classic | mobile


SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide


From the editor's desk: Prescriptive maintenance drives top performance
Technews Industry Guide: Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation 2017, News

The interconnectedness of the IIoT has changed the traditional inspection-based approach to plant maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). But, since every plant is still different, their MRO requirements will also still be different. This Industry Guide serves as a reference point to the many different approaches and technologies that are now available for equipment condition monitoring and the concepts of reliability centred maintenance. We hope there are ideas in here that may help to solve a problem you could be struggling with in your own particular plant.

The objective remains to keep the plant running at optimal efficiency, but now secure in the knowledge that a breakdown is not about to happen suddenly and with no warning. The answer lies in the techniques of continuous data harvesting, followed by information analysis performed against a known ‘healthy’ digital signature of that particular equipment. Any significant difference triggers an early warning of deterioration, giving ample time to switch over to a standby, pump for arguments sake, while the primary is taken out of service for repair.

The question for the maintenance manager now is which plant operations would benefit the most from continuous monitoring? Or in other words, which equipment is most critical to overall business effectiveness?

Once the crucial areas have been identified, then the decision must be taken as to whether the monitoring can be achieved via the plant’s current automation platforms, or whether it has to be separate. Once this is known, it must then be decided whether the systems can be run and managed in-house, or whether it makes better business sense to outsource this to a specialist third-party service operation, which taps into the facility through a (hopefully) secure Internet connection.

What are the options?

For some of the obvious problems that occur across most large plants, no matter what the specific industry might be, many suppliers have a range of off-the-shelf solutions available. Monitoring of steam traps or compressed airlines are good examples, since leaks on either can become costly over time. Ultrasonic sensors are available to detect jammed or leaking steam traps, and their built-in wireless transmitters eliminate the need for lengthy retrofit cable runs around the facility. Often these are fitted with a temperature sensor as well, and when both the noise and temperature levels rise synchronously, a warning is sent over the wireless network to the control room identifying the exact location of the leak. (See ‘Compressed air leak detection and quality management’ for more on ultrasonic leak detection for compressed air lines.)

Another area where advance warning of wear problems is a benefit is in the condition of bearings on heavy duty rotating machinery like pumps, fans and centrifuges. With a sensor on the outside of the bearing housing, any abnormal vibration velocity can indicate shaft bearing deterioration. The bearing manufacturers themselves, such as SKF, provide simple alarm systems, as well as multi-sensor monitoring for large pieces of equipment like wind turbines, all backed by their bearing know-how. Some machines might deserve continuous monitoring, but there are also wireless (self-powered) versions of these sensors that can be moved around the plant as necessary. (See ‘SKF Life Cycle Management’ for more on SKF’s approach to effective asset management.)

Today’s condition monitoring systems combined with the most advanced analytics packages ever devised, enable industrial organisations to implement new, more effective maintenance strategies that advance them from the preventative and reactive strategies of the past, to modern condition-based prescriptive maintenance on demand, and only when required.

According to the ARC Advisory Group’s Ralph Rio (‘Advanced maintenance maturity model increases reliability, reduces costs’), “Higher levels of maintenance maturity yield business benefits that go beyond just reducing the cost of the maintenance itself. These include improvements in on-time shipments, customer satisfaction, quality and production yield, safety, work-in-progress inventory, and ultimately, revenue generation.”

Whatever the unique requirements of your plant, we trust the extensive list of suppliers and services at the end of this publication will help you to identify the right partner for an MRO strategy that moves your organisation closer to top quartile performance and the benefits that accrue to those at the top of the pile.

Steven Meyer

Editor: SA Instrumentation & Control

Supplied By: Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control)
Tel: +27 11 543 5800
Fax: +27 11 787 8052
Share via email     Share via LinkedIn   Print this page

Further reading:

  • From the editor's desk: Rockwell Automation delivers technology and more at Houston Fair
    January 2018, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control), News
    When Rockwell Automation CEO Blake Moret addressed the media at the opening press event of the 2017 Automation Fair in Houston, Texas, he chose not to dwell on annual reports or the recent run-up in the ...
  • First autonomous shuttle in dowtown Las Vegas
    January 2018, News
    The American Automobile Association, in partnership with Keolis, a world leader in public transport operations, announced bringing the future of transportation to America by sponsoring the nation’s first ...
  • Rockwell Automation hosts graduation ceremony for newly-skilled veterans at the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing
    January 2018, Rockwell Automation, News
    ManpowerGroup and Rockwell Automation recently celebrated the first military veterans to graduate from the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing and secure high-paying jobs in the rapidly-evolving manufacturing ...
  • ABB boosts Iceland’s electric vehicle infrastructure with 15 new fast chargers
    January 2018, ABB South Africa, News
    ON Power, a part of Reykjavik Energy, has signed a contract with ABB for the delivery and installation of 15 Terra multi-standard DC chargers at various points along Iceland’s main highway. Today there ...
  • Thousands convene in Houston to learn about the latest automation technology
    January 2018, Rockwell Automation, News
    Thousands of industrial professionals recently convened in Houston for the Automation Fair event to learn more about the latest advanced manufacturing technologies shaping the industry, and the automation ...
  • Endress+Hauser inaugurates new campus in Lyon
    January 2018, Endress+Hauser, News
    Endress+Hauser has invested €4.9 million in a new building in Lyon, France. As well as 25 sales and service employees from Endress+Hauser, nine employees from the European headquarters of Kaiser Optical ...
  • Bosch Projects upgrades shiploaders at Durban harbour
    January 2018, News
    Bosch Projects recently completed the upgrade of two shiploaders at Durban harbour, which have been used for over 50 years to load sugar onto vessels at the South African Sugar Association’s iconic terminal. The ...
  • Hytec engineers a new qualification
    January 2018, News
    The Hytec Group has become South Africa’s first company to receive full accreditation as a training provider to qualify fluid power fitters. The company received full accreditation with programme approval ...
  • A conference to remember
    January 2018, MESA Africa NPC, News
    At the ninth annual conference of the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) held recently at the Black Eagle conference centre, the theme was manufacturing solutions for the digital revolution: ...
  • SA innovator to introduce solutions at US IoT expo
    January 2018, IoT.nxt, News
    Award-winning South African Internet of Things company IoT.nxt will introduce the US tech market to its ground-breaking technology and solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things at the IoT Tech Expo ...
  • M&C refurbish massive mill motor for Zimbabwe gold mine
    January 2018, News
    The largest AC electric motor operating in Zimbabwe drives a reduction mill, and this synchronous motor was recently refurbished by leading rotating machinery repairer, Marthinusen & Coutts. Estimated ...
  • Saaris in South Africa – a promising entry into African markets
    January 2018, SICK Automation Southern Africa, News
    Members of the Saaris community (Saarland, innovation & standards), a regional German development agency supported and funded by the Saarland government, visited South Africa on a five-day visit to improve ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.