In these truly extraordinary times, we are seeing that now more than ever, any and all means by which operational efficiency can be attained are opportunities worth investigating. With downstream and external pressures increasingly exercising their influence over how you manage your enterprise’s fleet of machinery, how do you adapt to these new influences? How do they present new challenges to you as a plant operator? And most importantly of all, how can you meet these challenges head-on and succeed in attaining new levels of operational efficiency, safety, and improved return on investment?
As we witness more and more machinery-dependent industries adopt a digital approach to their condition monitoring, there are new hurdles emerging in the undertaking of a digitally-based program that present themselves. Industrial Operators and Plant Managers must leverage these new technologies while adapting their current machinery monitoring methodologies.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the challenges you are currently facing, and how Bently Nevada’s System 1 condition-based monitoring platform can help your organization from a holistic perspective.
First, let’s identify some of the underlying issues facing many plant operators around the globe.
Modern Industrial Monitoring Challenges
We spoke earlier of the challenges facing machinery operators around the world. Now more than ever, streamlined solutions can ensure greater degrees of reliability and efficiency. Just a few of these challenges are:
Various operations are fragmented across the plant
Your data is siloed
Expert personnel may be centralized and not available at every plant location
This results in longer downtime windows and costs associated with travel
Experts are decreasing in numbers, with many approaching retirement
Your machinery can be exposed to less experienced reliability professionals and thus greater risks
Outdated maintenance techniques can result in misdiagnosis, unnecessary maintenance, unplanned machine failures, or even total losses
Due to the lack of a truly plant-wide view of operations, you and your team are unable to perform efficient, accurate Root-Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) when an asset does fail - basically you’re left to sort through the aftermath to figure out what happens, or just replace and hope it doesn’t happen again
Due to a disconnected, siloed infrastructure, your machinery data may exist, but may only be accessed and shared at the site-level. Knowledge gained by one site does not translate into improvements at other sites.
As a reliability professional with responsibilities for overseeing uptime and productivity increases, you see the benefits of transitioning to a digital approach to understanding your machinery health at the site-level, but also across your entire enterprise. Relying on outdated, time-based maintenance or condition monitoring of only what are deemed “critical assets” is inconsistent, fractional, and unreliable at best. The potentially catastrophic gaps in monitoring that occur by using a siloed reliability strategy expose your plants to significant financial and environmental risks and fall far short of your goals for modern industry maintenance to move from reactive to proactive to predictive. So how can a digital approach to reliability help?
Undergoing Your Digital Transformation
The first step in attaining the insights you need is to start from the top and look down. Without a truly all-encompassing, enterprise-level view of your machinery assets, how will you understand what is happening on a plant or site level? Consider the best way to connect your various machines, and in turn, your various plants, and then tie everything together at the enterprise level to get context and clarity of your machinery health, and how to develop accurate, efficient strategies for both preventative and restorative maintenance.
Once you’ve attained the connectivity needed, you’ll need a powerful and intuitivecondition monitoring software platform to gather, manage, process, extrapolate, and even act on all of that data. Bringing all this data together in a manageable, understandable, and intuitively organized manner enables enterprise-level insights in a single pain of glass. From this single view, you then begin to understand how a connected factory supported by a powerful condition monitoring platform turns data collected from assets into actionable insights, helping you and your teams make smarter, proactive maintenance decisions.
Of course, modern machinery insights are about more than just control or the ability to take a system-wide snapshot of your enterprise’s machinery health. There are major initiatives within your organization, and within your competitors’ organizations, to look for ways to streamline production in the face of globalization, fewer experts, and ever-growing cybersecurity threats. At Bently Nevada, we’re proud to show you how the System 1 software platform supports these initiatives by empowering reliability, operations, and maintenance teams to proactively improve their overall productivity. We, and the customers we partner with, have seen that the right predictive maintenance technology can help decrease unplanned downtime by 40%, decrease machinery breakdowns by 70%, and increase overall production by 25%.
System 1 helps make this process as painless as possible while delivering unprecedented levels of machinery insights.
The System 1 software platform can kickstart your digital transformation by empowering you and your personnel to do their jobs better than ever before. This, in turn, allows your machinery to operate better than ever before, which in turn leads to increased safety, efficiency, and ROI.
The formula for success in any digital transformation in a condition monitoring program starts with these basic principles, which are baked into the code of System 1. Let’s look at each one of these.
The System 1 condition monitoring software platform connects to data sources on the Edge and collects high-resolution vibration, process, and control system data. This data can be collected by portable vibration data collectors like SCOUT, wireless sensors like Ranger Pro, monitors such as 3500, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), or from other data historians. For many of these the supported data rates exceed once-per-second. In addition, an alarm (either standard or state-based) on any tag mapped to a machine may trigger high-resolution data capture from all other tags, which includes 100ms static data from Bently Nevada's 3500, ADAPT, and Orbit 60 series devices. Having high resolution data collected in time-synchronization offers a clearer view of the interaction between the process and machine health, and enables smarter operational and maintenance decisions.
Connectivity is more than just having devices living on the Edge. It provides universal access to all your data. Often data is marooned on its own little island, with only the inhabitants of that island able to visualize and interpret it. You need to rectify that if you want true enterprise-level insights. Organizations that rely on condition monitoring for insights into the health of their equipment (both critical and general) are already taking proactive steps towards a more efficient and effective maintenance program. Unfortunately, most condition monitoring solutions are still siloed. Data is collected concurrently from handheld devices, permanently installed sensors, as well as wireless sensors, but never shared on an organizational level thus robbing you of valuable, comprehensive data, and the understanding of how these individual datasets are relevant to each other. In the absence of a centralized platform to unite all these data and process insights in one application, each individual monitoring tool can only provide a small, segregated “pocket of clarity”. Without an overarching, holistic view of your systems, you will be unable to differentiate between a common part failure that needs to be replaced system-wide versus what may appear to be seemingly unrelated maintenance events.
All of the connectivity and data collection in the world is not effective without the proper analytics to make sense of it all. It’s the data-mining equivalent of saying “there are billions in gold out there, you just have to dig it up.” Fortunately, with the right tool you can extract those precious insights you need to make intelligent, informed, and immediately actionable decisions.
With System 1, threshold alarms can be configured per machine operating state, with customizable settings for time delay, latching, and suppression. Four levels of alarm setpoints can be configured per measurement, regardless of the source of the data (e.g., Bently device, OPC, etc.).
Layering in Decision Support helps automated routine detection and helps leverage the experience of your experts across your entire enterprise. Decision Support consumes live data from System 1, performs mathematical and logical operations on the data, and returns derived values to System 1 for alarming, visualization, and notification. It extends the analytic capabilities of System 1 by enabling users to build custom rules for deeper insights into the behavior of their machines and enhanced knowledge across plants or entire enterprises. The next Decision Support package will be available in Q3 2020.
Bently Performance further expands analytic capabilities within System 1 by offering online thermodynamic performance monitoring. This component is fully integrated with System 1 and provides your organization with access to comprehensive mechanical and thermodynamic machine-condition information. With System 1, you can process all the data you collect, sorting the critical from the not so, and by leveraging powerful software, can form industry-leading insights and action plans to handle any situation that may arise. Even better, you can see them coming and can plan accordingly for a scheduled maintenance event versus an unplanned (read: costly) one.
Even with latest-tech connectivity, machine-level data, and superior analytics, you shouldn’t have to be a data scientist to interpret the findings from your condition monitoring system. You need an intuitive, readily understandable way to display, and perhaps as importantly, to share the data you have so that everyone concerned understands what is being shown by the data you’ve collected. Fortunately, System 1 provides best-in-class visualization tools. The HMI Builder enables you and your organization to graphically represent your entire Plant System using the built-in symbol library. The HMI view graphically depicts operational health, allowing users to easily organize their findings so they can focus on their highest priority assets.
All your collected data can be viewed and manipulated within the System 1 plotting workspace for visualization, thus enabling users to quickly diagnose machinery health issues without sifting through raw data. With a wide variety of plot types and intuitive visualization tools, you and our organization can quickly identify any abnormalities and create intelligent, data-backed action plans to ensure continued machinery health and operational efficiency.
Aside from the three central issues we’ve discussed surrounding Connectivity, Analytics, and Visualization, there are also less centralized, but no less impactful areas that you need to consider when undergoing your own organization’s digital transformation.
The Unseen - Workforce Shortages
In many organizations, there are only a handful of skilled reliability professionals in a factory with the ability and experience to make critical maintenance recommendations using disparate data. These experts may be centrally located, perhaps at the largest plant, but not conveniently located in every plant. Additionally, these skilled professionals aren’t growing in numbers; most of them are nearing retirement. In manufacturing alone, 50% of the workforce is forecasted to retire in the next ten years, with 25% of the current reliability professionals eligible for retirement today. Therefore, manufacturing organizations must adapt and successfully integrate lesser-experienced, yet digitally savvy professionals into their maintenance teams. While human expertise is still difficult to replicate, intuitive technology backed by accurate and relevant data rules can be leveraged to collect and transmit contextual data from individual machines and locations to a centrally-managed location (or any location for that matter) for analytical development, insight-driven decisioning, and remote support. Armed with data-backed, enterprise-wide insights built on individual machine level findings and relational plant-specific data, your reliability teams are empowered to confidently make smart, timely, and proactive maintenance recommendations about individual assets, a plant specific issue, or even your entire enterprise.
Is Your Data Secure?
While we’ve spent this whole time talking about how to free your data, to avail it to your entire enterprise team, with this level of sharing and “freedom” comes the newer and ever-increasing responsibility of keeping your data secure. It’s a huge conundrum for any organization looking to make a digital transformation. Fortunately, System 1 has been engineered from the ground up to enable cyber-secure deployments, and leverage current and next-gen solutions for keeping your data free-flowing to those who should have access to it. Beyond just proofing against external threats, System 1 allows for full backup and recovery of local and online databases, ensuring that should you lose data, you can quickly restore it.
Digital Transformation - A Reality!
Any change comes with its own challenges and difficulties, but when you take an accurate and honest look at where your organization stands today, where your competitors are, and where you could be tomorrow, you will undoubtedly begin to see the value in undergoing a digital-centric approach to condition monitoring of all your machinery. You have a partner in Bently Nevada, and we are happy to discuss your digital transformation and enable its success. From an enterprise-level audit to machinery-level data collection needs, we can help you determine what you need, and supply you with the needed tools and expertise, all backed by Bently Nevada’s reputation as a leader in condition monitoring.
QUOTE: “We are using it (System 1) to proactively detect early trends. Along with this, we are using it to schedule our maintenance conditionally. We have extended outages from 6 years to 10 years on some of our equipment.” - Invista
We are in the ultimate downstream stoppage scenario right now, which affords forward-thinking organizations a unique opportunity to look at ways in which they can improve their current organizational processes overall and take advantage of current- and next-gen technology in anticipation of future production events.
If you would like to learn more about System 1 on your own, we have several resources available:
Chris is a Product Manager for System 1 at Bently Nevada. He has been involved in the introduction of new products and services for nearly fifteen years as a design engineer, project manager, product line manager, marketing manager and sales leader.