Let's not kid ourselves. Despite years of big plans and a few halting baby steps, plant-floor process monitoring and control systems often remain light years away from business-level management and asset systems. Sure, a few status metrics and even some KPIs may get across occasionally. However, real-time production data that triggers fast-response business decisions is still just a dream for many users and their companies.
It may finally be time to wake up and live that dream because Emerson Process Management introduced its enhanced AMS Suite: Asset Performance Management (APM) software solution at the 2010 Emerson Global Users Exchange in San Antonio, Texas.
To bridge the gap between plant floor and management, and to get them to cooperate and coordinate their efforts, AMS Suite APM consists of tools that first reduce the traditional complexity of the plant environment, and then help plant management make better business decisions. AMS Suite APM combines predictive intelligence with asset reliability information and decision support, which inevitably leads to smarter business decisions. It also adds real-time analytics and reporting that enable new levels of insight into asset performance for continuous improvement.
"Plant managers have to make decisions every day across systems that include thousands of devices running 24/7, and so they want to make better fact-based decisions that impact the bottom line," said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer. "That's what these enhancements to AMS Suite enable."
Of course, seeking and achieving simplicity and getting plant and business applications to work in tandem is even more difficult as plants grow steadily more complicated and the role of plant management becomes more challenging. Although many plants have benefited from predictive technologies, maintenance management systems and documentation of work processes, managers still often lack easy and immediate access to the swelling volume of data in ways that would enable strategies for additional improvements to reliability and overall plant performance.
"Today, plant management challenges are huge, and so managers need more clarity to achieve profitability," said Stuart Harris, vice president and general manager of Emerson's Asset Optimization business. "AMS Suite and its predictive diagnostic technologies have provided plants with new insights into asset health, enabling them to operate more reliably and safely. Now, the addition of APM capabilities enables our users to achieve more strategic focus, clarity and vision. Besides reducing the complexity faced by management, this enhancement to AMS Suite helps our users move from reactive states to proactive, strategic and more holistic asset management."
In fact, Harris reports that early adopters of AMS Suite APM report saving $10 million at a gasification plant, $3 million to $5 million at a refinery, and reducing reactive maintenance by 40% at a chemical plant.
In addition, AMS Suite APM adds a key component to the PlantWeb digital plant architecture, enabling plant managers to quickly access integrated information from multiple data sources, view real-time analyses and reports of asset health and availability, and devise management strategies for reaching new levels of performance.
"AMS Suite APM breaks users out of the predictive maintenance cycle trap of simply responding to upcoming problems," Harris said. "Now, they can get to the next level, where they can identify bad acting equipment in their applications and revise maintenance procedures that cause and perpetuate ongoing problems in the first place."
Consequently, plant maintenance and reliability managers receive more integrated, real-time information to determine that maintenance dollars are being spent in the most critical areas for the greatest business return. This extension to AMS Suite easily accesses the predictive information customers are using, and combines this with CMMS/ERP data to deliver an integrated view. The result is that the islands of asset information from across the plant or the enterprise are integrated in a proven solution that helps them make the best decisions for improved asset performance and plant reliability.
AMS Suite APM is the result of a partnership that Emerson formed with Meridium in October 2009.