Unplanned downtime is the stuff of nightmares for industrial plant management. Process upsets, wasted product, potentially hazardous events, high blood pressure…all potential side effects of unplanned downtime. Add in the costs of remediation — flared product, media management, overtime pay, hot shot fees, increased safety — unplanned downtime costs can easily run past the million-dollar price tag.
So, what do we do to wake up from this bad dream?
Preventative Maintenance (PM) has historically been the cornerstone of avoiding unplanned downtime. “We will replace this part(s) before it breaks” is the general notion of PM. However, replacing things too early increases the cost of the PM program, and replacing things too late raises the risk of something failing before the calculated failure point.
Despite getting the timing of the PM intervals right, premature failure is still a risk. How do you further reduce the risk of premature failure? The simple answer is condition monitoring. The not so simple follow-up question is how do we do condition monitoring?
When most people hear condition monitoring, the mind quickly goes to expensive, complicated and automated monitoring solutions tied to equipment. While those solutions can provide value and have their place for critical and highly stressed assets, there is an often-overlooked solution that we consider low-risk and high-yield.
That solution is utilizing your employees who are already moving throughout your facility daily. In many cases, operators who pass by the equipment day after day have a heightened sense of how the equipment runs at correct operating levels. However, this information is usually captured on paper and either never looked at or forgotten in a filing cabinet. If you capture this information digitally, via digitized operator rounds on tablets, that same information can become actionable. Temperatures, pressures, vibration, and leaks captured and processed digitally are automatically sent to decision makers to decide if preemptive measures need to be taken BEFORE failure.
This scenario brings you to the dreamland of PLANNED downtime where you are in charge—not the failing equipment. When you are in charge, you get to call the shots on those once scary decisions like overtime allotment, a part’s shipping cost, where to redirect product and whether to shut units down or keep running.
All this by capturing things on a tablet device that were already written down on paper. Does this seem too good to be true? Ask our clients who have already saved hundreds of thousands by implementing our digital solutions.