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I don't turn my heat on every Tuesday, just when it's cold (Using Maximo meters to drive your maintenance program)

Technical Blog Post


I don't turn my heat on every Tuesday, just when it's cold (Using Maximo meters to drive your maintenance program)


Most of you are probably aware that Maximo has meters, and you can attach meters to assets and locations to drive your maintenance processes.  Since I’ve been getting a number of questions lately regarding the use of meters, I thought I’d take a few minutes and explain how they are used in Maximo and how they can provide you with a basis for your Preventive and Predictive Maintenance programs.

 First let me clarify that Maximo meters are not actually physical meters.  When I attach a ‘Run Hours’ meter to an asset, it is simply a placeholder where I can enter my run hour readings and track the history of those readings.  If you maintain a physical meter, such as a gas or electric meters, you would create that physical meter as an asset in Maximo.  Those requiring more advanced meter capability, such as support for smart meters, should look at Maximo for Utilities.  But let’s get back to the topic at hand.   There are three types of meters in Maximo:

  1. Continuous
  2. Gauge
  3. Characteristic

 Continuous meters are counters.  We all have a continuous meter in our cars, in the form of an odometer.  Continuous meters increase in value and, just like an odometer; they often have a rollover point.  Continuous meters are typically used to drive preventive maintenance tasks based on manufacturer recommendations, such as changing your oil every 7500 miles (1200 km). 

 Gauge meters fluctuate, like the thermostat in your home.  Classic gauge meters include temperature, pressure, and vibration.  Each of these are conditions, thus the term condition monitoring.  Monitoring the conditions of our assets will allow us to see if the performance of the asset is degrading and could possibly fail.  Thus, we are trying to predict when the asset will fail prior to actually failing.

 Characteristic meters are user defined.  You create a domain (list of values) and link it to a meter.  When you enter a reading, instead of entering a number, you select one of the predefined values from your list.  This is quite powerful because you can create a list of standard observations, and use characteristic meters to support inspections.


Moving from Preventive to Predictive Maintenance

 Preventive Maintenance in Maximo is a schedule based on time and/or one or more continuous meters.  You enter a frequency (I want to change my oil every 7500 miles) and add the asset you want to maintain (your car).  You enter odometer readings on a regular basis, and when the reading is equal to or greater than 7500, Maximo will generate a work order.

 Unfortunately,  Maximo did not always maintain meter reading history, so work orders were generated based on an average meter reading per day calculation.  It was basically an estimate.  Now that we have meter reading history – there is no need to estimate unless you are creating a forecast.  It’s also important to state that if you do not take regular meter readings, then you will not achieve regular results.  That’s why manufacturers typically provide an option – 7500 miles or once a year.  That way – if you forget to enter your odometer readings, you can still generate a work order once a year.

 For the record: In 2010, 14 of 35 carmakers were already installing oil life monitoring systems to notify the driver when the oil needed to be changed.  And you probably thought you still needed to change your oil every 3,000 miles.  Think of the cost savings?  And what if we applied that type of thinking to our operational assets?

 Predictive Maintenance in Maximo is partially supported by the Condition Monitoring application.  I say partially, since many users are leveraging other tools, from IBM ILOG to Cognos to IBM SPSS to enhance their predictive maintenance capabilities.

 The Condition Monitoring application in Maximo is driven by gauge and characteristic meters.  For gauge meters, you can attach high and low thresholds and trigger work orders should they be surpassed.  The thermostat in your home probably has an upper threshold – which triggers the cooling system, and a lower threshold – which triggers the heat.  In much the same way – Maximo can use high/low triggers to generate work orders so that corrective action can be taken.  Some customers are linking external sensors to gauge meters, allowing them to directly generate work orders based on readings and reducing the risk of failure.

 For characteristic meters, a unique action can be attached to each observation.  Let’s say that a track inspector must look for any bad ties (sleepers or wood/cement cross members) and report them.  We can create a meter called ‘Bad Tie’, and enter values for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.  In condition monitoring, we can link a ‘Reduce Speed to 45 mph’ to the 4, and a ‘Reduce Speed to 30’ to the 5.  If the inspector finds 4 bad ties, then a work order will be generated to reduce the speed to 45.  So, in this case, we are taking action based on the condition of an asset, instead of simply waiting for the asset to fail.


What you need to know

 Meters in Maximo are very powerful.  Continuous meters can help you get the most from your assets by keeping track of usage and driving preventive.  Where possible, use exact meter readings (in lieu of averages) to ensure accuracy.  Averages are only estimates, and estimates are only good for forecasts.  Gauge meters will track changes in asset condition and characteristic meters can be used to record observations.  Both gauge and characteristic meters will allow you to move from preventive to predictive maintenance by generating work orders based on condition - not based on a schedule.  Remember, it’s easy to maintain with meters!


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