What is CBM?
Condition-based maintenance (CBM) is often seen as an extension of predictive maintenance (PdM). PdM utilizes some form of technology to detect equipment problems as they are developing and is accomplished through the trending and analysis of equipment condition parameters like vibration, temperature, pressure, flow, speed, voltage/current, sonics, particulate count, oil analysis, etc.
With CBM, the state of the equipment is observed and monitored continually (condition monitoring) on a real-time basis. Deviations from a standard range or tolerance will cause some form of alarm and identification of the need for a maintenance intervention. The ultimate goal is to intervene only when maintenance is actually necessary to prevent a failure from occurring as far along the time axis of the failure curve as possible.
The advantages of a CBM approach are:
- Improved system reliability.
- Reduced quantity and severity of in-service equipment failures.
- Decreased maintenance costs by focusing resources on executing the right things, minimizing spare part costs and reducing system downtime.
- Improved operational safety.
- Decreased number of maintenance operations, resulting in a reduction of human error influences.
Why CBM Adoption Has Been Slow?
Despite the clear value benefits, the implementation and adoption of CBM solutions has been slow largely because of the following:
- The high initial cost of installation associated with the need for investment in instrumentation and monitoring equipment on assets, particularly those that are already in service. The CBM installation itself also increases the number of components that need maintenance and checking. As a result, initial CBM solutions have tended to be concentrated only on a single type of monitoring, like vibration, or a single class of asset, like heavy rotating equipment.
- The technical challenge of capturing detailed monitoring data and converting this data into meaningful information and knowledge about equipment health, and providing the basis for defining required maintenance events and actions.
- The required level of maintenance organizational and process change that is always difficult to justify and deliver within the enterprise.
SAP Centric Solutions - What Will Favorably Impact Speed of CBM Adoption?
A number of process, technology and organizational conditions are merging that should have a positive impact on the speed of implementing/ adopting CBM solutions and driving real performance improvement.
The ‘foundation’ is slowly getting in place
No CBM solution can succeed without having many of the enterprise asset management (EAM) fundamentals in place. While there is a long way to go to get the basics right in many industries and companies, the level of maturity in the following elements has generally reached a point where consideration and extension to a more CBM approach currently makes sense:
- Master data definition and standards;
- Critical assets definition;
- Work management process standardization;
- Planning and scheduling process standardization;
- Organizational structure;
- Adoption of EAM software and technology (implementation and integration).
SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (Mii)
This SAP provided toolkit is unique due to the extent of features in a single application development platform that is focused on the plant operations environment. Built for rapid development of specialized applications, it provides universal, real-time data connectivity from SAP ECC to a large variety of industrial systems and applications (OSIsoft Pi, distributed control systems, SCADA, automation systems, monitoring applications, etc.), and a hybrid of many different features found in application development tools.
Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) Applications
It is now possible to find applications based on Mii that are designed to simplify the acquisition, analysis, monitoring and use of equipment and condition data from all industrial application and operational systems. They can be set up very quickly, providing full integration and seamless connectivity supporting the maintenance strategies implemented in SAP plant maintenance and thereby directly impacting the maintenance planning and maintenance execution processes.
These applications provide the following capabilities to enhance the CBM process:
- SAP integration and processing rules;
- Role-based, user-interface screens;
- Master data download and entry;
- Standard processing rules and custom rule templates that can automate and initiate:
- Condition-based alerts and actions,
- Notification and work order creation,
- Work order creation using task lists,
- Condition- and counter-based measurement points.
- Streamlined, wizard-based configuration process that accelerates data capture and processing;
- Schedule-based data acquisition processes;
- Alert management, including email and texting;
- User interfaces for manual data capture where automated systems aren’t available.
Availability of Unique, Non-Intrusive Asset Monitoring Tools
Proven solutions appear to be coming on the market that will make a large impact on the capture of intelligent data at the plant level. One such equipment monitoring solution from Veros Systems is applicable to all electrically-driven equipment and provides an inferential and accurate indication of asset health derived from voltage and current signal waveform analysis. It detects the root cause (from a number of electrical and mechanical fault categories) and enables true prediction of failure. This intelligent system, developed and extensively tested over many years, provides a non-intrusive approach that should significantly impact condition monitoring installation costs and, as a scalable tool, should provide a high value/low cost integrated SAP offering that expands the number and class of assets covered within an end-to-end CBM solution. The technology also has the added benefit of helping to manage energy usage by assessing power quality, energy consumption and energy efficiency.
It is clear that the technology advancements outlined above, coupled with ever-maturing SAP EAM customer environments, will provide an impetus for companies to really consider and evaluate the financial impact of adopting more predictive and condition-based approaches to maintenance. By undertaking such CBM pilot programs, it should be possible to readily measure the effect and evaluate the impact on key company performance measures. In addition, there is an ever-increasing speed of technology solutions being brought to market. Within the SAP suite of products, this includes tools that can analyze large quantities of data and quickly share information (e.g., HANA, Syclo, etc.).
The major challenge to really impacting the adoption of CBM will not so much be a technical one, but a process and organizational one where developing an enterprise-wide approach and strategy will require groups from operations, engineering, maintenance and information technology to break down existing system and data boundaries and look at integration on a more extensive and advanced level than ever before.
Gus McIntosh is Partner and President of Vesta USA. He has over 16 years of professional services business experience developing and delivering EAM and related solutions. He has 28 years of industry experience working in the Energy, Oil/Gas, Chemical, Manufacturing and Transportation sectors. www.vestapartners.com