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"We’re pulling unit run time from our SCADA system,” explains Reid. “We can schedule maintenance based on hours run rather than basing it on time. For example, we have six units on one line. The only time the fifth and sixth units got started up was when we were taking readings. That vibration was not going to be any different than the last time. So now we take a vibration reading on the machine every 700 hours rather than on a fixed time schedule.”
Like Steve Greguske at ImClone, Reid says the benefits of EAM are “soft” right now, but very real. “We are constantly expanding at Embridge. We did a comparison of the amount of equipment in the field now and in the past. We looked at the amount of equipment we had in the field, the operations and maintenance budget and the staffing. What we saw was a drastic increase in the amount of equipment, but the operations and maintenance budget was the same, if not lower, and the number of technicians was the same.”
So is moving past basic asset-tracking CMMS worth all the effort? Western Management’s David Berger delivers his own warning: “You have to analyze to death,” he says. “So few industries really do this. The only one that really does is the airlines because planes will fall out of the sky if they don’t. Just imagine the amount of work that goes into this. What kind of failures? What to monitor? How? Nobody has time to do this analysis, which is why, if you have a good tool, it helps.”
On the other hand, Steve Greguske, Einar Mørk and Tom Reid think investing in that good tool is indeed worth it. Their respective managements agree. But make no mistake. EAM is not a magic bullet. To get to the benefits that drop visibly to the bottom line will a significant investment of time, labor and money.
In the beginning was a data depository, says David Berger of Toronto-based Western Management Consultants. “It was a place to put all your asset information, when it was purchased, its size, the tombstone and transactional data. Then it became a planning and control tool. It was no longer just a bunch of asset records, but we can use it to schedule work. We could use it to record work done and for preventive maintenance. Then we could get more sophisticated around scheduling; connect it with HR and have a record of what people are available to do the work and when they’re available. We got greater sophistication around features and functions. We could schedule by year, by time, by events. We got more functions and other ways to slice and dice the data.
“Then we got greater analysis capability. We could build correlations between certain types of downtime and certain vendors, for example. We started doing analysis as opposed to just reporting. And with better analysis, you can make better decisions. Analysis tools allow you to pinpoint issues and give you the intelligence to make decisions.
“The other area of change is integration. What used to be a simple data dump and report tool starts to creep vertically and horizontally into other areas. Think of shop-floor data collection: PLCs, HMIs, SCADA. [With that you can get] better cooperation between engineering, maintenance and operations.”
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