In industrial plant building projects, there are typically 3 major phases : 1) engineering, 2) construction & commissioning and 3) operational activities. In this article, a digitalized work process is described to optimize these 3 phases to create the lowest total cost of engineering for the plant engineers, as well as for the total cost of ownership for the plant operator.
This digitalized work process approach is further illustrated by an example of a recent green-field project in a chemical plant.
During the engineering phase, a digital twin is created of all assets in the project, even before the physical devices are produced. The objective is to start a document trail, which will be enhanced and enriched in the further phases of the project. This will be achieved by linking engineering documents like spec-sheets and manuals of the instruments in the field? These are available in and from a central cloud-based library, digitally connected and always up-to-date. This avoids transfer of incomplete or even incorrect information when going from one project phase to the next.
Using a smart or agile commissioning approach, supported by a universal mobile maintenance tool, commissioning times shorter by up to 30% can be achieved, compared to the conventional approach. No more losing time running around in the plant. Or losing time looking for the needed settings of a device. No need for acrobatic service engineers to reach the devices.
All, time savings and risk reductions during commissioning, because the right decisions were made during engineering. This is a major cost reducing factor, followed by a faster time to production thus a faster time to market!
Additionally, we enrich the document trail during commissioning : parameter setting reports, verification and loop-test reports, all generated onsite, automatically and immediately attached to the digital twin of each and every asset !
During plant operations, the enriched digital twin and the attached documenttrail in the cloud-based database is then used by service engineers, to achieve faster and more effective service interventions. Market research shows that almost 50% of time spent by service engineers goes into finding correct information and documents.
As a plant operator, you can continue using and enriching this document database, by adding service, inspection and calibration reports automatically to the digital twins.
This document trail is leading to a traceable and “audit-ready” state. A peace-of-mind state !
The above described approach is based on the use of “smart” instruments, running auto-diagnostics, triggering early warnings (out-of-spec, corrosion, build-up, … ). As a plant operator, you can now decide how to show & use these warnings to make sure your process is more robust than ever before.
In terms of physical connectivity, the asset is connected to its could-based digital twin by means of gateways and edge devices. IT-security is well under control and protected according to ISO standards… so don’t be alarmed by this important aspect of cloud-based services !
A connected plant will :
- Increase day-to-day maintenance activity performance and effectiveness
- Allow for condition-based maintenance… by launching smart maintenance alerts
- Activate predictive maintenance strategies… using cloud-based services, cloud computing based on intelligent algorithms, AI…
Even if you are currently not involved in a new project, and you are occupied in the daily operations of your plant, optimizing your maintenance is always possible ! The above described steps can be applied in any phase and at any time !
In preparation, you may ask yourself some questions :
- Which assets in my project or in my factory are critical for the business of my company ? Consider production-assets, as well as quality or safety-related assets ?
- How is my current maintenance department organized ? Or how should it be organized to be more effective ?
- The deployment of digitalized, cloud-based services often has an impact on standing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s). What does that mean in my case?
- How can the different stakeholders in my company (Maintenance, Operations, Quality, Reliability,…) monitor the performance of the processes ?
- How am I informed about the status and the reliability of the critical assets in my processes ?
- What are my challenges to improve the fitness of our processes and equipment?
- How do we or will we prove that we take precautionary actions ? How do we, or can we trace this?
- What would be the consequence of non-conformities during an audit, for the continuity of the business ? What actions do we need to take to avoid such a situation ?
Interesting questions !
We are interested in how you work and would like to share our know-how with you ! Do you want to know more about the Maintenance Optimization offering of Endress+Hauser ?
Please feel free to contact us ! We are happy to support you during any phase of your process !