Some people equate Condition Monitoring to the way we monitor the condition of the human body. We use blood tests, blood pressure, body temperature and other measures to know our condition from a health perspective and we do the same with industrial machinery and equipment.
Condition monitoring is the measurement of certain parameters on equipment to note changes or warnings that may indicate impending failure. These checks include machine vibrations, oil condition and bearing temperature. Many consider condition monitoring critical to optimizing the lifespan of specific equipment, as it helps to detect defects before they result in devastating failures.
These checks are also essential to business continuity. Condition monitoring ensures that your machines remain functional, so that production doesn’t break down and impede operations. According to a 2017 survey, up to 70% of companies are completely unaware of the appropriate time to maintain or replace equipment.
Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance follow similar lines of operation and purpose and are often interchangeable. However, the former precedes the latter. You must have the data provided by condition monitoring to even begin to predict machine failures.
The four types of generally accepted maintenance philosophies are as follows:
Condition Monitoring gives the user data that can be turned into Actionable Information that can positively affect each of these maintenance philosophies:
In order to optimize the maintenance activity, you have to capture big data from plant equipment and machinery. True predictive maintenance happens when intelligence is captured for long periods of time from your machinery. Data is collected, intelligence is captured, and over time, AI (Artificial Intelligence) steps into the predictive maintenance process to begin providing alerts and notification on predicting when maintenance should occur to eliminate failure and downtime.
All industries use Condition Monitoring because almost all machines rotate, have lubrication and use electricity. Thus, we have condition indicators that can be monitored in every plant and every process.
The following industries are driving the growth of condition monitoring solutions:
However, some of the biggest impacts happen in industries that have constrained capacity. This means they can sell all the products they can make. Current examples include:
These industries may not always have constrained capacity. As market conditions ebb and flow, companies need to be able to maximize their return on the opportunities, as they arise. Some industries, even when not experiencing constrained capacity, use condition monitoring regularly. Typically this is because of the nature of the process used to make their products.
Some processes experience high costs if there is any upset to it, or unplanned downtime. In other words, these processes are expensive to start and stop. Their machines need to run reliably for a fixed and planned period of time.
And, finally, you see condition monitoring used in industries where timeliness of delivery is crucial. Industries where the process has to operate flawlessly for a few hours each day to meet some time constraint can benefit from condition monitoring
Such industries include:
Condition monitoring is vital to every machine, but do you know what’s more essential? Teaming up with a capable solution partner.
Often, companies make the mistake of jumping at any condition monitoring solution that others may be utilizing or they have heard of, without performing proper due diligence. Impromptu decision-making can be disastrous in the long run. Why? The condition monitoring solution chosen must provide results that align with the overall strategy of the plant. For example, if a customer doesn’t have the expertise needed to analyze vibration data, the wrong condition monitoring solution could be a waste of money. Finding a supplier who can do all the analysis and provide actionable information in a timely manner would be a solid choice. Or, partnering with a Condition Monitoring supplier who can provide all the analysis up- front and a comprehensive training plan to build the proper in-house skills for plant personnel in the long run would be an effective choice.
As such, it’s highly advisable to work with a proven condition monitoring solutions partner in the industry. Rely upon a provider with inventive solutions to the challenges facing industry-specific machinery and the overall environment. To help you select a capable solution, you may consider the following components when searching for a successful turnkey condition monitoring solution:
A seamless production flow is critical to the success of every plant, and companies can only achieve such with a well-functioning condition monitoring program that enables them to proactively tackle challenges. Plants without an advanced condition monitoring solution and process in place to detect machine problems are more likely to cause production downtime, and when they do, the consequences can be disastrous.
ARC Advisory Group commissioned research in key performance metrics and indicators industry by focusing on end users, system integrators, consultants, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and others.
They all agreed that downtime costs, on average, have been immensely underestimated. Figures recognized can be much higher in some instances. For example in the petrochemical industry it is estimated that unplanned downtime costs $10-$20 billion per year alone.
In essence, production breakdown can be damaging to a company. A company may lose 5 to 20% of its productivity during its downtime. Therefore, companies must pay intense attention to condition monitoring to prevent the phenomenon. What else?
Companies must partner with capable solutions providers in the industry. Doing so will save them the shock of unexpected downtimes and assure them of hitch-free production flows. In the end, the company reaps the rewards of selecting the right condition monitoring solutions partner. Prices may differ according to the quality of these systems, but better secure a capable solution at a high price now than settle for less with costlier consequences over the years.