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By Herman Storey
Wouldn't it be great if we could truly optimize maintenance? How about if we only worked on instruments that actually needed attention, but did this work before they were in bad enough shape to have an impact on plant operation? We can!
But doing so requires careful planning and organizational discipline. If we want to optimize maintenance and lower our operating exposure to field-device failures, we have to do some basic implementation steps to properly present diagnostic information, and we need people and work processes to make use of the tools.
Asset management programs have three basic goals:
The minimum requirements for an asset management system include:
To apply the above to automation systems in mining and manufacturing industries, some basic diagnostic techniques associated with these systems are needed:
This is the primary target of the remainder of this article.
An optimized asset management process involves activities during all phases of the asset life cycle. Performing these activities at the correct phase of the life cycle is crucial to achieving optimum results. Some asset management activities required during a life cycle include:
Do vendor qualification, selection and templating of typical configurations as soon as possible after criticality and design requirements are set. Delay until after FED will result in sub-optimum cost or implementation choices and/or rework after bulk building.
Asset management tools generally have data management functionality along with other primary functions, including:
Each has one or more databases and is designed to use its data as master, even though the data is often shared with another tool, and a different tool may have the master data. The actual master data location changes between tools during the asset life cycle. Keeping track of which data is master and which is a copy requires some planning and effort.
Tools, devices and systems must exchange data to keep the databases synchronized. Data import, export and reformat are needed to accomplish data exchange. Data comparison and reconciliation is necessary to assure integrity of exchange. Change tracking and history are needed to manage asset data changes.
In addition, all asset management tools, systems and devices need remote access, multiple simultaneous access and role-based security. A standardized security model would be nice.
When asset management tools are used in the field, most diagnostics go directly into a black hole and become "stranded" and useless. Instead they should go to engineering, maintenance and/or operations.