One of the greatest risks to any business that is highly dependent upon the reliability of their equipment is down time. In manufacturing and oil and gas, downtime seems to be an inevitability that cuts into profits and drives operations managers mad. Absent events of force majeure, most extended outages never need to happen.
Wait! What? Most never need to happen?
Check your stats. How often is downtime related to a predictable parts failure or problem caused by a lack of maintenance? Chances are, these causes show up more often on your ops reports than unpredictable issues like lightning strikes or Bob’s spilled cup of coffee. If only your machines could talk, you could replace that aging motor before it failed and took production down for a day or two with it.
Unlike the family dog, your machines CAN talk. The question is, are you listening? With these three steps, you will not only be listening, but giving your equipment the ability to “self-heal,” or at least order the doctor’s visit.
STEP 1 – LISTEN: By now, you’ve heard the term IoT. If you haven’t already jumped on that bandwagon and purchased “connected” devices, you’ve probably thought, “my equipment isn’t IoT-enabled.” While that may be true, there are still many ways you can listen to your equipment’s heartbeat through means other than expensive monitoring equipment and software. If you’ve been tracking outages, root causes, production levels, etcetera, you may have enough to get started. If you’re already running SCADA or similar control systems, you’ve got this step covered.
STEP 2 – ANALYZE: Now you’ve got mounds of data. SCADA pumps out alerts like candy on Halloween. Cortana Analytics and Power BI give you the ability to filter out the noise and focus in on what matters. You can even distinguish between similar alerts on assets that make money vs. those that don’t. No SCADA? No problem. You still have production data, maintenance and failure histories, right? Now you just need to run the right kind of analytics to help that data talk on behalf of your machines. Technologies such as Microsoft’s Machine Learning, part of Cortana Analytics, gives us the power to predict things such as parts life and potential failures based on data variances that may be virtually invisible to the human eye.
STEP 3 – RESPOND: Great, I have data. It means something. Now I have to wait for Bob out on the floor/in the field to notice and put in a work order. Or do I? Definitely not. In fact, if you have a sales team, you may even have the piece you need to automate work order creation and assignment. The same Microsoft Dynamics that your sales team uses to track accounts and opportunities offers a powerful Field Services app that can tie in to Cortana Analytics and automate everything from requesting the part you need in advance of the failure, to scheduling the work order to get it installed during optimal maintenance windows.
Of course, the unspoken step is engaging the experts at Catapult Systems to put the puzzle pieces together for you. Not only do our teams bring a comprehensive set of technical skills to the table, but we can also provide the kind of industry expertise necessary to ensure you realize the benefits of implementing a self-healing system for your business.
Register for the webinar here.