This month we have a great article on remote optimization from our remote experts in Baden, Switzerland. They will take a closer look at how to improve operations and maintenance utilizing remote optimization techniques. Here is the first of five installments. I hope you enjoy them.
Early diagnosis of equipment problems and optimization of maintenance and operations are elements that are essential for efficient operation of plants in the power and water industries.
Plant managers are expected to maximize output while keeping costs at a minimum. Some may be tempted to sacrifice maintenance expenditures for an immediate improvement in profitability, but this strategy can adversely affect longer-term profitability: Spending less on maintenance degrades equipment, which leads to poorer performance and, ultimately, to reduced productivity and product quality. The inverse strategy yields the inverse result: increased production and improved quality. A purely reactive approach to service should be replaced by one that properly balances reactive and proactive behavior.
Stepwise optimization process
Companies in the power and water industries increasingly expect remote services that supplement internal and contractor on-site support and improve the effectiveness of their operation and maintenance programs. Remote services provide expertise to the customer in a cost-effective and efficient way. Having these services available 24/7 is very beneficial to customers who are facing the dual challenge of a lack of expertise and rapidly advancing technology.
Remote service involves a three-step optimization process. It usually begins with experts visiting the customer site to become familiar with the plant and the unique characteristics of the process. Data is collected so that an initial assessment can be performed and process problems identified. Then a root cause analysis is carried out and recommendations for corrective actions are made to the customer. Once the improvement recommendations have been implemented, subsequent periodic audits are performed to make certain that the desired results have been achieved and to ensure continuous improvement. Data for subsequent assessments is gathered automatically by data collection tools or with the assistance of field service personnel. Experts remotely analyze the data and provide status reports containing additional corrective action recommendations that will sustain the process improvements achieved and enable future improvements to be made.
This process can be summarized as follows:
– Diagnose: Identify existing system reliability issues.
− Implement: Deliver identified improvement services.
− Sustain: Manage and continue the improvement process.
The next installment will explore the uses of remote for technical support, FAT and training, so check back soon for more. Please let us know what you think and share your experiences on this topic.