How to say no to unplanned downtime

Kim Custeau, Global Asset Performance Management Lead at AVEVA on how the internet of things (IoT) connects data to aid strategic decision-making

Last Updated: 01 Sep 2020

The dawn of the new decade has not arrived quietly. Companies are navigating an unprecedented and challenging economic landscape.  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. 

This movement, commonly known as Digital Industrial Transformation or Industry 4.0, is playing a key role in helping to increase productivity levels; one important area of attack is unplanned downtime. This is an issue that costs the world’s top companies hundreds of millions 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. The question organisations  need to ask is: ‘how can we use technology with existing assets to expose a new competitive advantage?’ When it comes to preventative maintenance, it’s time for organisations 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. But in most cases this approach 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 here 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.

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, optimise 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 – maximising output and revenue while reducing impact to workers and the wider environment.  

What, on the surface, seems like a mutually exclusive option, APM not only solves, but its incorporation safeguards the future of the factory as we know it. And till a time when machines can fix themselves or not break at all, it is the only digital transformation worth considering if we are to deliver a future without downtime.

Kim Custeau is global asset performance management lead, AVEVA

Kim develops and leads the strategy for industrial Asset Performance Management solutions that help AVEVA customers improve asset reliability and performance to maximize return on capital investments and increase profitability. Kim Custeau has 30+ years of experience in industrial asset management software and services. Prior to AVEVA, she was responsible for the strategic direction, commercialization and development of Schneider Electric Software’s Asset Performance software portfolio globally.

AVEVA Group plc provides innovative industrial software to transform complex industries such as Oil & Gas, Construction, Engineering, Marine, and Utilities. AVEVA’s software solutions and platform enable the design and management of complex industrial assets like power plants, chemical plants, water treatment facilities and food and beverage manufacturers – deploying IIoT, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to digitally transform industries. 

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Image credit: Nick Fewings/Unsplash

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