Construction data an asset for maintenance—but only if it’s shared

ARC Forum: Better quantity and quality of asset data an opportunity to reduce costs and improve uptime.


ARC Forum: Better quantity and quality of asset data an opportunity to reduce costs and improve uptime.There’s a hidden weapon in the battle for uptime: information.

While plant design and construction leaders have a ton of information, migrating the information about all of the installed assets has been either too fast or too slow, according to Ralph Rio, research director for ARC Advisory Group.

“There has been too much emphasis on design and build and not enough on operate and maintain,” Rio told attendees at the 2015 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando on February 10. “Those folks involved with (asset lifecycle management) can communicate better with those who are not.”

The data available when a plant is built or retrofit often gets lost in the handover between the construction team and the operations team. And Rio noted that it’s not just the quantity of data that’s the issue.

“Quality problems are pervasive around asset information,” Rio said. “The primary problem is associated with handover, and that’s the most dysfunctional process there is, and it’s totally mucked up in most organizations. The bulk transfer of data is terrible; the ad hoc sharing of information is even worse.”

ARC champions what Rio called a “stage gate” process to manage the volume of data as well as make the process of verifying data easier to manage. “If you bring the operation and maintenance people in earlier in the process and they become aware of information available, you can pull information more gradually rather than wait for the end to do it.”

The move to a more systematic asset lifecycle information management system is gaining a foothold, and Rio said such a system helps plant managers keep control of costs and improve maintenance practices.

“The primary reason for this kind of solution has to do with uptime,” said Rio. “That relates to the balance sheet and the P&L statement. More capacity drives revenue, it removes unplanned downtime, and it controls costs around material and labor.

“The longer an asset lasts, the more it improves the balance sheet,”[SS1]  he added. “The metric of the senior executives is the P&L statement. When you can affect that in a positive way, you get management’s attention in a positive way.”

Rio noted that a recent ARC study with found that 82% of asset failures are random. “Preventive maintenance doesn’t fit well where likelihood of failure is random in nature,” he said. “Preventive maintenance makes sense for about 20% of assets. The other 80% of our assets needs predictive condition monitoring. You really need to have a conversation about condition monitoring, and have a conversation with your OEM about how they’re going to help you do condition monitoring.”

At Dow Chemical, the process of managing all assets in a $60 billion chemical company is obviously daunting, yet it still is a company objective, according to Dow Chemical’s Deborah McNeil, who also spoke at the ARC event.

Finding alignment between such diverse interests as IT, maintenance, construction, engineering, and operations is one of the big challenges for a company such as Dow, McNeil said. “We are trying to get owners to agree we could align all of these functions, but I still think we’re struggling in defining the value,” she said. “We still remain pretty siloed. It’s hard to see that the value is in the white space between the functions.”

McNeil identified four reasons companies such as hers have struggle with better data sharing across functions:

  • Cross-functional barriers still have to be overcome. “We’ve got to start talking to each other,” said McNeil.
  • “We had multiple operating and maintenance systems. You’ve got to get a common platform.”
  •  “We’ve got to care about accuracy of data. Otherwise, no one is going to trust it. That’s a big cultural change for us. It needs to be good data.”
  • Companies have to move away from a capital project mentality to a more holistic operational strategy. “We have to have it coming from the top,” McNeil said. “Short-term project priorities trump longer-term values.”

The payoff, though, is in getting the right data to the right person. Noting that between 20% and 30% of maintenance costs could be saved with better information in the field, McNeil championed a process that looks for gradual, provable success ahead of a big win.

“The value is in the big projects, but there’s greater risk,” she said. “We’re going to pick the smaller projects and prove the value. To have one of these big projects fail is not a pretty thing.

You take a small step, take another step, and keep going.”

- Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineering, 

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me