Here at Emerson, we’ve been talking a lot lately about boundless automation. At first glance, that term can sound somewhat scary. After all, if the solutions are boundless, where does one even begin? However, while a boundless automation future does imply a wide range of choices in technologies, software, equipment, and architectures, it also helps develop the roadmap to help operations teams best apply those solutions. That roadmap is a key element of Erik Lindhjem’s recent article in Efficient Plant magazine, where he lays out three key strategies reliability teams can follow to help improve condition monitoring in their facilities.
Erik shares that one of the best places to start increasing visibility in the plant to improve reliability is with wireless sensors. With today’s staffing shortages, sensing devices have become the eyes and ears of the plant. Tight budgets and limited personnel mean those systems cannot be expensive or complex to install. But with modern, best-in-class sensing options, that concern is no longer a problem. Erik explains,
“Fortunately, today’s most efficient sensors pack expansive functionality into a compact, cost-effective package. Sensors smaller than a soda can deliver comprehensive vibration data over self-organizing wireless mesh networks.”
Some of the best sensors on the market, like Emerson’s AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor, fit that description perfectly. They are small and inexpensive enough to install all over the plant. Moreover, they can be put in place by the plant’s existing workforce in minutes.
Do more with less
Not only are today’s plants operating with fewer people, but those people often have less experience than the many people who have retired over the last decade. Having fewer people makes it very hard to regularly and comprehensively collect necessary equipment health data from the plant using manual rounds. People often get distracted by other tasks, letting manual routes fall behind. And when they do collect all the necessary data, newer reliability personnel often do not have the experience necessary to decode the complex spectrum and waveform data that provide insights into facility health.
Fortunately, Erik explains, plants can now invest in equipment that automatically collects all necessary data and translates it, closing the gap between a plant’s most and least experienced personnel.
“Many reliability teams are selecting software that turns data into simple reports. Equipment health is identified by color—green, yellow, or red based on severity of defects—so a person with little or no analytics experience can quickly determine whether to act.”
Partner with the best
In those situations where a reliability issue goes beyond the capabilities or time available to a plant’s personnel, many forward-thinking plants seek assistance from expert automation providers. Emerson has a team of dedicated ISO 18436-2 category 3 and above certified professional analysts ready to help guide reliability teams through any problem. They can provide monitoring and interpretation of data from installed sensors, and guide plant personnel through the steps necessary to solve problems.
To learn more about strategies to get more from your condition monitoring solutions, you can read the article in full at Efficient Plant. You can also visit Emerson’s condition monitoring page for more tips and insights.