Asset Management – Using Smart Sensors in a smart way

The majority of new electronic field devices being installed today all have some form diagnostics capability and most of those also have some way of communicating their overall general health to another system that can make use of this information to improve overall plant reliability. This reporting system is typically called an asset management system, however part of the reason for the slower than might be expected adoption of asset management is a definition of “what it is” and “how to install/use/integrate” the system with the larger maintenance practices of a facility.

Asset Management does not ‘come for free’ so there must be some form of economic return. Some industry studies have shown that using hand held systems that are not integrated into a central system have a maximum of 90% accuracy and that as a result after 6 years measurements can be out by up to 30% after six years. What does that mean in lost production?

Like any successful activity or project, it is important to get it started the correct way and not be added as an afterthought and of course not every asset in a facility is equally important or critical. Therefore it is important to have the tools in place at the start of a project when you are doing your P&ID reviews with associated HAZOP’s to rank your measurements and controllers not only for system layout but also for how important it will be to keep the device maintained and operating – how important is or the criticality of the asset. Standards are required to not only define how to access the maintenance (diagnostic data) in a device but also on how to present the relevant data (not all of the 100’s of data points are important for overall system health indicators) to the End User and similarly what are recommended default settings for these parameters.

There is an ISO standard on Asset Management in development; however this activity is focused on the higher levels of the enterprise – typically business systems (think ISO 9000 type of thing) and no one is taking a control system centric look at the issue – until now. Herman Storey has and a few other folks have some ideas on how to change that. Herman, Shannon Foos, myself and a few others are contemplating the proposal of a new ISA standard to do this work however the first hurdle that must be crossed is to confirm sufficient interest from the community at large. So... if you think that this is something that should be done please contact Herman or me and we will add your name to the list that once critical mass is obtained will develop a scope and purpose for this activity.