Enterprise Asset Management is an emerging strategic tool enabling optimal utilization of assets contributing to business goals of an organization. Come join us as we uncover the hidden potential of Asset Management with our deep insights spanning industry domains and technology

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September 29, 2015

Asset Management Solution by 2020

 

Today organizations are well aware-off on the context of asset reliability, return on asset, asset sustainability, risk & asset scalability, but there is no clear visibility where they stand now on these metrics or benchmarks. Given the opportunity most of the organizations like to reduce their spend on the existing assets on the other hand they intend to have a comprehensive asset management solution to keep their assets active as well as monitor them effectively. Key challenges that the organizations have come across in Asset Management space are

Over years, enterprise asset management has been continuously revamped to meet the evolving asset management strategies. In order to maximize asset performance over its life cycle, organizations are now focusing towards smart asset management solutions that deals with both the process and data throughout asset lifecycle management.

Modern Asset Management Solutions looking towards

  • Multi-tasking from a single user interface

  • Access data at any time and everywhere - data intelligence

  • Solutions compatibility across all services/businesses

  • Plug and Play Solution Packages (Non-technical)

  • Data/Process collaboration with other similar organizations to derive the best of breed solutions/practices

  • Align business with international asset management standards like PAS55 and ISO 55001

  • Support asset audits to assess asset maturity level

  • Reactive to Predictive to Pro-active maintenance

In today's world vendors in the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) market space are constantly re-designing and innovating on their software solutions, as a result of which, asset management solutions have been re-shaped/re-modelled to suit the changing organization requirements, competitive market needs, regulatory & HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) compliances and cost effective solutions.

August 18, 2015

Remote Condition Monitoring in Railway Industry

In today's highly competitive world, Rail operations are highly dependent on the condition of asset. The Industry needs to strike a balance between growing operational costs and compliance to regulatory and safety standards while meeting objectives like punctuality and network speed. Being a major asset and labor sector, railway networks scattered over large topographies and going through difficult and inaccessible terrains with tough climatic conditions naturally makes the daily manual analysis and asset condition monitoring a cumbersome and expensive work. It also places those at risk who work under dangerous environments. Some assets need day-to-day and regular review to lessen the risks nonetheless regular manual inspections are costly. The question is- how to ensure a thorough maintenance works while still being cost effective in such scenarios?
Remote Condition Monitoring (RCM) technologies through its potential to automate condition measurements and report asset failures of an asset have been helping the railroad industry to channelize their preventive maintenance and self-correction. The data gathered through the RCM has been a key driver of numerous asset maintenance decisions. It uses present and historical asset data to predict failures, before they allow condition based maintenance, which really reduces operating costs and improve productivity.

Let's take a case of train journey. Some railroad client like to forecast when the wheels are heading for failure beforehand, then they use predict and prevent approach which thwarts derailments. Here, infrared sensors can be situated for every 20 miles on tracks to take around 25 million temperature readings of wheels a day, check for overheating which is an indication of imminent failure. It can also have microphones situated on trackside to heed for rumbling bearings inside the wheels. Furthermore for big and heavy goods trains, it even records ultrasound images, tries to find defects inside the wheels.
 

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RCM helps to achieve the punctuality and network velocity which are considered as Targets for Rail Industries. It also saves the time and cost involved in frequent inspections as it is an automated system which uses sensors for processing the conditions. It can provide uninterrupted services as it prevents the incident to occur by following preventive approach.

Let's take another example of batteries in railroad operation. One of the major uses of batteries in this industry is to provide an electrical backup to the mileposts alongside rail tracks. Now the major challenge for the industry experts is to increase battery life. With the help of remote condition monitoring by means of kinetic energy processes which is made by the movement of wheels can be used to revive the sensor batteries. These movements in wheels can be seen or measured by using mobile or closed-circuit television (CCTV) so that batteries can be recharged or replaced before their condition is detoriated. Statistical data is directly sent through fiber-optic cables which sends data back to data centers. There the intricate pattern-matching procedures that flag the defects and let the professionals decide in short span of time whether a driver should stop the train for inspection or to just slow down till it can be repaired at the next station.

Several prominent railway establishments are in progress to embrace sensor based expertise to monitor assets remotely to improve their asset managing abilities. These sensors differs in conditions, standards and comes in different sizes which are expensive and wireless coverage is still a problem since it does not cover all topographies. An enormous share or investment is required with the aim to create a robust communication support so that data communication is made consistent and reliable. Another major challenge for this industry is the lack of competencies in selecting and applying sensor networks for remote monitoring and communication set-up. It is always crucial to plan various factors such as sensor technologies, placement of sensor, collecting and handling of statistical data, information distribution, and data formatting, alarm monitoring, device supervision and maintenance among other things additionally to the volumes of the data generated by a real time sensor network.

In general periodic maintenance, the threat of failure is lessened by carrying out maintenance at planned intervals. These tasks include inspections, measurements along with interferences. If an asset or equipment fails, it is detected in the system due to prebuilt safety tracking in signaling design which implies that the assets must be verified before they can be operative and are signaled to the route. If it fails, the maintenance personnel is required to go to the site quickly and inspect and diagnose the error using his expertise and perform maintenance as required.

Many railways organizations have 0 level capability fixed as part of their signaling system. For crossings and switching, it is in the form of detection lines which will verify that a switch is in the correct end position and should the end position signal be absent then it is fair to conclude that the switch has failed to operate appropriately.
In the above scenario, the methods operated with level 1 capability in the system.

In Railroad Community, continuous discussions are in progress to find an optimal solution for all the above challenges, for instance few railroad industries are considering using remote technology for smaller and minute sensors. In future, advance nanotechnology will perform a main role in identifying equipment in the industry as most of the industry expects the knowledge of joining everything to create simplified and updated asset condition.

The RCM system measures important parameters on asset and concludes if the measurements are suggesting a healthy or a defective asset. If a defect is suspected to be found, a message is sent to maintenance personnel who inspect the asset and fixes it. This method is useful in detecting faulty behavior in an asset before any failure occurs which gives the possibility of correcting it at maintainer convenience avoiding disturbance to traffic.

RCM helps to increase the performance and availability of assets. Thus, RCM can prove a good solution for an improved and successful rail operation. The industry needs to diverge from traditional fix on fail to more preventive and practical approaches using RCM and it's time for them to explore in the direction of intelligent and effective infrastructure.

October 12, 2014

Managing Shared Assets in an Organization using IBM Maximo

 

Managing Shared assets in an Organization using IBM Maximo

It is a common scenario observed in many industries, where assets are shared by different departments in the same Organization. Each department has its own metrics to monitor and control the same asset. Each department would also have its own logical hierarchy in which the Asset needs to be maintained both from Cost roll up as well as Organizational Reporting perspective. While the total cost of Ownership of an Asset is important from an Organization perspective, each department needs to have a visibility of the individual department wise cost incurred throughout the lifecycle of the asset.

Such shared assets can be represented in the Asset Management System in the following ways:


  1. Create virtual entities of the asset for each department. Place each entity in the corresponding location hierarchy of the concerned department.

  2. Create only 1 asset in Maximo representing the Physical asset and ensure the same asset is present in the Location hierarchies of individual department

The first approach makes the asset representation in the EAM solution (Maximo) very simple. Each department can track the metrics surrounding the asset very easily. However it is functionally incorrect as the Asset essentially gets duplicated in Maximo. Work Management on the asset becomes impossible to manage as co-ordination between departments cannot be ensured with multiple Asset ids representing the same physical asset.

For eg. If one department changes the status of the Asset to 'NOT READY' or INACTIVE, it will be doing so on the Asset id created for that department only. If another department has a different Asset id representing the same physical asset, the status will still show 'OPERATING'. PMs will be functioning for this asset record and work orders will be generated, which ideally should not happen as the Physical asset is taken down by the former department and is currently not functioning.

In the second approach, Maximo OOB feature of Location systems can be leveraged to create different Location hierarchies for individual departments. Having a common Location where the asset is placed and maintaining different parents of the same Location within different systems for each department ensures that Cost roll up happens correctly.

In order to segregate transactions for individual departments a new 'Department' field can be added on shared data like PMs, Job Plans, Classifications, Storerooms, Inventory and Work orders.  Based on the Location System and the department required metrics for each department can be computed from Maximo. Although this approach makes the data representation complex, it solves the major issue observed in the earlier approach related to Asset and Work Management.

On comparing the pros and cons of both the approaches, Option 2 looks functionally correct and the recommended solution for handling such Business scenarios.

A classic example of how this scenario is handled in a Railroad Industry with two departments viz. Facilities and Signals, where a single Switch Asset is shared by both the departments is shown in the below diagram


The Department must be mentioned on the work order or any transactional record that specifies as to which Department the transaction is relevant. All cost roll ups/reporting can be done using a combination of the location and department together which will give a clear picture of department specific metrics.

The above approach has been recently implemented in Maximo for a Class 1 US railroad. It has been successful in achieving the business objectives around the shared asset between two departments of the same company. 


Continue reading "Managing Shared Assets in an Organization using IBM Maximo" »

August 28, 2014

Use of Smart Maintenance Model in Electric Utility Industry for Power Grids-Part I

Every utility industry, be it an electrical, water or gas has its own set of unique challenges.  Since the time Thomas Edison invented Light Bulb in 1879 till date, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds. There has also been a substantial growth in the demand of electricity as a huge chunk was dedicated to industries labelled as development. The population also contribute a great deal to the increase in consumption rate over the years, however, there exists a disequilibrium between the demand of electricity and its production. This apparently made the burden of excess demand fall on the existing power grids, making them vulnerable to breakdown. As it is said "squeaky wheel gets the grease", naturally the Asset which were most susceptible to breakdown, got all the attention. There have been many cases throughout the world where the power grid failures have caused major power outages. Major power outages such as the one in Turkey in  the year 2012 affecting 20 million people; the  Grid failure in India in  the year 2012 affecting 7 north Indian states leaving half of India without electricity or the one in Chile in the 2010 affecting 90% of its population surely leaves some serious messages for the Management . The management have always fretted over ensuring proper Asset maintenance to avoid unexpected and abrupt breakdowns. These breakdowns resulted in power outages and loss of revenue for the industry and ultimately a displeased customer. In this write-up, I would like to emphasize on my recent work on the Smart Maintenance model which for the Power grids can be seen as a probable solution to elude unforeseen grid failures and power outages.

Continue reading "Use of Smart Maintenance Model in Electric Utility Industry for Power Grids-Part I" »

Predicting Asset Failure Using Similarity Based Modeling -Part II

 Similarity Based Modeling offers a more accurate checkpoint for deviations from recognized behavioral patterns as it considers a group of signals and compares the pattern of a signal relative to the pattern of all other related signals. SBM does not eliminate the human element of analytics or actions but it aids in scanning vast quantities of data quickly and making sense of it. Traditional alert limits can assist in protecting equipment but they don't substantially protect or improve availability and reliability. By using SBM the engineers can absolve themselves from direct data trending activities. Sufficient time to respond to aberrant or changing condition is available as data is monitored by the software and the engineers review the data when an exception is posted. Monitoring efforts are always efficient as only signals deviating from the normal expected pattern are highlighted. Searching for all visible signals for problems can thus be avoided. Near real time data can be obtained by performing SBM routinely on the equipment and the software application helps in identifying the pattern changes much earlier than the human eye can detect leading to a highly accurate analysis.

Continue reading "Predicting Asset Failure Using Similarity Based Modeling -Part II" »

August 26, 2014

Successful EAM Implementation - Prepare & Plan

In today's technology savvy world, most of the industries stumble upon this daunting question- Whether I really need a robust EAM software? If yes then what are the key elements it addresses? Some industries are forced to keep the EAM software just to comply with the statutory & regulatory requirements or sometimes it's purely for increasing their brand value in the competitive market. It is very important to ensure a proper pre selection & pre-planning exercises without which the EAM program could end up in a failure. There are few aspects which I believe needs to be considered here, let's see what they are

Continue reading "Successful EAM Implementation - Prepare & Plan" »

July 31, 2014

Predicting Asset Failure Using Similarity Based Modeling - Part I

Similarity Based Modeling in conjunction with Predictive Analytics Solution helps asset intensive industries achieve and exceed asset performance, improve reliability by providing prior warnings and notifications on upcoming failures, resulting in ample time for planning, scheduling and executing maintenance jobs. Similarity Based Modeling compares a calculated feature set to a modeled feature set over all operating conditions and thus enables the identification of particular fault modes early in their progression. Overall it optimizes maintenance activities and reduces maintenance cost expenditures helping organizations in gaining competitive advantage .Organizations will then be able to focus on proactive maintenance rather on reactive maintenance.

 

Continue reading "Predicting Asset Failure Using Similarity Based Modeling - Part I " »

June 26, 2014

Role of Supply Chain in Effective Maintenance and Asset Management - Part II

Overcoming the Complexities:
There are many complexities that create hindrance to the formulation of an MRO stockholding strategy.  Infrequently required spares, the mechanical complexity of spares, wide range of spare part components used in asset intensive companies and sourcing from multiple suppliers leading to lack of purchasing leverage are few of them. Standardization of spare parts required, optimization of the inventory held at site and supplier collaboration can lead to the formulation of a MRO stockholding strategy.

Continue reading "Role of Supply Chain in Effective Maintenance and Asset Management - Part II" »

Role of Supply Chain in Effective Maintenance and Asset Management - Part I

Manufacturing companies across the globe are facing the heat of the unique and unprecedented challenges posed by the economic crisis. Rising raw material costs, increased supplier lead times, subdued investment mood, drastically reduced operating budgets and bleak employment outlook have all hampered the recovery of these companies. But the silver lining through all these challenges is that the output has been steadily increasing in the past few months. Manufacturing companies across the globe are facing intense pressure to maximize profitability by reducing cost and optimizing production. Overall competitiveness of any manufacturing firm is based on the Manufacturing Efficiency and a company's maintenance and asset management strategy is core to improving the competitiveness of the companies vis-a-vis their competitors. Effective sourcing and management of MRO spares is integral to ensure the success of the maintenance and asset management strategy. The effectiveness of the supply chain for the MRO spares and how it is managed has a direct relationship with a company's ability to optimize its asset manangement strategy and reap the benefits.

Continue reading "Role of Supply Chain in Effective Maintenance and Asset Management - Part I" »

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