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10:51 pm
August 9, 2017
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IIoT Signals | New Survey from ABI Research


Some manufacturing surveys make you scratch your head and others are clearly on point. In this case, ABI Research is in the latter category with some of their takeaways from the recent report, titled, Industry Survey: Transformative Technology Adoption and Attitudes. This executive summary from ABI reports that “74% are either investigating, assessing, or planning to deploy such solutions in the next 12 months. Survey results show that while a lot of the activity in non-connectivity categories are relatively simplistic deployments, industrial IoT (IIoT) applications share a common propensity for automation enablement.”

MT’s Take | The operative word is “assessing” and this says, to me, pilot programs. Many pilot programs are in second stages at this point in 2017, from machine tooling applications to oil field applications. For more information on this report, see ABI’s Industry Survey: Transformative Technology Adoption and Attitudes here.

>> Click here for more IIoT related developments


2:59 pm
August 9, 2017
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GE Adds More IIoT Services to their Portfolio

xgeoogoThe devil is always in the details, but a new service model from GE, called Acceleration Plans, offers to help customers grow with IIoT applications, be it with maintenance, training, or the adoption of managed service capabilities.

According to the press release from late July, Acceleration Plans offer three tiers of increasing value depending on customer needs. These tiers provide the necessary tools and guidance to make new software installation and adoption successful and help maximize return on investment.

“Only 15% of software deployments are considered very successful. Organizational readiness, support, training and data quality need to be accounted for if positive business outcomes are going to be generated,” says Chad Naeger, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Success Officer for GE Digital.

Maintenance Technology’s Take
Manufacturers struggle with mountains of plant data is well documented, along with new platforms and processes is begging for service experts to provide an essential role for most manufacturers. More services is where GE is going — along with others. GE also offers machine health kits called Digital Machine & Equipment health starter kits to help manufacturers start small and evaluate machine monitoring strategies. For more information on these kits, visit Rapid Start Services page.

>> More details about Acceleration Plans can be found here.


2:19 pm
April 4, 2017
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Emerson All-in-One GO Switch Magnetic Position Sensors Replace Troublesome Mechanical Switches in Tough Services


GO Switch magnetic position sensors from Emerson Process Management (Austin, TX) offer an all-in-one-type proximity sensor and limit-switch solution for end users across industry.

Rated for a wide range of applications, GO Switches, according to the manufacturer, enable intelligent and efficient process management  under the most demanding conditions while providing higher reliability, cost savings, and less downtime. A unique mechanism driven by rare-earth magnets is key to the devices’ consistent, durable sensing and control capabilities.

The GO Switch product lineup includes the following designs:

  • Hazardous Area Certified: Suitable for use in flameproof/explosion-proof, non-incendive, intrinsically safe hazardous areas with IECEx, ATEX, GOST, InMetro, UL, CSA, JIS, KOSHA, and NEPSI.
  • General Purpose. Quality engineered to meet ordinary location requirements. Suitable for use in multiple industries, such as automotive, marine, military vehicles, manufacturing, amusement parks, material handling, gaming and entertainment, and heavy equipment. Setting the standard for reliable performance.
  • Nuclear Qualified. Units qualified, and tested to meet AP1000 requirements. Designed for long-life dependability in containment LOCA, containment non-LOCA (Harsh Duty), and Mild duty applications.
  • Extreme (High- and Low-) Temperature. Rated for continuous operation in high temperatures up to 204°C (400 F). Especially useful in steam turbines as well as high heat boilers, dryers, steel processing, and aluminum die-casting. Extreme low temperatures as low as -60°C (-76°F).
  • Submersible. Available with subsea connectors for continuous submersion. GO Switch submersible sensors work at depths of up to 7,010 m/23,000 ft and offer trouble-free position sensing in applications such as offshore oil platforms, lock and dam gates, ships and vessels, pin-placement detection, wastewater rendering areas, bilge level, high-pressure washdown, draw bridges, and subsea valve position monitoring.
  • High-Pressure. Options up to 960 bar (10,000 psi). Typical application includes hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders.

For more information, CLICK HERE.


2:38 pm
March 13, 2017
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My Take: Do Share — Calling All Tipsters

1014janemytakeSeveral recent conversations with David Mayfield, author of February’s feature “Boost Troubleshooting Skills at Your Site,” led to the focus of this month’s “On the Floor” Reader Panel discussion. They also kicked me into gear on one of those wanna’, shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’ things on my endless list.

Mayfield, a retired Canadian industry veteran, spent decades on plant floors and in the vocational training arena. Time and again, during those years, he saw the value and self-confidence that personnel in one type of operation could derive from reading about/hearing about successful work-related solutions, strategies, and tactics of others, regardless of industry sector. (You may have seen or experienced it yourself.)

With Mayfield’s encouragement, those nuggets, i.e., Reliability and Maintenance (R&M) “tips and tricks,” are what I asked our Reader Panelists to share with us—and you—this month. Our respondents came through with plenty (so many that we couldn’t include them all). And good ones, too. So why stop? Let’s not.

Here, I’m inviting all readers to share their own favorites through our new “Tip of the Month” program. Do you have a quick, proven problem solution; a clever workaround; or a better way to perform a task, evaluate a situation, document an issue, or communicate information? Please tell us about it and why it could help other R&M pros. We’ll be posting these submissions online, and select one each month to publish in the print edition of Maintenance Technology. Anything goes, as long as it’s work-related.

Email your tips (as many as you wish) to Include your full contact information (name, title, organization, location, phone, and email) in case we need to reach you. That’s the only way we’ll consider posting and/or possibly selecting your submission as a “Tip of the Month.” If you wish to remain anonymous, we’ll honor your request. We still need your contact information, though.

Share a proven problem solution in MT's new “Tip of the Month” feature.

Share a proven problem solution in MT’s new
“Tip of the Month” feature.

Relax. You don’t have to be a member of the MT Reader Panel. We welcome R&M tips from everyone.

BTW: Since David Mayfield helped get this ball rolling, I asked him to share one of his favorite tips. Here it is:

“Determine if your department has any missing skills or poorly performed skills that affect production or reliability, i.e. a skill gap. By checking this aspect of maintenance performance, you’ll know what parts of your system could be vulnerable. This can be done by checking what processes were delayed or didn’t perform on time after servicing and then determining if the issue was hardware non-compliance because of weak maintenance. The lack can be in-house or contractual, but in all cases this gap must be corrected to prevent future losses.”

 According to Mayfield, an audit may be required to identify whether the skill is an “enabling” one or a “terminal performance” skill. Enabling skills permit more complex tasks to be performed, say reading diagrams, using measuring instruments, and calculating values. Terminal performance skills include, among others, replacing machine components using diagrams and measuring tools and calibrating machines for production.

 Mayfield says that a missing part of the equation for most plants is the lack of a current inventory of skills available within the plant (or for hire). When a site knows for certain that specific skills are required and who in its current maintenance team can almost perform the missing skills, gap-filling strategies can be identified and employed.

Now, it’s your turn. Do share. MT


1:25 pm
March 13, 2017
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Final Thought: The Time to Improve Culture Is Yesterday

klausblacheBy Dr. Klaus M. Blache, Univ. of Tennessee, Reliability & Maintainability Center

Just about every survey on reasons for large implementation failure or roadblocks to business excellence links back to improving the organizational culture. My own survey of several hundred companies resulted in similar results. The top two responses to the question on how to best attain future ROI (return on investment) were “leadership” and “engaged workforce (buy-in).” The good news is both are attainable. The bad news is that, 30 years ago, a similar survey identified the same two opportunities.

Understanding culture

Companies understand that organizational culture is the key to a winning organization, yet for many reasons it’s difficult to implement. The reasons for failure are many. Among them:

• insufficient urgency (reason to change)

• leaders not “walking the talk”

• fear of outcome (might lose my job)

• lack of communication (to all levels)

• clear vision with doable first steps

• too much resistance (not clearing roadblocks before getting started)

• assuring there is sufficient management support in key areas of all departments.

According to Business Dictionary (, organizational culture (which is also known as corporate culture) “includes an organization’s expectations, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together, and is expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valid. . . It affects the organization’s productivity and performance, and provides guidelines on customer care and service, product quality and safety, attendance and punctuality, and concern for the environment.”

I personally like this simpler definition: “Culture is what employees do when nobody is watching.” It’s about knowing what to do (standardized work) and having the skills to do it (capability). These attributes are what most employees are trained on. What’s typically missing is workforce engagement (willingness).

In his book Good to Great (Harper Business, New York, 2001), author Jim Collins wrote, “All companies have a culture, some companies have discipline, but few companies have a culture of discipline. When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy. When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy. When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls.” With a culture of discipline, where people know what to do and are capable of and willing to do it, great performance is a natural outcome.

W. Edwards Deming noted that it isn’t necessary to change. Survival isn’t mandatory.

W. Edwards Deming noted that it isn’t necessary to change. Survival isn’t mandatory.

Changing culture

A change-implementation process is critical to the success of any large project or process change. Assess your readiness for change before starting. As a minimum, perform a “force-field analysis” to identify the roadblocks and start removing them before the change effort starts. Doing so will provide a visual and numerical framework of workplace forces (that help or hinder a desired goal) to assess your readiness for change.

All sequence-of-implementation models for lean, RCM (Reliability Centered Maintenance), and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) include “organizational culture” as a foundational element. This, in turn, calls for implementing such things as 5S and standardized work to enable Lean, RCM, and TPM, and other strategies. My research shows the companies that fully implement 5S (which requires a culture of discipline) have twice the likelihood of being successful in lean manufacturing.

In the words of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, The Deming Institute (, however, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” Organizational culture goes hand in hand with implementation of best practices. It’s not surprising that the top-quartile-performing facilities also have the best cultures.

“Change” is an action word. If you’re not yet working on organizational culture and engaging your workforce, you are already behind. MT

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center at the Univ. of Tennessee, and a research professor in the College of Engineering. Contact him at


6:49 pm
February 28, 2017
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Process Operators and Tools May Bridge the Gap to Predictive Maintenance


Peter Reynolds, contributing analyst for ARC Advisory Group.

Jim Wentzel, dir of Global Reliability at General Mills has been on the conference circuit recently and has been discussing “contextuality” when it comes to manufacturing data in the food industry. In his discussions, Wentzel discusses General Mills “data journey” as a company — their own plants and contract manufacturing plants outside the enterprise — and is pushing for data transparency throughout the entire enterprise eco-system. That means various types of plant and enterprise data, such as plant floor , instrument, machine vibration, supply chain and even other plants mixed together to make efficient decisions.

That means a lot of business units — and external companies per Wentzel— coming together and possible changes in workforce responsibilities. One scenario would be to have process operators provide key insights on equipment health due to a better working knowledge and lifecycle history of a particular asset.

>> View More | Silicon Valley Company Joins the Predictive Maintenance Party

Peter Reynolds, contributing analyst for ARC Advisory Group discusses this scenario with his most recent post, “Predictive Maintenance or Predictive Operations?” Reynolds describes how operations can lean on better tools, processes and how condition-based monitoring goes only so far:

Both Prognostics and Condition-based monitoring are still reactive approaches and have been used widely for decades. Still, many companies struggle with making significant improvements in predicting failures and extending the life of critical assets.

He goes on to write:

Therefore one might come to the conclusion that any predictive maintenance or asset reliability strategy might begin with an overarching operations strategy and weigh heavily on the skills of the process engineer. The process engineer (and not the maintenance and reliability engineer), has the ability to interpret the process data across the spectrum of the process and any assets.

The rub is that operations, maintenance and even IT need to view enterprise via data in one IIoT platform, such as ThingWorx, Element Analytics, or many other offerings that can provide varying analytics to different groups.

>> To read the full post, click here

1601Iot_logoFor more IIoT coverage in maintenance and operations, click here! 


7:46 pm
February 10, 2017
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SAP Tips and Tricks: Assign HR Mini Masters to Work Centers

randmBy Kristina Gordon, DuPont

Tracking the hours that each maintenance employee spends on a job is essential to understanding the total cost and reliability of your equipment. An SAP HR Mini Master is primarily used for work-order time confirmation. Mini Masters are set up for everyone in your maintenance organization, then assigned to a work center. The resulting data will show you the work-center capacity down to the employee level. MT

Q: How do I create an HR Mini Master?

A :  Set up transaction PA30:

1. Click on the create icon. 1702rmcsap07p
2. Enter start date.
3. Select time recording (HR Mini Master).
4. Enter position type.
5. Enter plant code.
6. Click the save button.
7. Create Personal Data Screen appears. Enter employee name.
8. Click save.

You have now created an HR Mini Master.

Q: When do you assign an HR Mini Master to a work center?

A: HR Mini Masters are assigned to a work center when you want to schedule work at the individual level charge time to work orders using time confirmations for internal employees and contractors.

Q: How do I assign an HR Mini Master to a work center?

A: Use the following transaction IR02 steps:

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4

Step 4

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6

Step 6

Kristina Gordon is SAP Program Consultant at the DuPont, Sabine River Works plant in West Orange, TX.  If you have SAP questions, send them to and we’ll forward them to Kristina.


9:01 pm
February 9, 2017
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On The Floor: Real-World Views on ISO 55001

By Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Has your organization adopted the ISO 55001 Asset Management Standard, and why or why not?

Has your organization adopted the ISO 55001 Asset Management Standard, and why or why not?

Inquiring minds want to know: This month we wanted to gauge the impact that the ISO 55000 Asset Management Standard (specifically ISO 55001) is having on MT Reader Panelist’s operations (or the operations of their clients/customers). Despite the buzz about this Standard (including regular information in our pages), our Panelists’ responses reflect a mixed bag of awareness and adoption. We asked them to reply in detail to these questions:

• Were they and their organizations (or their clients/customers) aware of ISO 55001 and did they expect the organizations to adopt this Standard?

• Pursuant to ISO 55001, did everyone (all departments) in their organizations (or those of their clients/customers) understand the role of Maintenance and vice versa, as well as understand how they should all work with each other?

Here, edited for brevity and clarity, are several responses we received.

College Electrical Lab, Manager/Instructor, West…

We have reviewed ISO 55000 (55001, 55002) for possible adoption. The system we use for asset management is part of our CMMS program. We might not adopt ISO 55000 until we complete a full ROI evaluation. Weighting the costs against the benefits is a big issue with us. Will this ISO Standard add to our bottom line, customer service, product quality, and employee benefits? An evaluation team is working on it now.

Our maintenance departments are considered a profit center for the overall organization. A maintenance representative attends all meetings (executive, customer, engineering, sales, planning, etc.). Any maintenance person can add input to support our growth and quality of operations.  The ISO 55000 Standards are said to improve planning, support risk management, align the processes, and improve cross-disciplinary teamwork.  If they are highly usable, we will adopt.

Industry Consultant, West…

None of my current clients have any interest in ISO 55001. Some know a bit about it, but they aren’t interested in moving forward. When ISO 55000 was first introduced, one client thought it [the company] would want to be on the leading edge of the movement [to adopt the Standard], but was never able to obtain the funding or boardroom support to take it on.

Engineer, Process Industries, Southeast…

There is very little or no awareness of ISO 55001 [at our site], and there’s been no discussion about it. We are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, and these Standards seem to draw all of our attention and resources.

Our departments, for the most part, work well with each other and understand their own roles and those of others. But there’s still a tendency to ask Maintenance to do everything that Production or other departments cannot or will not do.

Industry Consultant, International…

The ISO 55000, 1 and 2 series of Standards are relatively new, say compared to the ISO 9000 or ISO 14000. As a consultant, I know my clients are aware of the ISO 55000 series, but they’re still trying to implement maintenance and reliability best practices on lubrication, planning, work control, OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), etc.

While ISO 55000 is built around Asset Management principles, in answer to the first question, my clients aren’t ready to adopt something that doesn’t show a solid ROI on the initial costs. The process is quite rigorous.

As for the second question, I’ve noticed that Maintenance often isn’t fully aware of production requirements and, with regard to other departments, tends to work in a “silo.” Goals are frequently short-term and counter-productive in nature.

I’ve also noted that equipment “ownership” by Production operators supports Maintenance in routine work such as basic lube, minor adjustments, and inspections. I’ve even seen Operator nameplates on equipment showing the pride that the “owners” of units take in their machines or processes. Some operators will also include a mechanic or electrician as “Co-Owner.” These owners are very proud of their equipment’s performance, uptime, and machine condition. (One of my clients took this concept to very high level and generated excellent results in productivity, safety, and cost control.)

In my opinion, since Asset Management is a key to economics and bottom-line improvements. ISO 55000, 1 and 2, will eventually be adopted by more organizations. However, as with ISO 9000, Quality Measurement, it will require a bit more time and training [for ISO 55000] to take hold.

Plant Engineer, Institutional Facilities, Midwest…

Personally, I’m not particularly familiar with ISO 55001 and not sure if any of our senior managers know about it.

Regarding the second question, our institution has always held meetings with all maintenance and management departments to keep everyone involved with any ongoing, new, or future projects. Each department has its own type of maintenance, and the type used depends greatly on cost, man/woman power, and order of importance.

Reliability Specialist, Power Sector, Midwest…

Yes, our organization is fully aware of ISO 55001. As with most organizations in the power industry, we are heavily regulated by the PSC, NREC, FERC, insurance carriers, and other entities. Until one of them mandates compliance to ISO 55001, most organizations won’t make the investment.

All departments in our organization understand their own roles and their responsibilities to each other. Each department has its own mission statement, and partnership agreements have been formed and documented with one another.

Maintenance & Reliability Specialist, Engineering Services Provider, South…

My company is very aware of ISO 55001 and in fact had a representative on the team that developed the Standard. Our [my particular] customer is only aware of it through discussions with us. As this client is a government agency that hasn’t been required to adopt ISO 55001, at this point, I don’t believe it will do so in the near future. Due to a tight budget, I don’t believe the client sees the value in adopting a new ISO standard, since it already is involved with ISO 9001.

Given the fact that we are a maintenance and operations service provider, I believe that all departments within our organization understand the role of Maintenance. We have made a concerted effort to have as many people as possible take the CMRP exam after completing our introductory asset-management course. This ensures that we can all talk the same language and equally understand our customers’ needs in the maintenance arena. MT

About The MT Reader Panel

The Maintenance Technology Reader Panel included approximately 100 reliability and maintenance professionals and suppliers to industry who have volunteered to answer monthly questions prepared by our editorial staff. Panelist identities are not revealed and their responses are not necessarily projectable. Our panel welcomes new members. To be considered, email your name and contact information to with “Reader Panel” in the subject line. All panelists are automatically included in an annual cash-prize drawing after one year of active participation.