If there is one thing the experts I work with talk about all the time, it is data.
Plants need data.
Plants have too much data.
Data is siloed.
Data is the future.
There is really only one constant: data is critical to reliable, efficient operations, but it must be handled properly to be of use.
Fortunately, some of the experts out there, like Emerson’s Monil Malhotra, have great ideas how to make this happen. In a recent article in Processing magazine, Monil shared how industrial software is the key to turning data into better plant performance.
Free the data
First, Monil explains, we have to rescue our data. The first barrier to data use is physical. As Monil shares,
“Process manufacturing plants can be large and contain numerous hazardous areas. These physical barriers increase the time and planning it takes to collect data. If it takes an hour or more to drive out to an asset to inspect it with a handheld analyzer, the asset is likely to be checked infrequently, if at all. Or if it takes an hour to get the gear and safety checks done to enter a hazardous area to check an asset, it is similarly unlikely to happen regularly.”
So, what are plants to do to avoid missing data? The answer, Monil explains, is to move away from manual collection altogether. Today’s powerful supervisory control and data acquisition software solutions are designed to connect to pervasive sensing technologies that deliver critical data in real-time directly from the field. Once that data is coming in with regularity, teams can use it in the industrial software solutions that will elicit real change.
Leverage comprehensive data into better maintenance
The data coming in from pervasive sensing equipment is the perfect foundation for an analytics program using reliability tools driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). AI and ML tools can compile, compare, and analyze the hundreds or thousands of different variables coming in from a plant’s sensors to create a holistic picture of plant health. Not only will a team using these tools know when an asset is failing, but they will also have a clearer picture of how that failure impacts other equipment and processes down the line. Savvy operations and maintenance teams use these strategies to keep a finger on the pulse of plant health to drive more efficient, effective operations while eliminating unexpected downtime. Monil explains,
“Armed with accurate data about when and how failures will occur and how to address each issue, even inexperienced personnel can create maintenance schedules based on planned outages. And in the plants lucky enough to still have technicians with decades of experience, analytics software will identify problems long before human senses can detect them, providing far more lead time to perform repairs. In addition, analytics software can also help with scheduling maintenance. Using its AI and ML engines, the software can examine multiple assets with identified problems, and then create a schedule combining repair events in the ideal order to result in minimum loss of revenue.”
Make the most of technology
Sensing technologies like Emerson’s AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor and AMS Asset Monitor are easier to install and more affordable than ever. And those same solutions feed into powerful, user-friendly industrial software solutions like AMS Machine Works to provide everyone in the plant a clear, real-time picture of their process health. It’s time to start moving away from manual rounds that never get finished, or that dump data into a bottomless pit, never to be seen again. Today’s industrial software solutions are more versatile and nimbler than ever, helping every team, regardless of experience level, perform at their best.
To learn more, including how simulation and safety tools are revolutionizing plant health, read Monil’s article in its entirety over at Processing magazine.