Modern instruments now go beyond customization and data collection. Each device in the field, be it an analyzer, valve or otherwise, can be programmed to collect larger varieties of data and disseminate it into actionable information. Alerts and device consistency can be constantly measured and updated, automatically collecting data for audits.
The above is the heart of asset management, operating intelligent hardware in a plant to ensure the fastest reaction time and actionable information. In short, optimized asset management provides the following:
- Maintenance which considers the entire life-cycle of an asset
- Real-time diagnostics
- Dissemination of relevant information to different parties in the business
- Central location for information
- Pro-active maintenance
- Extension of equipment life
- Reduced downtime
- Documented asset history
Installing an asset management system has long term benefits, but will require a culture change. Planning is critical because staff and plant engineers act as first responders to any issues in the plant. Decide where all information assembled by assets will be gathered and how it will be collected, making sure desired information lines up with the company mission and goals. With a plan in place, explain to the staff how the system will make their job easier and more efficient. In addition to earning their support, their feedback is crucial for optimization of the asset management strategy.
Collecting data, including asset trends, operating manuals, specification sheets and alert logs, is only half of what asset management provides. The benefits extend to pro-active maintenance that can result in the optimization of the plants as a whole. Devices can be observed by their history, allowing those prone to failure to be identified and dealt with. Every asset in the plant becomes modifiable. This coupled with a pro-active staff creates a culture where operation can be constantly improved and strategies for monetary savings are always active.
With optimally implemented asset management, even plant areas that traditionally have only used up funds, like boiler rooms, become a site of monetary gain. The data provided by the system becomes an asset in itself, to be used as a tool to save money, fuel and energy.
This article was inspired by this Intech article