Putting your asset data to use for condition-based maintenance

By and Jason Steblay | 4 minute read | August 2, 2018

Given the complexity and the mission-critical nature of industrial maintenance, IoT technology alone cannot induce a step-change to condition-based maintenance. However, asset managers can take advantage of maintenance’s focus on continuous improvement to introduce technology that integrates IBM Maximo with existing asset data sources to set their teams on the path to condition-based maintenance with Fluke Connect2Assets.

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to transform asset management through a fundamental shift to condition-based maintenance. Thanks to  connectivity and sensing technology, IoT is already capable of generating enormous troves of asset data.

Yet adoption of IoT is still in the early phases. “Reliability, maintenance and repair have not benefited as much from the collection and usage of cloud-based data. The majority of day-to-day maintenance and monitoring activities remain manual and often reactive, particularly on non-critical equipment” – Honda NA Engineering Lead.

When asked, maintenance teams often cite a lack of time, training, and systems integration as key blockers for this transformative technology.

Why the disconnect?

Given how often training and systems integration are cited, one potential theory is that the application of IoT entails a dizzying array of technology choices — from condition monitoring sensors, industrial automation hardware, connectivity, storage and analytics platforms. For a function that generally avoids dealing with IT, the argument that maintenance is simply overwhelmed with the technology seems plausible.

Industry analysts argue that maintenance culture is the true culprit, implying that the blockers cited above are simply euphemisms for fear of change.

Both arguments overlook the ultimate goal of maintenance: continuous improvement. While not synonymous with innovation, maintenance teams have a long history of adopting new technologies to improve asset value, including:

  • Enterprise asset management (EAM)/computerized maintenance management software (CMMS)
  • Thermal imaging cameras
  • Vibration handheld tools and sensors

Technology alone is not enough

They also ignore the reality of actual work on the shop floor. Unlike other professions affected by digital transformation, maintenance is truly mission-critical. The value of an asset is at stake, but more importantly, human health and safety often depend on the smooth execution of maintenance operations. Mistakes are often unacceptable.

Given the process, asset and human importance of industrial maintenance, technology alone cannot induce a step-change to condition-based maintenance (CBM). However, asset managers can take advantage of maintenance’s focus on continuous improvement to introduce technology that adds asset data to existing workflows to set their teams on the path to CBM.

The evolution from maintenance centricity to asset centricity.

Start by integrating existing asset data into Maximo workflows

A natural starting point is to connect existing maintenance management and asset automations systems. While the proliferation of wireless sensors is enabling maintenance teams to generate data on just about anything, IoT technology also enables them to unlock the value of existing data by breaking down silos.

Building and industrial automation systems that rely on programable logic controllers (“PLCs”) connected through a supervisory, control, and data acquisition (“SCADA”) network—the original industrial internet of things—generate billions of data points each day. Many of these data points provide insight into the health of the asset they manage, including:

  • Cycle counts
  • Runtime hours
  • Fuel consumption
  • Pressure measurements
  • Temperature readings

Incorporating this data into Maximo’s condition monitoring module provides a foundation for moving from basic calendar-based maintenance to CBM which can yield significant benefits, including:

  • Optimized maintenance scheduling eliminates unnecessary work
  • Save time and resources by eliminating manual/route-based data collection
  • Depreciate assets based on actual use
  • Nondisruptive: Works within an existing work order system to ensure that maintenance teams don’t miss a beat.

Ease of implementation and real-world ROI

Most organizations already have the data points they need in their automation or building-management system. Rather than ‘sensoring-up’ assets which can be an expensive proposition, maintenance teams only need to identify key data points to begin influencing maintenance scheduling.

Integrating asset data into the systems that manage maintenance schedules and activities also provides a rapid ROI. One pharmaceutical company started to measure the air pressure differential on two sides of their HEPA-filters. By only changing the filters when the sensors showed a certain level of pressure drop, they saved $350,000 in one year. Honda also experienced 30% improvement of its mean time to repair by leveraging SCADA data in Maximo.

In addition to CBM, Honda North America leverages asset data from its SCADA system to streamline reactive maintenance. Spanning more than 10 football fields in length, its Marysville assembly is one of the most complex manufacturing sites in the world.  This severely challenges response times. By connecting its automation system to Maximo, Honda now notifies maintenance with the exact location within 6 seconds of a failure.

Fluke Connect2Assets, formerly SCHAD Automatic Meter Reading, makes it easy to get started with condition-based maintenance by automatically transmitting asset data from SCADA/PLC systems to Maximo’s condition monitoring module. From there, asset data can be used to trigger work orders based on your existing rules and job plans.

Connect2Assets also provides an extendable platform for your CBM strategy. In the near future, it will integrate additional data streams from the Fluke Connect portfolio of wireless sensors and test tools, including its soon-to-launch vibration sensor, to enrich Maximo with even more asset data. It has also been extended to Watson’s IoT Connections platform, enabling maintenance teams to leverage real-time condition data to generate asset health insights. 

Making the shift to condition-based maintenance

Fluke Connect2Assets incorporates real-time asset data into Maximo workflows by linking it with the underlying equipment it manages. By incorporating asset data into existing workflows, Maximo users can ensure a seamless shift from basic calendar-based to condition-based maintenance.

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