Process plants can boost production and efficiency by reducing the number of plant shutdowns and expensive part replacements that take place. 

Using predictive maintenance (PdM) to identify part failures at an early stage enables plants to save money by carrying out small, inexpensive fixes rather than responding later to larger and more complicated failures. But the people in process plants responsible for production, efficiency, and even maintenance, are typically not true stakeholders for PdM. For this reason, we recently held a webinar to discuss our PdM approach.

PdM demands a culture shift

Research has shown that around 70% of projects such as lean manufacturing, agile approaches, and Six Sigma fail because they demand cultural change. Plants need someone to lead this change and actively demonstrate its value. 

The most likely stakeholders for failure prevention include:

  • Plant managers are primarily focused on boosting production. Reducing failures would be helpful, but it’s a side issue.
  • Process engineers are constantly reacting to problems with the process. The KPI of “cutting failures ahead of time” is not on their list. 
  • Maintenance managers solve existing problems and respond to work orders from production. They aren’t immersed in the process data that reveals impending failures. 

In order to succeed, plants need an internal champion who has both full management support, and the time to dedicate to leading the culture shift. Alternatively, they can turn to an expert external consultant to help bridge the gap between the technology and current plant culture.

Whether internal or external, someone has to take ownership of the cultural change

At SAM GUARD, we offer consulting services in various formats for this purpose, for example, remote monitoring, or in the form of an analytical monitoring center (AMC). 

How SAM GUARD’s AMC helps plants prevent failures

The AMC provides an individual who is dedicated to monitoring the solution for your plant and responding to alerts. The AMC reviews every incident, filters out the most interesting findings, and tags the relevant engineers. Together, they investigate the root cause of the alert and create action items to deal with whatever arose. Crucially, the AMC ensures that no ticket is closed until the root cause is identified and the action item is completed. 

In the webinar we delve into several actual examples in detail, such as: 

  • Identifying a flare sealing water level controller blockage in a very large plant with thousands of tags that it was tracking. 
  • Alerting about and identifying the root cause of a flare evaporator steam trap leakage
  • Fixing abnormalities in furnace fan speed 
  • Preventing failure due to an increase in oil pressure in compressor

Culture change is the real driver of failure prevention

In each of these cases, SAM GUARD provided a tagged early alert, but what made the difference is that the SAM GUARD engineers led the value creation process and assisted the company’s process engineer in understanding and responding to the alert, in other words, true PdM as a service. 

It takes only around 2-3 weeks to set up the SAM GUARD PdM system and get it up and running, but the real work is leading the culture change. That’s the advantage of PdM as a Service. It allows the plant to quickly see the value of a PdM approach and make the culture shift to a new way of working, one which actively prevents failures and responds to alerts. 
Watch our webinar to learn more about remote monitoring, AMC’s, and applying PdM as a Service to your plant.