IT in Manufacturing


Is your company still using paper-based maintenance procedures?

November 2021 IT in Manufacturing

Many companies are moving away from paper-based calibration and certification processes. In order to better manage compliance and calibration services, it is critical to choose a solution with global asset compliance at the core. If the solution is also designed to reduce testing costs, increase productivity and be audit ready with a robust scheduling and testing process, so much the better.

What does a good manufacturing asset and compliance solution look like?

All good asset and calibration compliance solutions connect best-in-class operational technology (OT) solutions with the latest in IT technology to unlock trapped value in operations and leverage the true potential of the IIoT, from connected products to edge control, apps, analytics and services.

This enables end-users and their supply chain partners to manage asset testing and calibration activity within the digital platform and allows them to:

• Optimise manufacturing process equipment and the surrounding plant facility.

• Always be prepared for an audit, with instant access to test documentation for all routinely serviced assets.

• Expand to multiple sites.

• Conduct unlimited tests.

• Provide access to multiple users.

• Provide secure long-term data storage.

• Provide a rugged mobility solution for digitised workflow.

Collaborative workflow management provides the following:

Digital collaboration: web-based and mobile app technologies to integrate operations.

Compliance status: actionable insights to optimise compliance testing, applying universal standards across organisations.

Extended organisations: connect to third-party organisations to manage asset testing and compliance requirements.

Digital services platform

A digital services platform improves calibration and maintenance efficiency in a production environment by:

Minimising testing costs – data collection is simplified through centralised test and compliance management planning and performing of tests.

Aiding the regulatory compliance process – be prepared for an audit and help reduce audit preparation time with onsite certificate retrieval via a QR code and historical data maintained at asset level. Manage asset compliance with real-time asset status, visible across the organisation.

Optimising test productivity: minimise mistakes and retesting costs with a dedicated digital workflow and prescriptive work instructions. Avoid production disruptions and downtime by efficiently managing complex test schedules.

Typical certification process

The process starts by planning and assigning a test type to a technician. The test details are sent to their mobile phone or tablet, where the test procedure, such as a calibration workflow is selected. The tests are performed by the technician, the device documents the results and a unique QR label is generated for the asset. A test certificate is produced and printed or uploaded by the mobile app to be stored in the cloud. This provides a digital approval process, with an audit trail.

QR code labelling allows mobile scanning for an instant view of all completed tests in the database, giving an instant compliance status of the whole plant down to each instrument, anywhere in the world. This provides for a quick and easy document retrieval process for audits.

Good solutions enable end-users and their supply chain to transparently manage asset testing and calibration activity, within a digital platform and mobile application. When upgrading from traditional paper-based procedures to a digital compliance Management Solution, this process is automated and replaces error-prone manual steps, typically decreasing time spent on compliance management by 25%, while improving the quality of records.

Do digital compliance solutions integrate?

Most applications provide connection between two or more applications via their APIs, enabling those systems to exchange data. This integration is critical and keeps data in sync, enhances productivity and drives revenue. The workflow is initialised from an ERP and sent to a technician. Once the job task is completed on his/her tablet, it is synchronised over Wi-Fi, or other mobile network and automatically sent for approval. The compliance solution then closes off the job card.

Integration opens a world of data exchange between systems, allowing for analysis and machine learning with predictive algorithms to monitor calibration and drift over time. This can be correlated to running hours derived from devices connected to scada systems, for predictive data analysis and performance reporting on critical equipment and plant.

By creating an overview of equipment faults and breakdowns plus their frequencies and root causes, software analytical tools can be applied that better manage maintenance activities, maintenance intervals, resources, spare parts and costs. The operations-related approach to managing maintenance activities delivers improved KPIs to plant managers.

Interested readers will find video context at https://qrcc.me/r1bz54N5.


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