Wiring Your Assets for Success

The Problem

Asset performance data fuels predictive, condition-based and reliability-centered maintenance strategies. Capturing run-time readings, energy consumption, condition and qualitative data in the EAM system on a real-time basis can save time, reduce maintenance costs and improve asset reliability. Obtaining quick and efficient access to asset performance data should be mission critical for every asset management operation.

However, asset performance data contained in the control system rarely makes it to the EAM system, which tracks maintenance and repair activities. The most important information about the asset -its run-time, energy usage and condition information – never gets to the place where it is needed most: the EAM system and in the hands of the maintenance organization.

Therefore, maintenance organizations are required to perform activities with an incomplete picture of asset health. Handicapped by a lack of real-time asset performance data, this problem creates a significant informational gap between the operational and business layers of the organization, compromising both production and asset management operations.

The Solution

The fix seems readily apparent.
• Integrate the EAM system with the control system.
• Pass asset run-time, energy usage and condition data directly to the EAM system for tracking, alerts, auto work-order generation and analysis.
• Achieve a one-stop shop in the EAM system for all asset maintenance and cost information.
• Utilize the EAM system they way it was intended: a data repository, a hub for which all asset data, past and present, are captured, tracked and analyzed.

Easy, right?

No, it has not been that simple. To date, system integration has historically been perceived as complex, expensive, risky and only in the realm of the large company IT departments or system integrators. Different types of databases, table structures and system constraints have added costs and headaches to the process of getting systems to communicate. These difficulties have spawned an effort towards system consolidation (a one “software jacket” fits all approach), implemented at the expense of system functionality and the user base.

However, this environment is rapidly changing. Advancements in technology, service-oriented architectures and the use of open XML (Extensible Markup Language) communication standards are bringing down the costs and simplifying system integration efforts.

Maintenance organizations can now realize both the benefits of best-in-class EAM system functionality and the sharing of critical asset information without breaking the bank and causing IT migraine headaches. Connecting maintenance systems to operation control systems is fast becoming a standard within reach of all sizes of businesses. Database management technologies and platforms are now making condition-based maintenance a reality, not just a lofty concept preached at maintenance excellence seminars. Technology is driving this reality and revolutionizing how maintenance organizations manage their assets.

Client Example 

Stratum recently integrated the Des Moines Waste Water Reclamation Authority (WRA) EAM system with their SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system. Abnormal equipment readings set off e-mail alerts and auto-generate work orders to notify their maintenance department of the potential problem. This helps keep assets running at their peak efficiency. Additionally, their energy usage data is converted to dollars and associated with the asset’s maintenance costs. Now EAM can report to WRA the total operating costs of the asset.

By connecting EAM to their SCADA system, WRA expects to improve the operating efficiency of their blowers and main pumps, which translates into $41,584 of savings per year.

Summary 

Integrating the EAM software application with external data sources is critical to the long-term success of the asset management operation.

Getting EAM and the operation control system to communicate allows maintenance to be performed based on objective evidence of need or the condition of the asset, and not solely on historical work orders and worst-case failure rates. This communication improves equipment effectiveness, increases labor productivity and helps capitalize on the full life cycle potential of equipment.

Wiring the EAM system directly to the performance of your assets has never been easier and more affordable. Connecting EAM to the operation control system places the right data into the hands of the right people, at the right time, supplying maintenance organizations with all of the data they need in order to optimize their asset management operations.


by Tracy Smith and Clay Bush