Solving Process Manufacturing Maintenance with IoT Technologies

Solving Process Manufacturing Maintenance with IoT Technologies

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An IoT Solution for Predictive Maintenance Management

Maintenance is essential for any industrial operation to ensure safety and productivity, but it is especially crucial for process manufacturing or other industries with hazardous areas that are prone to explosion, such as oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, public safety and others with combustible environments. Maintenance is also a major contributor to the performance and profitability of a business. System failure can lead to costly stoppages in operation. Unplanned refinery shutdowns in the U.S., for example, cost customers more than $20 billion per year, which equals nearly 5 percent of their total production. Some 92% of oil and gas company shutdowns in general are unplanned, costing an average of $42 million a year and up to $88 million per year.

To effectively prevent breakdowns or accidents, operators must monitor all technical, administrative and managerial actions during the lifecycle of an asset. New technologies can help. Tools such as IoT sensors and mobile devices that are purpose-built for hazardous environments can monitor operations for potential problems and help prevent or reduce the impact of any issues. Preventive maintenance and asset performance management (APM) that is assisted by predictive technologies is designed to inspect assets when they are still working properly so as to reduce the likelihood of unexpected equipment failure.

IoT technologies that can perform predictive maintenance without disrupting operations allow companies to better calculate when and how a critical asset may fail and act accordingly to ensure asset function more efficiently so that the overall operation can run more smoothly and cost-effectively.

Safe, simple-to-install IoT sensors and intrinsically safe tablets running maintenance management applications are a cost-effective solution for hazardous area operations to improve monitoring of assets, improve communication among personnel and between personnel and management, and plan predictive maintenance in order to reduce maintenance costs and avoid downtime.

  Technologies:

  • Intrinsically safe sensors
  • Intrinsically safe mobile devices
  • Digital maintenance management applications
Benefits:

  • Real-time data capture and alerts
  • Access to records
  • Documentation of service
  • Planning/Timekeeping
  • Decision analysis

NexVu – Capturing the Unseen with Intrinsically Safe Sensors

Gathering as much actionable data as possible about the various assets is the first step to identifying potential problems and preventing them through predictive maintenance. The NexVu IoT Solution from Aegex Technologies allows technicians to easily customize intrinsically safe IoT sensors and place them in Class I Div 1 hazardous areas to collect a myriad of actionable data points about the surrounding conditions. The NexVu sensor modules are customizable for thousands of configurations and a variety of data analytics and require only a few battery-powered and LTE-enabled components.

Nodes of up to 40+ different sensors including vibration, temperature, pressure, volatile gases and others can be attached to each NexVu endpoint to ensure a complete conditional assessment. The “smart” sensors do not need prior programming – they are automatically recognized in the Cloud with pre-established hazard thresholds – so they are continually learning which data anomalies to report based on the selected combined data configurations.

NexVu sensors can be programmed to report only the data necessary for asset performance management so maintenance needs may be addressed only in the event of an anomaly, or ahead of an anomaly, based on the sensors’ learnings about what are normal and optimal operating conditions.

Aegex10 - Intrinsically Safe Mobile Devices & Maintenance Management Applications

Data is only actionable when personnel can see it and analyze it at the right time and in the right place to make informed decisions. The aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablet is an enterprise-grade, connected collaboration device for managing data and conducting communications in order to predict, prevent or prescribe maintenance.

Data from NexVu IoT Sensors can be safely viewed in potentially combustible environments on aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablets. These tablets are certified for the most explosive of environments - Class I, II, III Division 1 or ATEX/IECEx Zone 1 hazardous areas - so they will not cause an explosion in volatile situations where gases, dusts or other combustible materials are present. The tablets are also ruggedized to IP65 standards to withstand extreme temperatures, drops/impacts and water or particle ingress. Their Windows 10 OS allows for user-friendly operation and immediate, secure synchronization with most IT systems for easy data management. The tablets connect to the Cloud via LTE or WiFi or can be interact offline via Bluetooth and NFC communications.

The lightweight aegex10 tablets can be carried by hand or in hands-free carrying cases without fear of igniting the volatile atmosphere. The tablets enable teams to communicate in real time for up to 12 hours on a single charge, and they can be operated with or without a stylus and/or gloves in the extreme environment, where high temperatures, water, gases and other hazards are present. The Aegex tablets ensure all personnel are connected and able to securely communicate.

Improved Maintenance Efficiency with IoT

By installing NexVu IoT Sensors throughout an operation to monitor ambient conditions and specific asset conditions, organizations are able to:

  • Be alerted of anomalies and potential emergencies
  • Identify which assets were nearing end-of-life
  • Predict which assets were close to needing maintenance
  • Determine which type of maintenance each asset needed
  • Devise a schedule of regular preventative maintenance for each asset
  By running advanced maintenance management applications on Aegex Intrinsically Safe Tablets, personnel can:

  • Plan maintenance with the assistance of virtual reality apps
  • Capture and combine data from IoT sensors, schedules and records for use in preventative and predictive maintenance plans
  • Be alerted and react when equipment is reaching end-of-life
  • Check vital maintenance procedures and ensure they were completed
  • Retrieve documentation and history of previous maintenance
  • Check status of tag-outs and verify completion before removing the tag
  • Check service records for third-party maintained systems
  • Update status of trouble tickets
  • Verify independent functional testing completion following repairs
  • Attach supporting images to equipment service records
  • Scan instrument bar code serial numbers, trouble tickets, etc.
  • Support “digital signing”
  • Consult via chat/text/email with third-party maintenance organizations and attach correspondence to service records
  • Receive local priority alerts
  • Perform maintenance reviews and supervisor sign-offs
  Improved Profitability, Performance and Safety

By enabling customized sensor data and real-time communication among personnel in hazardous areas, organizations are able to:

  • Discover potential issues based on real-time data about asset condition from IoT sensors and plan accordingly to address or prevent those issues
  • Enable technicians to more quickly and easily complete reliable preventive maintenance tasks onsite with intrinsically safe tablets
  • Learn which assets needed attention at which intervals, minimizing maintenance frequency and avoiding unnecessary costs
  • Achieve significant reductions in maintenance costs, breakdowns and downtime
  • Decrease risk of emergencies and ensure better personnel safety through better asset health

Order a NexVu Developer’s Kit today, or ask Aegex how our intrinsically safe solutions can benefit your specific needs. Learn more at aegex.com.