Observations from the ARC Forum Session: “Taking EAM to the Next Level”

By Ed O'Brien

Overview

This year’s 25th annual ARC Industry Forum featured record attendance. Although virtual, it offered many opportunities for networking and sharing experiences and insights. For those interested in viewing (or revisiting) the session, or the entire event, videos, and presentations can be accessed at the ARC Forum page at The 25th Annual ARC Industry Forum

Leveraging EAM and Predictive Maintenance in Fleet Management

Expectations for today's advanced enterprise asset management (EAM) systems are expanding to include expanded connectivity and predictive capabilities similar to capabilities desired in asset performance management systems. These capabilities are key to identifying and addressing problems before they occur, help to improve operational effectiveness, and minimize downtime.

Digital transformation in all forms, particularly Industrial IoT, edge computing, and analytics, have opened new opportunities for improving the efficiencies and productivity of today's maintenance and operations functions. Suppliers are spearheading a drive toward deeper vertical functionality in asset management. Nowhere is this more evident than in fleet management and asset management of rolling stock, which have unique needs and challenges.

United Road Gains Maintenance Insights with Uptake Fleet

The United Road family of companies is an industry leader in providing vehicle and heavy-haul transportation services. The company is also an industry leader in the delivery of finished vehicle logistics, ranging from passenger vehicles to heavy-haul transportation equipment.

Jason Walker, COO of United Road, shared his insight on achieving customer satisfaction with reliability and predictive maintenance. Jason noted that for United Road, maximizing vehicle availability is essential to their success. Use of predictive maintenance, predictive analytics, and machine learning (ML) are becoming the foundation from which maximum vehicle reliability and uptime are achieved.

Such capabilities are key to a successful fleet operation, as unplanned downtime is unacceptable to both customers and drivers. There is often a 20-30 percent cost premium to have work done by vendors.

United Road has been using Uptake Fleet to better manage its vehicles. Uptake Fleet allows United Road maintenance personnel to sift through any “noise” in the vehicle data coming from the trucks’ smart components. The application enables operational excellence through features such as failure prediction and automated alerts.

This has dramatically changed how United Road evaluates and assesses maintenance. Previously, it was overwhelming to be inundated with too many (and often erroneous) fault codes. Now, the use of pre-built data science models is equipping United Road fleet managers and technicians with maintenance insights to conduct proactive maintenance, prevent unexpected roadside breakdowns, and increase driver efficiency and utilization.

New Brunswick Power Chooses Boston Dynamics Robots for Hazardous Maintenance Tasks

New Brunswick Power is the primary supplier of electricity in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. The company, which is also known as NB Power, has been deploying Spot, a four-legged, dog-like robot from Boston Dynamics in roles that are hazardous to human workers. The utility has decided to undergo a series of proof-of-concept tests with Taking EAM to the Next LevelBoston Dynamics test robotics solutions at the utility. Once delivered, they began searching for high-priority opportunities to leverage these new technologies to boost organizational efficiencies and worker safety.

Mike Minard, a Senior Innovation Specialist for the company works in the emerging technology area at the utility. Mike noted that NB Power serves about 350,000 customers and manages a wide variety of complex assets. Examples include various types of generating plants, including nuclear, oil-fired, coal, natural gas, and diesel. The company is also responsible for managing hydroelectric dams along the St. John River, power purchase agreements with wind farms, and handles transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure assets.

Mike shared his experiences with Spot in his presentation, adding that Spot was being initially used as a testbed for various work scenarios at the utility. One particularly noteworthy example involved a potentially hazardous situation at their Bayside generating station.

In this case, NB Power was notified by an equipment manufacturer that a pipe in the gas turbine building may have faulty welds and was subject to a recall. The supplier alerted NB Power that there was the potential for one or more welds to fail. If this occurred, it would occur quickly and unexpectedly, with high-pressure steam pipes spewing 1,000-degree steam at 2,500 psi.

With safety the top priority, NB Power issued a “do not operate“ exclusion zone within the facility. This posed a major challenge, as operator rounds, which include visual inspections for oil or other leaks, were needed if the plant were to continue to operate. Consequently, rounds would still be necessary while awaiting the affected pipes to be repaired or replaced. In the meantime, humans were restricted from working in or nearby the hazard zone.

 

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Keywords: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Asset Performance Management (APM), Maintenance, Industrial IoT, ARC Advisory Group.

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