Avoid downtime in trying times

Published: 8 July 2020 - 7:45 a.m.
The dawn of the new decade has not arrived quietly. Companies are navigating an unprecedented and challenging economic landscape. Enterprise industrial businesses are facing massive cost pressures and need to do more with fewer resources. This is placing a huge emphasis on technology as companies try to extract more production capacity out of existing legacy assets.

Don’t be blindsided by unplanned downtime
This movement, commonly known as Digital Industrial Transformation or Industry 4.0, is playing a key role in helping to increase productivity levels – and one important area of attack is unplanned downtime. This is an issue that costs the world’s top companies hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue every year and is often caused by; operator mistakes, poor maintenance and hardware or software error, not to mention natural disasters.
Industry analysts agree that unplanned downtime is disastrous for business. Clearly no business wants to be blindsided with unplanned downtime. The question organizations are asking is, ‘how can technology be applied to existing assets to expose a new competitive advantage?’ When it comes to preventative maintenance, it’s time for organizations to begin mapping their roadmaps to asset performance management and risk-based maintenance.

Zero-tolerance of downtime
Today, preventative maintenance, based on time or usage statistics, is one of the most commonly adopted approaches to keep industrial operations running. Maintenance is performed at regular intervals to reduce the probability of asset failure. However, in most cases, this approach often results in either over-maintenance or under-maintenance of assets due to differences in equipment ages, operating environment and unpredictable performance.
It’s a practice that needs to stop. In fact, a zero-tolerance approach to unplanned downtime will become the norm as companies develop and invest in their industrial digital strategies, the foundation of which is asset performance management (APM). This means managing assets and machinery by implementing technologies that exist today.

Factory failure is not an option
Machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technology are all being applied to enable predictive maintenance strategies that significantly reduce unplanned downtime. Automation technologies connect operations acting as a data nerve system to enable experts to see what’s happening inside the facility in real time, while mobile tools can provide access to that data anywhere for improved collaboration across business units.
This Industrial IoT is connecting data through a network, feeding analytics to experts to enable more strategic decision-making, a seamless connection to wider business KPIs and ensuring that failure in the factory becomes a thing of the past.

This is why AVEVA offers a comprehensive APM software portfolio designed to overcome today’s industrial challenges by leveraging industrial big data, cloud, artificial intelligence, digital twin, and augmented reality technologies. With improved analysis, we are helping businesses eliminate inefficiencies, optimize operations, and improve profitability. Ascend Performance Materials business which avoided potential plant shutdowns saved $2 million with APM 4.0 solutions from AVEVA.

A zero-downtime future
Understanding problems before they happen is the panacea for industrial operations - maximizing output and revenue while reducing impact to workers and the wider environment.
What, on the surface, seems like a mutually exclusive option, is not only solved by APM, but its incorporation safeguards the future of the factory as we know it. And until a time when machines can fix themselves or not break at all, it is in fact the only digital transformation worth considering if we are to deliver a future without downtime.

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