Your questions answered: Using software in predictive maintenance

Additional questions on software in preventive maintenance are addressed presented in an October 17 webcast, archived for a year.

By Plant Engineering October 26, 2023

The benefits of proactive maintenance strategies, coupled with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), can drive a plant’s efficiency, and optimize the use of resources was the focus of an October 17 Plant Engineering webcast, “Using software in predictive maintenance.” This included questions from the audience listening live. Answers to some questions not answered during the webcast follow. The webcast is archived for a year.

Additional answers include predictive maintenance best practices, CMMS advice and more.

Speakers Michael Hardy, vice president of asset management of Bureau Veritas, and Ed Garibian, CEO of Llumin, provided extra answers below after covering the following learning objectives:

  • Looking at preventive maintenance and how engineering and IT resources can improve outcomes.

  • Gain a solid understanding of predictive maintenance approaches and who should be involved.

  • Learn about total productive maintenance (TPM) and integrating operator input into your maintenance strategy.

  • Understand the pros and cons of each type of system, including cost and training.

  • Review case studies in which software based systems were implemented.

Question: Can you explain early versus late adopters advantage. Expansive upgrades?

Hardy: Early adopters of the most advanced computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) can gain a competitive edge by improving efficiency, reducing downtime, and extending the lifespan of their assets. They can also benefit from advanced features, more streamlined maintenance processes, better inventory control, and improved labor management. On the other hand, late adopters might benefit from a more mature product with fewer bugs and a larger community of users to learn from. However, they may miss out on the competitive advantage gained by early adopters. Significant upgrades can be challenging in highly integrated environments where tech such as IIOT and automation are interconnected with the CMMS. Thoughtful planning is required to ensure the appropriate resources are available, dependencies are considered, and time is built in for proper testing and resolution or problems found.

Question: What are some best practices to convince leaders that preventive maintenance – while painful in the near term – is the best strategy for our facilities in the long term?

Garibian: The most impactful way to justify investments for pro-active maintenance is to:

  1. Make a list of all assets that impact production or operations

  2. For each, list out if the asset fails or faults, what are the steps to remediate and what does remediation cost

  3. What is the cost to production or operations while the asset is down or off-line during remediation. These dollars will help justify investments in proactive maintenance.

Hardy: Some of these may seem obvious, but there aren’t any shortcuts I know to get leadership buy-in for investing in proactive maintenance:

  • Explain that preventive maintenance helps to prevent equipment failures and keep facilities running smoothly. Predictive maintenance can help to identify potential problems before they occur, allowing for early intervention and repair. This can help to avoid costly downtime and repairs, as well as extend the life of equipment.

  • Quantify the value and costs. This will help leaders to see the financial benefits of investing in these programs. If possible, use historical data to show the costs of equipment failures and downtime, or prepare a thoughtful estimate of costs and benefits to make your case.

  • Develop a comprehensive PM plan that details the specific tasks that will be performed and the frequency at which they will be performed. The plan should also include a staffing plan, budget, training, and a timeline for implementation.

  • Gather input from stakeholders such as maintenance personnel, operators, and other members of the team who can share insights about current problems and inefficiencies that may be addressed by a comprehensive PM program.

  • If needed, try piloting the PM program at one location and monitor the results to build your case for wider adoption. This will help you to demonstrate to leaders that the program is effective and that it is generating the desired results that can be spread across the enterprise.

Question: Is AI software being incorporated into CMMS systems?

Garibian: Yes, over time, AI is being incorporated, both in terms of machine data learning and recognizing patterns of condition data that indicate potential faults, and in terms of suggested actions and procedures when remediation is required.

Question: How can we balance the costs of implementing a predictive management system (cost and management of the sensors and devices) versus the risks of breakdowns in service?

Garibian: The most impactful way to justify investments for pro-active maintenance is to: 1. make a list of all assets that impact production or operations; 2. for each, list out if the asset fails or faults, what are the steps to remediate and what does remediation cost; and then 3. What is the cost to production or operations while the asset is down or off-line during remediation. These dollars will help justify investments in pro-active maintenance. And assets that are most critical or have highest consequence of failure should be looked at as candidates for both preventive and predictive maintenance.

Question: Do you have an example of ROI calculations for implementing this system/tool?

Hardy: While calculating the variables themselves can be subjective and difficult to quantify, the formula is quite simple. The system ROI can be represented as (value-cost)/cost.

For example: If the assigned value is $200,000 per year and the assigned costs are $50,000 per year, then (200,000-50,000)/50,000 = 3. That means the ROI after 1 year is 3 times the investment. Value is the hardest to calculate as some benefits are cannot be easily measured in dollars and cents, and can vary widely between industries and even among companies in the same industry.

Question: Why is predictive maintenance harder to pitch to a company, as opposed to regular preventive maintenance?

Garibian: We believe that often predictive maintenance is only thought of in terms of machine learning and AI-driven technology. There are different levels of predictive maintenance and levels of predictive maintenance that can be applied relatively inexpensively.

Question: What quality management software (QMS) systems work well with CMMS software or which ones to you like best?

Hardy: There are several QMS are systems that can integrate well CMMS software.

  • Isolocity: Isolocity’s quality compliance software integrates quality principles from internationally recognized standards such as ISO 9001:2015, GMP, and more.

  • Unifize: Unifize takes a different approach to quality management operations. It is configurable to every quality process.

  • Intellect QMS: Intellect provides a flexible enterprise Quality Management Software (eQMS) solution and platform designed to meet any FDA and ISO compliance requirements.

  • QT9 QMS: QT9 Quality Management Software is a web-based QMS software used by companies to comply with ISO and FDA quality standards.

  • Process Street, Pilgrim, Qualityze, Mastercontrol AND TrackWise also ARE popular choices for QMS software.

Remember, the best QMS for your organization depends on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s important to consider factors such as the size of your organization, the industry you’re in, the specific features you need, and your budget when choosing a QMS. It’s also crucial that the QMS you choose can integrate seamlessly with your specific CMMS for optimal performance.

Question: What safety software software to you see/like best that integrate will with QMS and CMMS software.

Hardy: I’m not very familiar with EHS/safety management software, but I suspect most of the major providers (EHS Insight, SafetyAMP, etc.) provide some form of integration or interoperability.

Question: Manufacturers earlier used to recommend certain time scheduled maintenance in support of equipment guarantee. Out of types of maintenance listed by you, which type of maintenance is recommended by the manufacturer?

Garibian: Yes, that is very true and while there are still some types of machinery or equipment where calendar based recurring maintenance schedules still are preferred, most manufacturers are recommending usage level periodicity (i.e., the actual volume of use the machine as accumulated since its last PM).