Archive | Asset Management

49

8:52 pm
March 16, 2017
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Intelligent Water Making Strides towards Predictive Analytics

EXCEL XR metering pumps are designed for the specific chemical pumping requirements of municipal and industrial water treatment.

Last week, I ran across a Smart Water spending forecast from Bluefield Research and this week there’s an interesting post from Jim Gillespie, co-founder of Gray Matter Systems, a system integrator for cloud solutions and predictive analytics. All signs point to an increased spend in this sector for pump and motor sensors, but where will this investment come from?

According to Gillespie and his post on TechCruch, utilities may be able to sell “solutions” to other wastewater operations like the power industry has done. Gillespie cited how the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority has commercialized their intellectual property, giving them a new revenue channel. The water district is commercializing their water ammonia versus nitrate algorithm and selling it other treatment plants, according to Gillespie.

>> More || Smart Water Infrastructure Continues to Grow, but Real Challenges Persist

As I noted last week, new investment dollars are hard to come by but there’s are a lot of new use cases in the wastewater space, see below:

Another IIoT development, a new SaaS application that’s set to launch later this month, will calculate wastewater clarifier tank performance — providing quick analysis on a critical step in the wastewater process. The tool, called ClariFind, alerts utilities as they’re getting close to a failure before they experience it. ClariFind will predict when sludge will overflow and be released. This kind of problem causes EPA issues and fines that can run in the millions of dollars. It will also be able to predict a thickening failure, which is when the effluent doesn’t settle correctly and creates a costly sludge blanket in the tank. ClariFind is just one part of a water operations suite of productivity enhancers — solutions as a service.

Read the Full Post on TechCrunch >>


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325

2:58 pm
March 13, 2017
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Keep Stored Gear Reducers Service Ready

When gear reducers and other capital spares are improperly prepared for storage, their service readiness can be seriously compromised.

When gear reducers and other capital spares are improperly prepared for storage, their service readiness can be seriously compromised.

Are your statically stored gear reducers service ready? That’s the first of several questions from Dillon Gully of Motion Industries (headquartered in Birmingham, AL, motionindustries.com). He has good reason for asking. In conducting borescope inspections of statically stored internal-gear reducers for customers, Motion Industries personnel discovered as many as one-third of these assets sitting on shelves in a failed state.

Next questions: Are you willing to gamble the OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) and profitability of your facility on gear reducers and, for that matter, other capital spares that might not be service ready? What would you tell your boss if a critical spare were to fail within mere hours? Think this scenario doesn’t apply to you? How can you be sure? Gully offers some advice for achieving peace of mind.

— Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Effective management of capital spares involves up-front identification of these assets and making sure they are in service-ready condition prior to preparing them for long-term storage. Unfortunately, many operations don’t follow through on this process once purchased units arrive on site. According to Gully, these steps are the only way to support the reliability of stored spares.

Capital spares can be defined as any item that is critical to production, promotes safety, decreases downtime, and/or prevents environmental issues. Gear reducers certainly qualify. The best way of verifying that these assets won’t fail as soon as they’re put into service is to inspect them before they are stored away—perhaps for years. Minimally invasive borescope inspections are a particularly good inspection method.

In a borescope inspection of a gear reducer, a camera scope visually inspects the condition of bearings, gearing, and internal components. The procedure can be accomplished through a plughole, which prevents contamination of an asset, if it is, indeed, ready for service. (Compared to the cost of replacing a failed bearing, costs associated with borescope inspections are also minimal.)

randmStorage planning

While information gleaned from borescope inspections can be used to confirm service readiness—or help identify steps for making a spare service ready—it can also help determine how to prevent these units from improper storage.

Corrosion, i.e., rust and contamination, are two, of many, causes of failure in gear reducers. When borescope inspections identify the presence of these failure modes, steps can be taken to correct them before the equipment is put into storage, as well as prevent those problems from recurring during storage.

Once a plan to prevent failures in stored spares is developed and implemented, it should be consistently followed. Every unit that will be stored, for whatever period of time, should be carefully protected. Preventing rust and contamination is a great start in protecting asset reliability and, thus, ensuring service readiness.

An ongoing process

Keeping stored spares in service-ready condition requires management accountability. Someone must be assigned responsibility for these assets, and expectations should be clear and realistic. It’s the responsibility of that designated person to ensure all spares are properly prepared and maintained. Identifying failed spares and bringing them back to service-ready condition is an ongoing process. As Dillon Gully emphasizes, “It should not be done one time and then forgotten.”

This plan for reliability can lower the probability of failure and bring a welcome degree of certainty regarding your stored gear reducers and other capital spares. MT

Working as an analyst for Motion Industries’ service center in Pensacola, FL, Dillon Gully has been conducting vibration and borescope inspections and managing capital spares for three years. For more information on these topics, visit motionindustries.com or bearings.com.

58

12:45 pm
March 8, 2017
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Smart Water Infrastructure Continues to Grow, but Real Challenges Persist

smart water markets

The US (39 projects) and the UK (21 projects) were the most active smart water markets during the last half of 2016. Source: Bluefield Research

By Grant Gerke, Contributing Writer, IIoT

A new report from Bluefield Research suggests that a massive smart infrastructure buildout is coming to the water and wastewater industry in the next eight years, with more than $20 billion to be spent in metering, data management, and analytics.

As devices, sensors and cloud solutions become cheaper over the next ten years, there will be a solid investment in this space but the research rings a little hollow to me. The U.S. industry, in particular, is aging and resources are limited but the big challenge may be in the area of system integrators. In a feature article from a couple years ago, I interviewed Roger Knutson, public works director at the biggest water and wastewater department in Minnesota. For Knutson, the real challenge was in overseeing software and plant monitoring upgrades to multiple plants with his own internal staff. System integrators weren’t in the budget.

“So, the real challenge is to maintain the different technologies during that timeframe,” says Knutson. We’re talking about the new and old versions of software running side-by-side at different plants or just at different plants.”

Even the Bluefield research report says that “a significant hurdle will be integrating legacy systems with new software platforms.” However, the challenge may be workflow processes, the less glamorous side of the asset management and IIoT narrative.

Other highlights from the research include:

• Halving non-revenue water– leaks and billing errors– and reducing energy consumption from 20% to 40%.

• The smart water sector is expected to scale to $12 billion in the US and $11 billion in Europe by 2025. Other hotspots for smart water activity include Australia, Singapore and Israel, where water stress and established utility network operators are more receptive to advanced technology adoption.

• European utilities are at the forefront of smart water in terms of operational solutions, while the US leads in terms of metering.

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154

7:05 pm
February 16, 2017
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Silicon Valley Company Joins the Predictive Maintenance Party

predictive maintenance platform

Source: Element Analytics

Silicon Valley-backed Element Analytics formally announced their industrial software analytics solution, Element Platform, to the market last month. The San Francisco-based Element Analytics is taking aim at the oil and gas, chemical, utility and mining industries while partnering with OSIsoft and Microsoft’s Partner Network.

The platform and the solution is a good fit for those industries, as those fields tend to rely on proprietary automation and equipment platforms that need optimization. Oil and gas, specifically, moved their strategy from offshore to their current installed base to find profitability and most producers are understanding the need for infrastructure improvement. From the press release, the Element Platform works with OSIsoft’s technology in moving unstructured, operational sensor data from “silos” to a cloud-based analytics platform, where asset models help predict downtime for physical equipment.

Related Content | How to Start a Predictive Maintenance Program

“Industrial operators face no shortage of data, says David Mount, Kleiner Perkins’ Green Growth Fund partner and co-founder of Element Analytics. Mounds of data exist, but getting the data to a ready state is core to making it analyzable, predictive and actionable.”

Predictive maintenance technology has been slow to be adopted due to operational and production conflicts, but recent IIoT solutions live on separate platforms. This allows for control platfom updates, like security patches to occur, while not interrupting asset management programs.

The Element platform also uses Microsoft Azure and Cortana Intelligence for the cloud-based analytics.

For more information, visit www.elementanalytics.com

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273

6:58 pm
February 10, 2017
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Obsolete Inventory? Deal with It.

randmObsolete. Everyone who has ever purchased a computer knows what that means. It describes your computer within a month or so of your purchase.

When the discussion turns to a plant’s MRO inventory, Roger Corley of Life Cycle Engineering (LCE.com) says it’s an entirely different type of conversation. That’s because some items are never used, yet continue to collect dust and take up valuable storeroom real estate. He has some tips for dealing with this obsolescence, starting with how to identify it.

Identifying obsolete MRO inventory, in Corley’s opinion, is the easy part, especially if a good set of parameters has been established. Most large storerooms, he says, apply these factors:

• items with movement (receipts or issues) in 3+years

• items that aren’t identified as critical spares

• items that aren’t on an active asset’s BOM (optional).

Up-front planning can ease your site’s identification and disposal of obsolete MRO items.

Up-front planning can ease your site’s identification and disposal of obsolete MRO items.

With these parameters in place, most inventory systems can quickly generate a list of obsolete items—something that should be done annually to make it easier to manage the following years’ lists.

According to Corley, the more difficult (politically charged) challenge associated with obsolete MRO items is their disposal. That’s why storeroom managers must be involved in a site’s budget-preparation process. For one thing, there will need to be a line item in the budget for disposal of inventory. In addition, since writing off unused inventory can be damaging to a company’s bottom line, it’s crucial to prepare (and obtain approval) for doing so ahead of time.

Another issue involves disposing of what personnel believe “belongs” to them. As Corley put it, “I’ve seen maintenance supervisors and managers dig in their heels when a storeroom manager begins removing what they think of as ‘their’ MRO items.” His advice to storeroom managers is to take great care to ensure important items that might have been left off the list of critical spares aren’t eliminated from inventory. Some front-end work on the part of storeroom managers can smooth the process. Such work includes:

• investigating the history of the proposed item considered for disposal

• grouping items into specific operating areas on site and scheduling meetings to review (tip: buy lunch to get participation)

• allowing area managers to present a case for inclusion of a critical spare and being prepared to offer solutions such as vendor-stored inventory.

Once a list is developed and agreement among stakeholders reached, the obsolete items must be removed from inventory and disposed of. Corley notes that this phase will be less painful in plants that have investment-recovery departments. Smaller operations will sometimes list the obsolete inventory on bidding sites or, in the case of metals, recover money by scrapping items.

“Either way,” he cautioned, “sites shouldn’t expect to get anywhere near what the initial investment was when the items were purchased. In the case of scrap, they’ll recover pennies on the dollar. As for companies with multiple plants, it’s important for sites to check with other locations regarding possible use of obsolete items before disposing of them.”

To Corley’s way of thinking, dealing with obsolete MRO inventory, including identifying and disposing of it, needn’t be viewed as a daunting task. “That is,” he said, “if the process is managed properly and homework is done before the items are removed.”  MT

—Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Roger Corley is a Materials Management subject-matter expert with Life Cycle Engineering, Charleston, SC, and a certified facilitator for Maintenance Planning and Scheduling with the Life Cycle Institute. For more information, email rcorley@LCE.com and/or visit LCE.com.

28

8:43 pm
February 9, 2017
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Establish a Problem-Solving Organization

By Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

The ISO 55000:2014 Asset Management Standard could play a major role in industry in the coming years. Keep up to date with our ongoing coverage of this Standard at maintenancetechnology.com/iso55k.

The ISO 55000:2014 Asset Management Standard could play a major role in industry in the coming years. Keep up to date with our ongoing coverage of this Standard at maintenancetechnology.com/iso55k.

Asset management, as defined in the ISO 55000:2014 Standard, spans the entire lifecycle of an asset. While this standard applies to many asset forms, from our perspective as reliability and maintenance professionals, the main emphasis relates to the physical assets of a business.

In ISO 55000, an asset is defined as “. . . an item, thing, or entity that has potential or actual value to an organization.” I’ve made the case in past columns, however, that highly skilled employees (such as maintenance technicians) should also be considered assets because they represent potential and actual value through developed and deployed skill sets.

There’s also a lifecycle element in the development of a qualified maintenance technician, beginning with aptitude and core-job competence. At some point, due to aging out, retiring, or the inability to perform specified work, technicians’ value-adding qualities fade.

That holds true for any highly skilled decision maker, including engineers, buyers, chief executives, and project managers. They all reflect potential or actual value to the organization. Thus, their lifecycle skill sets must be honed to contribute to achieving asset-management goals and, by extension, organization goals. Problem solving is one of those skill sets. In fact, it’s a primary and pervasive requirement in an asset-management system.

According to ISO 55000, “The management system elements include the organization’s structure, roles and responsibilities, planning, operation, etc.”

One of the major characteristics of an asset-management system is that it must assure the ability of the organization’s key stakeholders at various levels to identify and solve problems when an asset deviates from the normal or expected performance. Problem solving must then be a key responsibility of specific roles. In turn, a problem-solving mindset is essential within an asset-management system to identify risks that could affect the organization’s goals.

An organization’s problem-solving mindset plays a key role throughout all phases of an asset’s lifecycle.

An organization’s problem-solving mindset plays a key role throughout all phases of an asset’s lifecycle.

The lifecycle perspective

The intent of ISO 55001 is to set the requirements for a system to manage selected assets throughout their lifecycle. Asset lifecycles begin in the design stage, and progress through engineering and procurement, installation and startup, and operations and maintenance, to decommissioning and disposal.

Each phase of an asset’s lifecycle involves people in a variety of roles and responsibilities, and differing disciplines and priorities. While the phases are sequential, they must remain highly interrelated and interdependent when it comes to assuring reliable performance of the asset. Requirements of the ISO 55001 Asset Management System assure that the organization’s goals will be met. For a functioning asset-management system, there must be an organization-wide problem-solving mindset that translates to problem identification and mitigation responsibilities within each lifecycle phase of the assets.

In the earliest phases, this problem-solving mindset must deal with anticipated and potential problems and their mitigation. Later, in the installation phases, the problem-solving mindset must deal with physical-asset damage and installation errors. During the operation and maintenance phases, the problem-solving mindset must deal with proactive problem prevention. Finally, in the decommissioning phase, the problem-solving mindset must deal with asset removal and disposal hazards.

Organizing for asset management clearly requires a problem-solving mindset within the organization. Consider this mindset a fundamental skill set to be deployed in a consistent and systematic manner. MT

Contact Bob Williamson at RobertMW2@cs.com.

45

12:11 am
November 30, 2016
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Will Legacy Turbine Owners Embrace New Monitoring Platforms?

16ARCadvisoryARC Advisory Group recently released a new market research study on smart control and monitoring solutions for legacy turbines, and, surprise, there’s “low-hanging” fruit for companies. Slight kidding aside, turbines have been around for some time and so have their legacy control platforms — mostly proprietary.

The research study from ARC suggests that power plants and self-powered factories could keep their turbines but upgrade their control (and monitoring) platforms solutions to achieve better uptime. As an industry analyst recently said to me, “It’s hard to calculate an ROI for turbine projects, but a legacy control system will eventually fail and, due to missing spare parts, cause extended downtime.

Due to so many open industrial networking protocols, a new control and monitoring platform can integrate pretty easily into current turbine equipment. And, more importantly, it allows for better visibility into a turbine’s compressors and pumps, for example. The ability to monitor 18 different sensors in the combustion chamber and see it clearly on a computer screen in the control room is hugely valuable and hard to put into dollar terms.

However, many companies are starting too.

Back in September, Maintenance Technology’s IIoT section reported on Mitsubishi’s HiTec Paper mill IIoT program. The company added 26 smartcheck vibration sensors to better monitor a cooling system for its four-story coated thermo-sensitive paper system. After installing the vibration sensors at the cost of €25,500, the paper manufacturer reported a €10,500 ROI due to the avoidance of three failures, service-loss, and machine damage.

>> Related Content | Video: Quick Return on Investment for IIoT Project

Plus, Tim Shea reported in a recent blog post that this might kick-in a service component for automation suppliers:

In addition, IIoT offers opportunities to apply new kinds of business models that will promote growth. Turbine monitoring & controls suppliers may start selling energy or mechanical drive for compression services if they also offer turbines or they could partner with turbine manufacturers to offer remote monitoring and control services for a monthly or yearly fee.

The ARC market research study is for 2017 and reports a sluggish year for this market, but this could change as the political winds have shifted towards the oil and gas market (via this overview link).

We’ll see.

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