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Edge Analytics Usher in the Future of Plant Maintenance

by , | Jan 9, 2024 | Digital Transformation, Reliability

Todd Walden

Todd Walden

Public Relations, Advertising & Social Media Consultant

Today’s plant maintenance looks very different from a picture of just 10 or 15 years ago. The tools and strategies that reliability teams have at their disposal have expanded dramatically—from new sensing technologies to comprehensive software solutions to track and trend performance across the enterprise.

What has not changed, however, is that reliability personnel have a lot to do. If anything, today’s workers—frequently in small groups—are trying to do more than ever before and do it over a wider area in a shorter period of time. These teams, Brian Overton explains in his recent article in Hydrocarbon Processing, are using fit-for-purpose edge analytics technologies like the AMS Asset Monitor as part of their strategy to increase productivity and reduce pressure on already limited personnel.

More efficient, less strained personnel

In the wake of COVID, fewer people than expected returned to the workplace. Retirements, retraining, and relocation all took their toll on the industrial workforce, and the small groups of people remaining have been expected to take up the slack. Those teams have options, Brian explains. They can choose to work harder, or they can implement the edge analytics technologies that let them work smarter.

“Today’s teams need to focus their efforts so they are spending less time collecting data, and more time working on assets that might have an anomaly. Edge analytics devices can greatly reduce the amount of time teams need to spend in the field by performing continuous monitoring of assets and generating analytics results and diagnostics right at the source.

Once that data has been collected and analytics have been generated, the edge device sends actionable information directly to reliability and maintenance personnel, at their workstations or via a mobile device. Received alerts identify the issue, the severity, and steps for remediation.”

With intuitive data from AMS Asset Monitor in the palm of their hand, plant personnel can make better, faster decisions. The most common rotating asset failures will be instantly identified, helping them skip right from notification to repair, and giving plenty of warning so they can perform those repairs on their own schedule.

Longer asset lifespans

Ultimately, all technicians want to drive the best and longest performance from the assets they are responsible for. But identifying and diagnosing problems is complex and time consuming, especially when teams can only rely on manual rounds with handheld monitors. When an asset has a problem, the technician must first identify it, which requires traveling to the asset and often being in the right place at the right time. Then they must go back to the shop to analyze the collected data, requiring someone experienced enough to sift through the spectrum and waveforms to properly diagnose what is wrong. Once all of this is done, they can finally start a work order. Across all that time, the asset continues to degrade.

Emerson’s AMS Asset Monitor eliminates the majority of those time-consuming steps, helping the team focus instead on remedying problems. Brian explains,

“Edge analytics devices deliver fast return on investment precisely because they quickly identify critical problems, empowering maintenance and reliability teams to act before those issues become failures. An edge analytics device eliminates the time spent examining assets, the inconsistency of inspection by different personnel, and the time spent analyzing the collected data.

In addition, the high performance of the embedded analytics systems enables the devices to detect and identify issues well before humans could, giving teams far more time to intervene before issues become failures. As a result, teams using edge analytics devices typically find that the realized functional life of their bearings has been extended.”

Not only can teams using edge analytics more quickly solve problems, but in doing so, they help assets last longer, extending the asset’s overall value and increasing the return on investment of their edge analytics solution.

Analytics in action

Companies around the world are empowering their reliability teams with edge analytics to help upskill new personnel and improve decision support to eliminate outages and drive increased performance.

Brian goes into more detail surrounding the benefits of edge analytics devices like the AMS Asset Monitor, including sharing some real-world examples of how edge analytics deliver value. To see the full content, read the article in its entirety over at Hydrocarbon Processing.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.