Plant Reliability and the Industrial Internet of Things

Tools and methodologies to improve plant reliability have existed for many years. Examples include criticality analysis, reliability-centered maintenance analysis (RCMA), failure modes, effects, and diagnostic analysis (FMEDA) and root cause failure analysis (RCFA) to name a few.

Emerson's Bruce Hawkins


Emerson's Scott Bruni


In a Plant Services article, Seize the IIoT in just 3 steps, Emerson’s Bruce Hawkins and independent consultant Scott Bruni describe how process manufacturers and producers can plan for incorporating these additional Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) measurements to provide the data required for these sophisticated types of analyses.

Plant Services: Seize the IIoT in Just 3 StepsMuch of the instrumentation in plants is required for process control, process safety and optimization

Until wireless instrumentation became available several years ago, it was often difficult to add instrumentation for asset monitoring, personnel safety and other non-control applications.

Bruce and Scott note that that some instrumentation exists for equipment monitoring.

Our experience setting up equipment health monitoring solutions would suggest that roughly 60% of the instrumentation needed for critical assets already exists. So we can start there.

The first step is having a good understanding of what is already in place.

A solid inventory will give you a head start with prioritizing new needs and identifying where legacy instrumentation investment supports the future vision.

This can be easier said than done if a good change management system has not been in place over the years.

It may well require physically walking down the complete asset base to document what you have. The good news is that there is a pretty strong business case (even without the IIoT benefits) for doing this work. According to our research and Doc Palmer, average wrench time in industrial settings falls between 25% and 35%. Effective planning and scheduling facilitated by quality asset master data can increase this to as high as 65%.

The next step is to understand how each of the assets drives value.

…there are proven approaches, based on reliability best practices, to help you develop the needed appreciation of how your assets impact value. These are criticality analysis and development, reliability-centered maintenance analysis (RCMA), failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), and root cause failure analysis (RCFA).

Read the article for more on step 3 of how to build your plan and business case and how to consider not only the technology required to achieve improvements in reliability, but also the need to redesign processes, skills required and organizational structures to fully achieve the returns identified in your business case.

You can connect and interact with other reliability and maintenance experts in the Reliability & Maintenance group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.