Integrating EAM and PdM for maintenance productivity

Virtually every maintenance organization in modern manufacturing plants focuses on implementing clearly defined asset management practices. Successful plant engineers are shifting more of the routine maintenance activities toward predictive maintenance (PdM).

By Ian Wray, Indus International, Atlanta, GA October 10, 2003
Key Concepts
  • Integrating EAM and PdM offers tremendous return-on-investment potential.

  • Successfully building an EAM/PdM integration strategy depends on analyzing strengths and weaknesses first.

  • The synergy of EAM and PdM will drive maintenance practices toward integration.

    Next logical step
    Benefits of integration
    Making the integration happen
    Final thoughts

    Virtually every maintenance organization in modern manufacturing plants focuses on implementing clearly defined asset management practices. Successful plant engineers are shifting more of the routine maintenance activities toward predictive maintenance (PdM). Long gone are the days where most of the maintenance manager’s day was spent handing out corrective work orders to their employees based on an emergency maintenance requirement that “just happened.”

    Today, companies are finding new ways to control costs and optimize productivity ensuring operational uptime. One of the best ways to implement cost control measures and maximize plant equipment uptime is by implementing sound enterprise asset management (EAM) principles and integrating them with a well-defined PdM management approach.

    Next logical step

    The dilemma that companies face is not what to do, but rather how best to do it. Each year, asset-intensive companies spend millions of dollars on procuring and implementing PdM programs and EAM software. Most companies do a fairly good job of implementing both. However, while these asset-intensive companies usually have derived substantial benefits from both types of systems, integrating EAM software with PdM applications could secure significantly greater benefits.

    Surprisingly, relatively few companies take the next logical step by integrating EAM and PdM — even though integration offers tremendous return-on-investment (ROI) potential. EAM/PdM integration allows maintenance to be performed at optimal times in the lifecycle of critical assets, encourages the cost-effective use of maintenance resources, and facilitates cost savings by optimizing asset availability (Fig. 1).

    Benefits of integration

    EAM systems operate on the premise that an integrated set of systems can operate in concert to achieve maximized returns and lowered operational costs throughout an asset’s lifecycle. PdM systems operate in much the same way, but with an obvious focus on asset disposition, function, and operability.

    The two types of systems create vast repositories of asset data, including equipment readings, failure codes, vibration analysis results, fluid sampling analyses, detailed repair histories, and more.

    Traditionally, maintenance planners generated many corrective work orders manually or using an archaic set of homegrown systems, which usually were isolated entities with separate data repositories.

    With the introduction of PdM practices and systems, maintenance planners can now decide when it makes sense to maintain a piece of equipment, and when to allow it to run to failure (RTF).

    Integrating the analysis features in PdM systems with the functionality of EAM systems yields the following benefits:

    • Reduced asset downtime

    • Increased asset utilization

    • Reduced maintenance costs

    • Continual feedback on asset disposition

    • Trend data

    • Feedback that affects equipment design and evolution

    • Improved workplace safety.

      • Making the integration happen

        When integrating PdM and EAM systems, begin by recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each system. An EAM system is great at organizing and mobilizing resources for performing work. But it does not necessarily tell the maintenance planner exactly what is wrong with the equipment. Conversely, a well-designed PdM system can provide volumes of data on the condition of a pump experiencing excessive vibration or the quality of the oil within a piece of equipment in continual use for two years. But it typically cannot equalize your maintenance resource schedule during an unplanned plant outage. Nor can it generate automated requisitions for materials.

        Next, provide a common context for the data that will be shared between the two systems. Identify the critical data integration requirements, and then develop common data touch points between the two systems (Fig. 2).

        planner to decide whether to repair the pump or allow it to run to failure? Allowing the equipment to stay in service allows production to continue, but may irreparably damage a valuable asset. Conversely, repairing the equipment can ensure its longevity, but doing so requires the equipment to be taken out of service, thus affecting the company’s bottom line.

        Once the data are generic across the two systems and a common set of data touch points have been identified between the systems, the functional logistics of the interface can be established. For example, do the interface requirements dictate a real-time data update capability between the two systems, or is a flat file data exchange via an overnight batch job adequate?

        Will there be shared or corresponding data tables? Will maintenance workers in the field be using mobile handheld data collection devices to perform predictive maintenance activities? If so, how will that data collection and analysis activity impact interface requirements?

        Typically, in integrations between PdM software and EAM systems, predictive asset analysis is performed from within the PdM application. Data from this analysis are sent to the EAM system to initiate maintenance activities. Keep this in mind when defining interface requirements. A well-designed integration between PdM and EAM systems allows abnormal asset readings to automatically trigger maintenance activities within the EAM system. For example, if vibration tolerances for an equipment item are outside of the normal operating limits, PdM analysis data should trigger an automatic request for an inspection or corrective work activity within the EAM system.

        In addition, a well-designed EAM/PdM integration must accommodate report generation. There should be a robust reporting capability for each relevant equipment item, which includes detailed maintenance, installation, and repair history, as well as all corollary costs associated with the equipment during its life of service. EAM functionality, in conjunction with PdM functionality, can pull from a wide range of data points to compile these detailed reporting requirements for maintenance personnel as well as top management.

        Final thoughts

        As equipment maintenance continues to evolve, PdM will be more seamlessly integrated into the maintenance planner’s routine. Thirty years ago, most maintenance activities were predominately corrective in nature. Today, the trend is to focus on preventive and predictive strategies to capitalize on asset lifecycle value. As companies compete more aggressively to reduce overall operating costs and improve the bottom line, the synergy obtained by the functionality of EAM and PdM will drive maintenance practices toward integration.

        More Info:

        If you have questions on integrating EAM and PdM, contact the author. Ian Wray can be reached at 770-952-8444 or . Article edited by Jack Smith, Senior Editor, 630-288-8783, .