Over our long history of serving the process industries, we have seen complex, capital-intensive companies optimize design and operations through digital strategies to great benefit.
Optimization has penetrated almost everything — from initial plant and asset design, to the operations management of individual sites and global multi-location systems.
There is one area, however, that continues to elude optimization—asset maintenance.
Maintenance has a stigma as something unpredictable and unmanageable: a necessary evil that can’t be accurately planned for or avoided. The accepted wisdom is that maintenance is a cost center with no path to becoming a value creator.
The price is too high to leave maintenance unaddressed. According to a 2015 ARC Advisory Group report, Proactive Asset Management with IIoT and Analytics, despite the billions of dollars spent yearly on preventative scheduled maintenance, up to 82% of all failures cannot be avoided using traditional preventive and condition-based monitoring maintenance techniques.
Current economic pressures and ever-changing market conditions are driving C-level executives to find additional areas like maintenance to optimize. With organisations already reaping most of the operational excellence benefits available from optimization in design and operations, they need to take a much harder look at asset maintenance.
Thankfully conditions are right—through the wide adoption of sensors and advances in data science and machine learning via the cloud—to develop asset maintenance. This is the science of maintenance and it has the ability to transform this neglected portion of a business into real and sustainable value.
The science of maintenance leverages historical and real-time operational data, that when fed to algorithms, can model the precursors to failure across all assets and systems.
This enables truly accurate and proactive identification of asset vulnerabilities in near real time. The output is a refined set of recommendations that enable engineers and maintenance professionals to act well ahead of any potential impact on individual assets or larger systems.