postings (comments from other subscribers) get sent to their e-mail box. You send a message to the whole group by sending it to a special e-mail address, which resends the message to the whole list. Over 71,000 lists were identified by mid-1998.

The World Wide Web (WWW, or just the Web) is where the explosive growth is taking place on the Internet. Any organization that can afford $100 per month can have a home page on the Web. All of the addresses that start with http://www. are World Wide Web sites. The World Wide Web was designed to allow graphic transfers of information. Among the most powerful aspects of the Web is the ability to hot link (hyperlink) to related sites on the Web. The hyperlink capability allows you to surf the net. Hyperlinking is also the area of great interest to the maintenance community.

FTP (file transfer protocol) was one of the early ARPANet (predecessor to the Internet) capabilities. Using FTP you can visit thousands of computers and copy files to your own computer. These files could be weather maps, programs to solve engineering problems, games, electronic books, bibliographies, or just about anything else. FTP sites allow access to public directories that you can browse (although you have to use the next capability, Telnet, to browse). In the newest browsers, FTP sites are indistinguishable from Web sites. The interfaces look the same. The mechanics of FTP are handled entirely by the browser.

Telnet (the other original capability) allows you to go to a remote computer and act like you are directly connected. You can browse the directory, run programs, or can do almost anything a local person can do. Telnet and FTP were early great applications that made the whole idea of Internet computing powerful and useful. Telnet is common in scientific sites and less common in business.

Search sites are essential in an entity growing as fast as the Internet. These sites are the card catalogs of the Internet. Most of them include robot programs called spiders that periodically search all of the Internet sites for key words and ideas. The search engine’s server creates an index file from the spider’s walk through the Web.

Newsgroups and forums
The newsgroups (Usenet, Netnews) feature of the Internet is like a giant bulletin board with sections reserved for groups bound by a common interest. One can simply browse the messages on the board, respond to specific messages posted on the board, or post new messages asking for information. By early 1998 there were over 30,000 newsgroups on every conceivable topic.

To find newsgroups of interest, use your newsreader (one comes with your browser) and subscribe to those of interest. Then, each time you use your newsreader, new messages of your selected newsgroups will be available for reading in much the same form as your e-mail. You may unsubscribe when the information is no longer of interest.

Finding useful sites for discussion in the maintenance world requires detective work. One strategy is using search engines. Many of them will search for phrases, keywords, authors, and companies in newsgroups. DejaNews ( is one of the more useful newsgroup search engines.
The population of newsgroups changes rapidly. It might take several tries to find a few that are concerned with the problems and issues that you face. If you find one, consider posting a request for other newsgroups or mail lists.

Web-site-based forum or discussion groups are similar to newsgroups but they are more formal, are typically moderated as to what can be posted, and are more focused because they carry out the objectives of the hosting Web site.

The Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals operates a forum on its site in the “discussion” section. A number of reliability and maintenance technology vendors operate forums for users of their software and hardware.

Newsgroups, discussion groups, and mail lists are powerful ways to participate in a field. They provide an important bond between the new people entering the field and the old timers. The groups also provide a community for people with common interests. However, the maintenance profession is in its infancy in the use of these types of resources. There may be a small explosion of forums, newsgroups, and mail lists in the next few years as more maintenance professionals get wired. MT

Joel Levitt is president of Springfield Resources, a maintenance management consulting company, based in Philadelphia, PA. This article is based on material in his new book Internet Guide for Maintenance Management. He can be contacted at (215) 924-0270; e-mail

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8:50 pm
January 1, 1999
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Exchanging Enterprise Asset Information

The Digital Revolution gets all the headlines these days,” wrote Kevin Kelly, executive editor of Wired magazine, “but turning slowly beneath the fast-forward turbulence, steadily driving the gyrating cycles of cool technogadgets and gotta-haves, is a much more profound revolution—the Network Economy.

The emerging model for asset management includes teams of knowledge workers with ready access to equipment, process, and business information. MIMOSA is developing the conventions to make it possible.

Those who play by the new rules will prosper; those who ignore them will not.
“The advent of the new economy was first noticed as far back as 1969,” Kelly said, “when Peter Drucker perceived the arrival of knowledge workers.”

Paul Smith, writing about the “Maintenance Knowledge Worker of the Future” (MT 5/95, pg 12), noted that Drucker defined the knowledge worker as a person who has formal education but may require manual dexterity skills to perform a job, and this description fits maintenance workers of the future.

“The role of the maintenance knowledge worker changes from being a servant of the equipment to one who uses knowledge and information to make the equipment serve the organization,” Smith suggested. “Computers and information databases allow blue collar knowledge workers to successfully make decisions that in the past were reserved for management.

“The knowledge worker of the future will spend less time trying to maximize the amount of wrench time and more time using information to find ways to optimize the effectiveness of the use of wrenches.

“What the maintenance worker of the future does, when he does it, and how he does it will be determined by knowledge and information. This new role will require that the maintenance system be tightly integrated with systems that control operations, production forecasting, engineering, process safety management, and financial results.”

The big disconnect
To be effective, knowledge workers in the equipment reliability, maintenance, and asset management arena need information—about objects, procedures, processes, people, parts, rules, and more. But there is often a disconnect between the knowledge worker and the data and information.

mimosa_info_modelInformation is segregated into functional and proprietary silos. For example, vibration data is kept in the reliability team silo. And, furthermore, it is probably locked in a proprietary container defined by the supplier of the data collector.

The Machinery Information Management Open Systems Alliance (MIMOSA) has developed a key for unlocking the proprietary container and is well on its way to providing what is needed to link up the silos. Here is an overview.

The MIMOSA approach
MIMOSA has developed a model for information exchange between the traditional functional silos. It has identified six functional areas that can be linked effectively to build an asset management network. Those functions are equipment condition assessment, maintenance information systems, enterprise information systems, product engineering information, control systems, and decision support.

Their relationships are shown in the accompanying diagram “Simplified MIMOSA Information Model.” The types of information that can be accommodated by the model are outlined in the section “Some Typical Elements of the MIMOSA Information Model.”

All the functional elements of the model will be accessible through open MIMOSA interface gateways. Today, condition monitoring data exchange has been tested and is beginning to appear in products from leading suppliers. This significant advance eliminates the need for expensive, inflexible custom software to exchange data between the many combinations of functional systems currently available from multiple suppliers. The MIMOSA exchange protocol is being extended to include additional condition monitoring measurements as well as reliability and work information in a format that will offer better integration with computerized maintenance management and distributed control systems.

The large horizontal arrow in the information model represents the open MIMOSA link between various system functions. It also can provide links elsewhere in the enterprise to display information and provide access to data.

Within the condition monitoring function (lower left block in the diagram), MIMOSA conventions provide an open means to exchange information among a variety of systems such as vibration, fluid analysis, motor condition monitoring, electric circuit analysis, ultrasonic, thermography, and operating logs.

The MIMOSA information model establishes a close linkage between the condition monitoring and decision support functions. MIMOSA visualizes decision support as the heart of asset management. Decision support must have full facilities for balancing current and projected condition with safety, economic, and environmental risk considerations. Today, decision support is primarily accomplished manually by experts. MIMOSA links will greatly improve the productivity of these experts by delivering information effectively and as required. MIMOSA conventions will pave the way to automating more of the decision process. Freed from the time consuming task of collecting and assembling data, human experts will have more time to spend in high value activities such as reliability improvement and root cause failure analysis that determine plant performance and profitability.

Enterprise asset management (EAM) systems and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) comprise the maintenance information function represented by the lower right block in the diagram. The function block above it is enterprise resource planning (ERP) made up of financials, human resources, production and materials planning, inventory control, scheduling, and other high-level functions.

The Open Applications Group (OAG) is establishing standards for exchanging enterprise business, financial, and administrative information. However, several EAM/CMMS companies have created direct proprietary links to certain ERP systems, and some ERP suppliers have purchased suppliers of CMMS and EAM systems.

Some Typical Elements of the MIMOSA Information Model

Technologies and functions
• Vibration—continuous protective, periodic predictive
• Fluid condition—lubricating and hydraulic oil
• Temperature—thermography
• Electrical—motor characteristics, current spectrum, circuit tests
• Corrosion protection—cathodic and anodic voltages
• Ultrasonics—leak detection, thick-ness
• Water chemistry
• Performance from control system and logs

Product engineering
• Engineering design
• Plant configuration
• Design specifications and drawings

Maintenance information systems
• Functional location and asset hierarchy
• Asset management
• Workforce management
• Scheduled maintenance
• Maintenance work management
• Spares inventory management
• Tool and rental equipment man- agement
• Maintenance cost accounting
• Nameplate data
• Manufacturer’s specifications
• Maintenance history—action taken, costs, process downtime
• Spare parts availability
• Work orders—number, requirements, parts, resources, safety precautions, schedule
• Conditions—as found, as left

Decision support
Information used by decision support function
• Events
• Numerical (scalar) values
• Vibration characteristics—numerical values, vectors, time waveforms, FFT and CPB spectra
• Fluid chemistry and particle distribution

Information activity within deci-sion support
• Mechanical diagnostics life assessment
• Life assessment (prognosis)
• Performance and efficiency cal- culations
• Operating deflection shape analysis
• Root cause failure analysis (RCFA)
• Reciprocating machine analysis

Information provided by decision support
• Status of equipment health
• Event—abnormal change occurred
• Rate of change of health
• Time to action
• Problem identification and description
• Components affected
• Recommendations for operating and maintaining
• Explanatory remarks and com-ments
• Work requested

The Standard for Exchange of Product Model Data (STEP) provides a standard method for exchange of drawings, documentation, and other information within the product engineering function. It is being extended to other areas including process control, and possibly maintenance information.

OLE for Process Control (OPC) is an interoperability convention being constructed on Microsoft’s Component Object Model. (OLE is an acronym for object linking and embedding). OPC originated in the control automation area as a high-level means to exchange information. The differences between OPC and CRIS structures will be handled by a MIMOSA business object model that will reside in the OPC Gateway element of the information model.

The MIMOSA initiative is solving asset information exchange issues. A MIMOSA business object model is being developed to facilitate full integration with DCS.

MIMOSA is supported by a variety of technology vendors, users, and other interested parties. Official sponsors of the MIMOSA initiative are Computational Systems Inc., ENTEK IRD International, Indus International, Predict/DLI, Prüftechnik, Reliance Electric, Siemens, SKF Condition Monitoring, and Solartron Group. Maintenance Technology is a regular member of MIMOSA. MT

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