Optimizing Your Plant Condition Monitoring Journey a Single Vendor for All Your Needs
12 min read
When it comes to machine health monitoring & management, streamlining processes and eliminating waste can have a powerful impact on productivity and your bottom line. Learn how choosing Bently Nevada as your single vendor condition monitoring solution can benefit your plant-wide processes, saving you time, money, and manpower.
Optimization means a lot of things to a lot of people. For those of us whose lives are centered around machinery health, optimization means something different than say, someone concerned with telehealth. While the fundamental principles are the same, the execution is vastly different.
In a condition monitoring context, optimization can be thought of as a process by which industrial plant operators achieve better machine health and increased productivity by eliminating waste...waste of your capital, your time, and your human resources. In short, optimization of a machinery health management program involves making the condition monitoring and protection systems covering your critical assets as simple to manage as possible while delivering the maximum amount of protection, machinery and process insight, and uptime.
The Impact of Machines on Productivity
The need for increased productivity, product quality, and environmental safety is why we have machines in the first place. From their earliest iterations, machines have worked 24/7, delivering consistently better product quality at a reduced cost to consumers. This is true across the broad spectrum of industries that rely on machine assets to get the product out the door.
Human Paradigm Shift: From Craftsmanship to Oversight
Today’s machines have become more complex, the systems we insert them into are more powerful, and many of the products we are asking them to create are increasingly more intricate. All of that complexity has led to a shift in human expertise from craftsmanship to oversight.
While we may no longer be doing the “grunt work” that our machines have been created to replace, our new role is one of taking care, watching over, and ensuring the efficiency of these machines.
This shift in where our human resources are now focused brings with it its own set of challenges, particularly as industries work to leverage sensors, analytics, and embedded AI with more and more data. So, before we talk about practical steps you can take to streamline the processes of condition monitoring, let’s talk about some of the benefits of taking an AI, data-fed approach to managing the health of your production assets, as well as who best to partner with to achieve your digitized plant journey
The Benefits of Automated Machine Condition Monitoring
By moving from manual data collection based on time intervals or obvious production issues to an automated form a machine health monitoring and predictive maintenance planning, you can expect far less variance in your plant productivity.
Properly calibrated machine-based systems never “forget” to collect data even on an outlying asset, they never “eyeball” it, and they, in most cases, are always on. And when the need does arrive to collect data directly on a machine via a portable data collector or analyzer, even the data taken via the portable unit is easily integrated into the condition monitoring database for a unified and holistic analysis, removing gaps in plant asset health knowledge.
Of course, we aren’t saying that your condition monitoring strategies will be better without human oversight - the fact is you need human analytical and problem-solving capabilities coupled with condition monitoring expertise that can only be had by a qualified, well-trained technician. The best modern condition monitoring platforms compliment what your plant personnel knowfrom experience, codify it into the program, and provide advanced insights that are scalable across your fleet of assets. The essential value of an advanced condition monitoring solution lies in helping you get to a root cause quicker and limiting the damage caused by failing production assets. Having that first line of defense as automated as possible eliminates a large amount of the false alarms that many operators experience today, and thus minimizes the impact to your production schedules via the shortest, most cost-effective timeline.
Having a robust proactive condition monitoring strategy in place, one supported by machine and process specific sensors, algorithms, and even personnel, can give you ample time ahead of a catastrophic failure to shift your condition monitoring strategies from reactionary to predictive.
A “smart” condition monitoring strategy doesn’t mean the removal of hands-on oversight, but in fact, means that your condition monitoring strategy will be augmented by a host of timely machine condition notifications, alarms and even insights that would be impossible to deliver as effectively if they were not automated, online, and visible via an HMI and workspace that is wholly intuitive. Having a suite of sensors, transmitters, monitoring devices, and a connected network accessible by a pool of machinery health experts, whether onsite or off, gives you the twofold safety and peace of mind of advanced intel ahead of a failure and a safety net that will catch unforeseen failures sooner rather than later.
When you begin to see the start of an asset failure weeks, sometimes months, ahead of time, this results in a far safer production environment and protects the health of your assets, your employees and partners, the environment, and ultimately your company - both from a financial and public relations point of view.
Less Human Resource Waste
We’ve known for some years now that the talent pool for expert-level technicians has been evaporating with no signs of replenishment anytime soon. One significant way to make more effective use of your human resources is to remove as many mundane and repetitive tasks from their plate as possible. Also, let’s face it, some areas of the plant environment are just not attractive places to work. Many can be hot, humid, loud, and dirty. If we can replace a portable monitoring system with a wireless condition monitoring system in those areas, we improve work conditions and create a safer environment for data collection.
By relegating standard monitoring and machinery health data collection to an intelligent condition monitoring system built on proven algorithms and machine learning, which is still 100% monitored by professionals, you allow your key personnel to focus their decades of expertise and training on interpreting signs and trends in the data their machines are sending - not wasting their talents on manual machine data acquisition.
AI properly adopted and analytics based on machine learnings help increase productivity which in turn increases profit. Even when accounting for the initial outlay of capital needed to set up an automated condition monitoring system, when you consider the savings in manpower, oversight, safety, downtime, and the avoidance of catastrophic failures - you will be hard-pressed to come up with a scenario where an online condition monitoring strategy doesn’t improve profits.
Peace of Mind
Finally, when you add all these factors up, you gain an immeasurably valuable result known as Peace of Mind. Peace of Mind is something that condition monitoring experts truly take to heart, know very well the value of, and consider indispensable to their line of work.
When you know you have a small army of machines running around the clock, at their optimum efficiency, all being monitored by world-class, reliable sensors, on a secure and redundant network, delivering real-time data to customized algorithms set to trigger relevant alerts and deliver those alerts to the relevant personnel -- on or offsite -- who can make informed decisions about the insights your data present, when you know all of that, you have peace of mind. And that peace of mind can be quantifiable in the form of no unnecessary downtime andmaintenance based on true machine conditions, allowing you to keep your plant processes consistent and on-time. Customers remember quality and they remember on-time deliveries. They will keep coming back to you.
By deploying an AI-driven, data-fed condition monitoring strategy, you can start to see real signs of greater optimization in your entire fleet of assets.
How to Effectively Optimize Your Machinery Health Management Program
1) Audit Your Assets
The first step in optimizing machine reliability via condition monitoring is a thorough audit of your organization’s assets. Virtually every production asset requires a slightly different condition monitoring solution. Generally, these solutions are based on criticality to your production process, the type of asset failure modes, and whether the asset is spared or not.
2) Determine Condition Monitoring Parameters
Once you’ve thoroughly mapped out your production process from the front door to the back, you can then go down your list of assets, machine by machine, you should note the following items:
What conditions need monitoring on this machine?
How often should monitoring occur?
Who will be responsible for machine data analysis and maintenance planning?
By planning your program, machine by machine, you'll be better equipped to map out the rules and algorithms you need, as well as the alert triggers and recipients, so the entire condition monitoring flow remains intact, and the chain of responsibility is never broken.
3) Research Condition Monitoring Vendors
Next, you’ll want to start researching various vendors and their capabilities. At this stage, you don’t want to limit your possibilities. Your goal is to find the best concentration of value (coverage) with the least number of moving parts (vendors). You want a partner with concrete expertise and the ability to offer savings by way of multiple product and service lines that cover a greater percentage of your condition monitoring strategy. Ping your incumbent vendors and reach out to ones you may not currently be doing business with - they are more than willing to answer your questions about how they can help you achieve a digital transformation in your condition monitoring strategy.
4) Review Your Findings
Finally, when you go to present this to the Decision Makers, you’ll want to be armed with all the costs. And by that we mean not just the costs to implement, but also, and equally valuable to your argument for an asset reliability partner, the costs that will be avoided by implementing such a strategy.
Why Choose Bently? The Benefits of a Single Vendor Condition Monitoring Solution
All of this brings up a very important aspect of plant optimization and how best to implement a condition monitoring program. One of the basic goals of optimization is consolidating multiple processes into one, bringing various disparate assets into a holistic view. Many condition monitoring programs, however, rely on multiple vendors and partners often creating silos of disconnected data. This poses a challenge to building a powerful, intuitive, and connected CM program.
By creating an enterprise-wide condition monitoring strategy with a partner that can account for all aspects of it, you can start your digital transformation journey off on the best foot possible. Ideally, if your sensor vendor, your software vendor, your monitoring hardware vendor, and your services vendor are all the same company then you only need to have one communication with one partner versus multiple communications with multiple partners. By choosing a single vendor solution, you can save untold time and resources, and gain the Peace of Mind you crave.
Bently Nevada remains unique in the industrial plant condition monitoring space because of our singular ability to cover every monitoring need in your plant. Many companies claim they can cover everything, but Bently Nevada truly can.
“One of your competitors used to say they could cover every aspect of a condition monitoring program. They can’t, but you guys really can.”
-Reliability Manager from a large IOC
Are there risks associated with “putting all your eggs in one basket”? Sure. But what if that one basket had a proven track record of being the best basket, and that by breaking up those responsibilities amongst other baskets, you have exposed your plant assets to 3rd and 4th-tier providers? Then it doesn’t seem like such a good idea, does it?
When you are determining your optimized condition monitoring strategy, and you are going with a single vendor, make sure that single provider can offer you a complete solution, and that it can do so better than anyone else.
The industrial asset condition monitoring space is currently being flooded with new providers of sensors and software who claim expertise in industrial applications, but NONE have the background in machinery diagnostics that Bently Nevada has. Do your research and you’ll find most of these companies have just created a product offering for CM in the last couple of years. We were there from the start having literally written the book on machinery monitoring. We have always been in it for the long-haul, partnering with our customers as we learn from them and they learn from us…As one of our customers told us some years ago, “no one ever got fired for implementing a Bently Nevada Monitoring System”. High praise indeed!
It is also important to note the economies of scale that come from partnering with a single provider who can provide systems that are 100% designed to work with one another and the personnel and expertise that has been 100% involved in their creation and maintenance. When you have this level of integration, you avoid a lot of gaps in asset coverage, in data collection, and gaps in communication between systems and teams in the event of an emergency. One call for one fix is a far better strategy than multiple calls for one fix, with multiple different vendors approaching your problem from their various siloed, and limited, points of view.
If you’d like to learn more about how Bently Nevada can help your organization achieve true enterprise-wide optimization with the ease and continuity of service that can only be obtained by working with a single vendor - a vendor that represents the world’s best condition monitoring products, services, and expertise, contact us and we will be happy to create an automated condition monitoring plan perfectly suited to your organization and application.