Archive | Asset Management


9:19 pm
June 20, 2016
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White Paper | How To Design an Industrial Internet Architecture

Source: Industrial Internet Consortium

Source: Industrial Internet Consortium


Interoperability has been the “mantra” in manufacturing for some time, but management needs more resources for fully-realized IIoT. The industrial internet depends on interoperability and that’s why this reference paper on industrial architecture can be a valued asset in developing plant or process manufacturing strategies. The Industrial Internet Consortium recently released this Industrial Internet Reference Architecture white paper and it provides multiple points-of-view for the enterprise: connectivity, functional, implementation, safety, communication security, data distribution, secure storage and integrations best practices.

Chapter 13 discusses edge networking principles and recommends a blueprint for data reduction techniques, along with other best practices with storage. Contributors include a who’s who of technology and manufacturer suppliers, such as ABB, GE, SAP, IBM, RTI, Fujitsu, Intel, Micron, and AT&T, to name a few.

Download the White Paper >>


10:46 pm
June 6, 2016
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Chemical | Remote IIoT Application with a Twist

This IIoT turnkey service solution works outside of the plant's control system. (Source: Emerson Process Management)

This IIoT turnkey service solution works outside of the plant’s control system. (Source: Emerson Process Management)

In general, oil and gas companies are beginning to divulge information about more sensing and cloud solutions in the U.S. This dispatch from Bob Gill at ARC Advisory Group documents a chemical case application from Denka that relies on a 3rd party turnkey monitoring solution for the company’s steam traps.

This asset management success story employs a IIoT system that’s completely outside of the plant’s control architecture. The twist, if you will.

More context frm ARC:

As in most process facilities, Denka’s approach to monitoring of steam traps at its Styrenic Resins Plant was previously very manual, based largely on an annual inspection by a contractor. This conventional approach means it is inevitable that any failed steam traps will go unnoticed for a long time and contribute to wasted steam and wasted money. Indeed, Denka’s last yearly manual survey earlier in 2015 revealed 35 out of 210 steam traps (17 percent) as failed.

Being outside of the control system also helps alleviate HUGE security concerns with this IIoT solution:

Firstly, it has no involvement with or connection to the plant control system (DCS). This alleviates common concerns of process-industry owner operators of interference with a live and running DCS and, in terms of security, DCS data potentially leaving the plant.

Emerson Process Management provides this maintenance/asset management monitoring service. The IIoT case application train is getting full.

Learn More about the IIoT Service Solution >>


4:41 pm
June 3, 2016
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White Paper | Pump Monitoring and What’s New with API Standard 682

160603ep_transmitterThis white paper from Emerson Process Management, released in July 2015, delves into the ramifications of the API 682 standard for pump sealing systems in the oil and gas and chemical industries. The standard provides new roadmaps for operations and maintenance (O&P) teams on how to move towards continuous monitoring of pump systems.

This paper examines asset management strategies, along with IIoT foundation solutions, as seen below from this except:

According to API Standard 682 Fourth Edition, offshore platforms, onshore wellheads, refineries, and petrochemical plants need to evaluate what pump monitoring measurements are in place, which measurements require manual field checks, and which should be automated or upgraded to a better option.

Due to the costs associated with monitoring the process using wired instruments, only a small percentage of a typical process facility’s pumps are monitored online. The balance of pumps are inspected only periodically by operations or maintenance personnel on field rounds.

Read the white paper >>


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>> Find more Industrial Internet of Things coverage at


4:11 pm
May 31, 2016
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Video | Legacy Equipment Adopts IIoT Solution


Maclean-Fogg implemented an OPC client server solution with MQTT, which allows for ERP clients to subscribe to machine data. (Source: KEPServerEX Version 5.19 Release Webinar)


Last week’s legacy equipment post discussed recent big picture thoughts on IIoT. But, how does legacy equipment and older communication architectures begin to implement IIoT strategies? U.S-based manufacturer Maclean-Fogg took the plunge recently and relied on Kepware’s KEPServerEX 5.19 OPC-based solution to automate their data collection for its shop floor machines. The U.S. based manufacturer of machine components needed quicker access to machine downtime and defect rate data for their Enterprise Resource Planning solution.

This short video (see link) below details the Maclean-Fogg’s architecture and how its current machines — with no changes to production — were able to communicate to the company’s Microsoft BizTalk client and then to its ERP software.

Watch Case Study Here >>


10:30 pm
May 17, 2016
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Podcast | Which Industries are Ripe for IIoT Adoption?

>> For more great IIoT Content, visit and bookmark

Excerpts from the podcast:

Rio: Recently I wrote a case story about a company with 50 oil rigs, and part of the process of extracting oil and gas out of the ground involves cleaning the gas so it can be sold. This cleaning of the gas involves a compressor. What happens is the hydrocarbons in the dirty gas will accumulate on the compressor blades and eventually cause an unplanned failure. In the case of BHP Billiton, they implemented an IOT solution that involved extracting data from the sensors on the compressor, putting it into a cloud applications, applying some analytics on top of that, and then they could use that to predict failure, they could predict it out as much as six months.

Rio: The OEM’s provide these asset-monitoring services. What’s essentially happening is the maintenance of the equipment being outsourced, or some portion of the maintenance is being outsourced to the OEM. This of course starts to make sense with the more complicated pieces of equipment at least initially, and broader later on. This is opening new opportunities for maintenance departments to do a better job of providing high up-time with the equipment.


8:59 pm
April 27, 2016
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Google Glass Lives!

UBiMAX's Gerhard Pluppins models his wearable eyeware unit.

UBiMAX’s Gerhard Pluppins models his wearable eyeware unit.

In January 2015, Google announced that they were going to cease offering the Google Glass product to consumers. As far as the popular press and casual observers, like me, were concerned, at best it would be some time before we would see the technology on “store shelves” again. At the time, I was convinced that the technology was too important to simply die, but the negative geek factor that surrounded the product meant that the consumer version was/is going to have to come back in a very different form.

Today, at Hannover MESSE, I learned that Google Glass didn’t die in January 2015. In fact, in the industrial world, the technology is thriving quite nicely, thank you.

I acquired this knowledge when I visited the UBiMAX GmbH booth and met with GErhard Pluppins and CEO Dr. Hendrik Witt. UBiMAX is located in Bremen, Germany and can be found at I stopped at the booth only because Gerhard, wearing a smart eyeware unit (that’s what they’re called now), said hi as I was walking by. I immediately stopped because the question that popped into my head was, What are those things doing at a show of this magnitude? They should be on a shelf collecting dust.

Turns out that UBiMAX, which is one of ten Google Glass certified partners, has been cooking along quite vigorously, developing smart eyeware software for a variety of business applications and, according to them, the implementation has a good head of steam. Dr. Witt says they expect to see the market explode in 2017.

UbiMAX offers three “solutions” at this juncture.

XPick is a “pick-by-vision” order-picking solution that supports manual order picking; incoming, outgoing, and sorting of goods; and inventory management.

XMake is a “make-by-vision” solution for manufacturing, assembly-line support, and quality assurance.

The third solution is the one that stood out for me. XInspect is an inspect-by-vision solution that targets all types of service and maintenance processes in just about any industry. Gerhard Pluppins and I talked at some length about the many possibilities this technology offers to reliability and maintenance professionals. The strength is that it’s two-way technology. If you’re dealing with a problem in a plant, you can receive information over the network, such as repair procedures, equipment performance history, and and parts information. In other words, you can see in your eyepiece just about any information that is available in the network pertaining to that asset.

But the best part is that you can also transmit new information back to the network. That can be in the form of an audio file, photos, and, I would speculate, limited text information. Also integrated into the software are Internet of Things tie-ins that can take this technology to a higher level in terms of data handling and transmission.

I got to wear Gerhard’s smart eyeware unit. I was surprised at how unit’s apparent durability. They always look so flimsy to me. I also expected it to feel clunky on my head, particularly over my eyeglass. Not so, and I had no trouble at all adjusting the heads-up display so I could see it clearly.

He had what looked like a pump diagram displaying in the eyepiece. I was absolutely stunned at the clarity, apparent size of the image, and how easy it was to implement the on-screen information. I expected to have to strain to see any detail, but it was right there, large enough to be of use and clear as a bell. At no time did I feel that the display was obstructing my vision and could be a safety problem.

I’ll probably never have a need for one of these things but will now be keeping a close eye 😉 on this technology because I think it can be a difference maker for reliability and maintenance professionals.–Gary L. Parr, editorial director


3:58 pm
April 12, 2016
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Consolidating Assets Maximizes Performance

Warehouse locations were reduced from  48 to five within two years.

Warehouse locations were reduced from 48 to five within two years.

Streamlining a materials-management system helps increase production and cut waste and redundant part ordering at an Indiana oil refinery.

By Michelle Segrest, Contributing Editor

Two years ago, CountryMark’s inventory of more than 600 pump parts and thousands of other spare parts and components could be found in 48 different locations on the one-mile campus of the Mount Vernon, IN, oil refinery (see p. 10).

Corporate goals to sustain these assets, invest in proper procurement, and build a robust inventory-management solution prompted a massive, company-wide WorkPlace Excellence Initiative Program.

CountryMark hired SAP procurement and business-process system expert Lori Foster to spearhead the design and implementation of the materials-management program. Her team included five seasoned team members. With the coaching and support of consultants from Life Cycle Engineering (LCE), Charleston, SC, the project kicked off in March 2014.

One of the primary goals was to consolidate and identify assets. The 48 inventory locations have now been reduced to just five. The ultimate goal is to have everything in one place, supported with a robust processing system.

To get a visual of the random placement of the various storage locations, Foster said, “Envision them as sheds around the site. Anywhere they could find a place to stick something…that became a storage location. It was all on the site of the refinery, but completely scattered around and without any system to know what we had, where it was, or what needed to be ordered.”


CountryMark is an American-owned oil exploration, production, refining, and marketing company. In 2013, the company embarked on the WorkPlace Excellence Program. Team leaders developed a set of work processes with step definitions and RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) charts to determine roles and responsibilities.

LCE assigned a coach for each team with specialized knowledge in each of the focus areas. LCE’s Wally Wilson was the materials-management coach.

“CountryMark had performed an assessment and we helped to analyze the information they provided us,” Wilson said. “We looked at where they were and coached them on the best practices in each of the focus areas. Then we came up with a plan that would bridge the gap from where they were and where they wanted to be.”

Stockroom personnel were managing mostly weld-shop inventory and consumables. The remainder of the parts were located in 43 different areas around the refinery, including four maintenance shops. This put the burden on the maintenance foreman and maintenance craftsmen to manually track and place orders for parts.

Some parts, such as spare motors, were housed in five or six locations. Nearly 7,000 spare parts have been inventoried, consolidated, and re-organized, so far. About 400 of the 600-plus pump bill of materials are now in the system.

The pump shop stored all of their materials in bins which had to be disassembled and re-organized and setup in the system. Space in the stockroom was limited to only 5,000 sq. ft., with outdated racking. The area was open so anyone at the refinery could walk in and get what they wanted. The two stockroom personnel had a manual checkout system. But if it wasn’t used, they would have to physically walk around the stockroom and check inventory, and then manually place orders. Only a couple of individuals knew where items were located.

All parts were expensed upon purchase and the work-order system tied the part to the work order. But no information was being tracked back to the unit regarding maintenance costs.

Accounts payable, purchasing, and inventory were in different systems so there was no three-way matching of purchase orders to inventory.

“There was no tracking or visibility of products ordered,” Foster said. “Now, we have traceability. All parts are charged to the work orders, so we know where they get used. We now have a purchasing history, so we know when we last bought it, from whom we bought it, and how to pay the invoices.”

Right. In addition to relocating and rearranging materials, all consumables were moved to point-of-use cabinets, which are now the responsibility of each manager.

Right. In addition to relocating and rearranging materials, all consumables were moved to point-of-use cabinets, which are now the responsibility of each manager.


To implement a smooth materials management and purchasing process that had automatic reordering, Foster knew the first step was spending significant time identifying parts, preparing them to be loaded into the new inventory system, and reorganizing the warehouse.

“Parts had been set up in the old system but there were too many to go through to migrate all that data, so we had to start from scratch,” Foster said. “We manually added all the parts, including contacting suppliers for pricing and lead times. For each of the 600 pumps, we had to obtain bills of materials, identify the parts needed, work with the suppliers to identify the pricing, lead times, and whether the part was still a valid item.”

The next focus was culture change.

“We had to convince everyone that our goal was to set up something that would benefit everybody, not make things more complicated,” Foster said. “For example, instead of the maintenance supervisors having to write manual requisitions, we needed to set up the item in the system and let the system reorder it as we utilized a part. ”

More than 300 bins store all of the pump-shop parts. Bills of materials are now obtained for all pumps. Each gray bin is then taken apart, parts identified, and put away in a location, either back in a rack or a high-density cabinet.

More than 300 bins store all of the pump-shop parts. Bills of materials are now obtained for all pumps. Each gray bin is then taken apart, parts identified, and put away in a location, either back in a rack or a high-density cabinet.


All parts have now been moved out of the maintenance shops. The stockroom has a new layout with an inventory locator system. Long-lead-time parts that might be critical are now identified with stocking agreements with the suppliers. The craftsmen and foremen are focused on critical maintenance work instead of manually chasing parts and materials. The planners are now planning jobs and forecasting the materials that need to be ordered.

Jobs are now kitted prior to the start of the maintenance work, which increases wrench time. The turnaround time for setting up parts, getting updated quotes, and lead-time information is now less than two days. 

All purchase orders are processed and monitored for future use. All materials maintained in stock have reorder points, and the materials that are planned are forecasted by maintenance planners.

Emergency orders are manually checked out, making it possible to track material and repair costs. The visibility of repairs and history has resulted in better decision making about repair parts vs. buying new when it is no longer cost-effective to repeatedly repair the same parts.

“I never thought this was going to work,” said maintenance planner Jeff Goad. “I argued with Lori when she wanted to move the bins, but now I see how easy it is to find what I need, and how easy it is to have something re-ordered. Now we know what we have.” 

Larry Conyers managed the stockroom for 32 years, but was not convinced of the benefits the change would bring. “I just didn’t see how this was going to work,” he said. Now, he is the biggest supporter of the system.


Since 2015 has been a year of the implementation and the rollout of new processes, the teams were unable to clean out all the obsolete materials and finalize arranging other locations. Dashboards have been developed with key performance indicators in the areas of sourcing, procure to pay, materials management, and warehouse management. 

Foster said the program has been successful thanks to senior management and leadership buy in. After two years of progress, there is still work to be done.

“From a project perspective, it takes about a year to 18 months to implement a program like this,’ Foster said. “But, from a cultural perspective, we are not finished. CountryMark is probably another 18 to 24 months away from imbedding the true culture change that must be made for sustainment.” RP


4:02 pm
April 6, 2016
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White Paper | Predictive Analytics for Power Plants

Power producers are encountering many changes to their business model and remote monitoring — along with predictive analytics — is an attractive value proposition to end users. GE’s Predix platform offers SmartSignal, a software system that models historian plant data and constructs anomaly data to measure current conditions at a power plant. The modeling is called Variable Similarity-Based Modeling (VBM) technology and can be teamed up with GE’s Industrial Performance and Reliability Center (IPRC) to provide a comprehensive reliability solution.

This white paper introduces key concepts from the SmartSignal software and examines three power plant case studies.

Read White Paper >>

Maintenance Technology’s IIoT page | Find out more about edge computing and other proactive maintenance approaches.