Faced with a combination of aging assets, and pressure to increase efficiency and reliability, companies are looking across their organizations for ways to improve operations, better manage their workforce and cut costs.
One area to look is maintenance. Traditional maintenance has involved scheduled, hourly work on equipment, many times in reaction to something. When something failed, a new part was ordered, or a note was made on a clipboard to record the event.
For global manufacturers, this type of reactive maintenance means increased costs and unscheduled downtime. In fact, studies have shown that reactive maintenance is 7 to 10 times more expensive than planned maintenance and is therefore the most expensive way to manage assets.
Long considered a cost center, maintenance has the possibility to drive an organization's profitability by improving quality, effectiveness, safety and other areas.
As a part of an overall asset management strategy, managing the maintenance tasks through specialized software and other tools can help reduce manual entry of device readings and share vital information with other areas of production.
For example, information coming out of controllers, drives, switches and data centers can provide an alert that there is a failure or record the number of failures over a period of time.
Engineering, maintenance and storeroom personnel can also access historical data and know which assets may be nearing end of life or be able to detect patterns in their equipment. They can see usage and costs, making them more efficient in managing labor, time and capital.
Capturing an event history for a specific device can help to determine the reason for the failure and reduce unscheduled downtime.
Average downtime of the asset, maintenance history, and other factors can help to determine the best path forward for operational efficiency.
With smart, connected devices gathering information, maintenance managers can prioritize maintenance activities, proactively manage the condition and health of their assets and improve mean time between failures. This improves the bottom line and helps improve value of the operations.
Leveraging information to help monitor assets and manage operations is critical to balancing between reactive and proactive maintenance.
To achieve efficiency between these two categories, review the amount of data you are entering into systems and remove the non-value added labor involved. By maintaining asset health in a proactive matter, you can help reduce risk in your organization and help to improve your operational effectiveness.
Co-authored by Jim Henry, Senior Product Manager – Digital Asset Management, Rockwell Automation
Published December 3, 2017