Operators, around the world, are constantly seeking ways to maximize asset output while maintaining asset integrity in a cost-effective manner. In this context, the concept of asset integrity management (AIM) becomes relevant. The objective of AIM is to ensure that assets deliver the required function and level of performance in a sustainable manner without compromising safety. These systems have been proven to drive down inspection, maintenance and repair costs while improving plant reliability and operational safety. ARC recently finished a market report on AIM, and we interviewed several leading participants in the space. The discussions highlighted several leading trends in the space, below we discuss the top three trends that are likely to have a significant impact in the next few years.
Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning
Plant personnel manage data and information from numerous sources. Rather than more data, they need tools to analyze this vast amount of data to make it actionable. Organizations have long used business intelligence (BI) and enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) tools for analysis of structured and historical data in plants. However, as industrial technologies are becoming much more complex and dynamic, these traditional tools are not robust enough to effectively analyze the unstructured data or the volume of data generated by assets. Manufacturers are turning to advanced analytics and machine learning to support predictive and prescriptive analytic solutions. By leveraging data from previously stranded smart sensors, equipment, and other assets, advanced analytics tools are becoming a strategic enabler to improve asset integrity and performance.
Integrated Systems/Common Platforms
As more manufacturers seek to simplify maintenance and operations, integrated systems and common platforms are becoming popular. Manufacturers don’t want to switch between different datasets for information. They are looking for a holistic system or platform that can integrate operational management of inspection and maintenance data and processes. There are many benefits of integrating different asset management systems and having a single platform. A single platform can help lower training and engineering costs as well as improve asset management and maintenance. A common platform can help create an all-encompassing level of command-and-control functionality that serves as a dashboard to enable operators both to see the details of system operation quickly and to interact with various systems in real time.
Digitization for Asset Integrity Management
The terms: digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation have become buzzwords. Another ARC blog attempts to clarify the term in an asset performance management (APM) context. The wide adoption of digital technologies such as for Big Data, Industry 4.0, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has enabled digital transformation in the industry. These technologies are helping industries automate operations, increase production, reduce cost, enhance safety and improve asset integrity management. Assets’ digital information can be combined with software and technologies such as Big Data and IIoT for deeper analysis to gain better insight about asset health and move from reactive to predictive maintenance strategies. Companies can then proactively plan and maintain assets to optimize their performance and ensure asset integrity. Digitization also offer the potential to further improve asset health and performance through new service models. Capabilities, such as remote monitoring and remote services, can help end users leverage the expertise of suppliers to help manage their assets across the entire lifecycle.
To learn how peer organizations are leveraging the latest technologies to support their asset integrity management initiatives, readers should consider attending the upcoming ARC Industry Forum, Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure, and Cities, in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 12-15, 2018.