Intelligent Machines is emerging as one of the most powerful manifestations of the industry 4.0 revolution. With the advent of technology, traditional maintenance practices are transforming today. Industry 4.0 technologies are reshaping the factory shop floor and thus the equipment maintenance. Rapid advances in cloud, mobile, analytics and Internet of Things technologies and their low entry barriers and affordable costs are driving the next wave of breakthrough innovations and disruptions.
Smart, connected factories require companies to build an entirely new technology stack, that operates in tandem with the physical equipment and other assets. Information exchange between the Physical-digital infrastructure, their interactions and resultant process changes, automation can help harvest big benefits and can ultimately converge the information to establish digital twins (equipment twins / factory twins).
The new technology stack is made up of multiple layers and numerous components, including embedded hardware and sensors, built in microcontrollers, memory chips, retrofitted electronics, embedded software, input / output ports, wired and wireless adapters, network and storage systems, public and enterprise cloud servers often supplemented by services, security frameworks, standards, protocols etc.
Understanding these layers, components and their integration is essential in defining a cohesive strategic plan. Computing infrastructure in the form of high-performance servers, operating systems, databases and other system software to run the digital technology services forms the base layer. This layer has been abstracted and commoditized by the many cloud service providers and offered as an elastic service, available on demand. Enterprise technology stack is built on top of these public cloud infrastructure or similar private enterprise cloud infrastructure.
Digital Foundation comprises of the application fabric hosted on top of the cloud infrastructure and provides the digital services and interfaces for other systems to interact. It hosts all the asset information including their identification, so that when other external systems (PLC, SCADA, Internet of Things) are connected, the equipment information can be correctly mapped and made accessible to the workforce.
Digital foundation can also connect with emerging technologies like Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality and deliver asset information via Smartglasses.
In the Industrial Asset Management context, the Digital Foundation can be understood as a combination of
- Asset Register: Repository of all information relating to different assets like facilities, equipment, spares, instruments, utilities and fleet. It supports asset identification and codification, hierarchy of assets, parent-child relationships and equipment classifications (group and sub-group, type, production / standby, rotary asset etc.). It can also host additional information relating to the asset like nameplate details, attributes, technical specifications, design documents, vendor information, cost center, permits required for work etc. Asset register thus contains all the static information related to the specific asset.
- Process Assets Library: Digital Foundation also hosts all the relevant plans, processes, procedures and knowledge bases specific to the performing organization. Process asset libraries can include maintenance plans, preventive maintenance schedules and checklists, failure phenomena, instrument calibration schedules, why why analysis sheets, management reporting templates etc. Organizations strive to unify and standardize the processes and distribute the common checklists and templates to all stakeholders, update them with higher versions by including the learnings. Process Asset Libraries play a critical role in standardization, institutionalization and continuous improvement.
- Application Tools: Tools perform a specific task or a group of related tasks, initiated by an user or another application. Tools can help digitize the processes and ensure compliance with the process flow. Examples include information search, data validation, transaction completion, rules engine comparisons, workflows, calculations, chart visualizations etc. Tools can also automate the business processes and can be system driven.
- Asset History: Digital foundation also holds all the historic information of the asset to present a 360-degree view of the asset. It holds information on past failures, underlying issues, downtime records, actions taken, utilization and performance metrics, maintenance and operations cost, budget vs actuals, knowledge base relating to the equipment etc. This information can be combined with other sources to derive meaningful inferences and asset intelligence.
- User Interface: Digital foundation by virtue of being the application, becomes the interface for users to access information, enter transactions, view analytics and reports, get notified on alerts etc. User interface supports multiple devices like PCs, Tablets and mobile phones and provide access / information via web browsers, mobile apps, email, text messages, push notifications etc. Digital foundation acts as the primary window for the users for views on the equipment, line and plant. Being human interface, the application needs to simplify the underlying technology and present an easy-to-use and engaging experience for the users.
Another perspective is to look at the whole physical-digital infrastructure as a system of interactions between man, machine, process, data and technology tools. They interact in myriad different ways to create business value in newer ways than ever. They bring together the disparate machines onto one integrated system. They create systems of enormous scale and efficiency. And they enable new levels of collaboration between people and things to create entirely new products and services.
Benefits of Digital Foundation
- Single Source of Truth: Aggregates all information about the asset at a single place. Comprehensive, integrated and provides a holistic view.
- Process Standardization and Institutionalization: Standard process ensures uniformity and consistency. Easy to manage process changes. Update at one place and all inheritances gets automatically synchronized.
- Knowledge base & Learning: Helps build a learning organization. Knowledge on demand facilitates fast and efficient response to recurrent issues.
- Collaboration: Remote monitoring can enable collaboration across time and distance. Application tools like eOffice can track all the action items of the team.
- Data driven insights: Provides comprehensive asset intelligence at multiple levels. Enables better asset utilization, productivity and return on investments.
- Intelligent decision support: First symptom alerts on breach of critical parameters, intelligent work order creation and support for predictive maintenance.
- High Performance Organization: Improves the productivity and efficiency of the organization. Enables Smart Workforce.
Industry 4.0 is becoming all pervasive across many industries including manufacturing, power, turnkey O&M services, logistics and specialized industrial services. And it creates avenues for organizations of all sizes and provides radical benefits in production and service delivery. Embracing industry 4.0 is a competitive necessity and strategic advantage for the organizations. The digital technology stack can facilitate convergence of process, data and technology tools, that enables people to rapidly develop, iterate and operate digital services at scale.
How can MaintWiz help you?
- Comprehensive Asset Register: MaintWiz provides a Comprehensive Asset Register that can include Facilities (Functional Locations), Equipment, Instruments, Spares, Utilities and Fleet. It supports rotary assets and standby assets. MaintWiz also supports nested hierarchy and parent child relationship of equipment to mimic your own unique set up. Visualization tools and SmartSearch functionality helps the users to find information quickly. Asset register can hold OEM Technical specifications, Vendor data, failure phenomena, BOM, Visual calendar, Equipment history etc. to provide a complete view of the asset.
- Process Assets Library: MaintWiz helps you to create your process assets easily. Preventive Maintenance Schedules with task lists and breakdown phenomena can be easily set up. Task libraries can help in managing task lists versions and standardization. Has comprehensive utility to complete the full life cycle of a work order covering all aspects.
- Collaboration: MaintWiz eOffice suite helps in fostering collaboration effectively with onsite teams and remote teams. Agenda, participation and minutes of all team meetings can be recorded and action items tracked. MaintWiz applies a team focus to maintenance and incorporates many collaborative tools and productivity boosters like PM Handover Checklist, Shift Handover report, non-conformance tracking etc.
- Integration: MaintWiz digital foundation is the edifice over which all the integrations happen. Ready to use web services are available and can connect various Operational Technology (Sensors, Internet of Things. PLCs, SCADA, DCS, MES) and with Enterprise Technology (SAP, Other ERP, Data warehousing, In-house business applications etc.) and provide a unified data view.
- Planning Tools: MaintWiz hosts many planning tools like Workbench and Horizontal Deployment to enable holistic view of the plant and plan PM tasks or CAPA activities with the enterprise view.
- Personalization: MaintWiz has been designed with different personas in mind and how their daily routine can be simplified and made productive. Many tools and utilities are available to support the different personas – Production users, Maintenance Engineers, Supervisors, Planners, Middle Management and Top Management.
- Business Intelligence: MaintWiz provides comprehensive analytics capabilities to support all stakeholders. Wide variety of reports are available to analyze the equipment history, performance, budget, people productivity, spares inventory, cost etc. Dashboards with user based custom tiles can support tracking key performance indicators. Dynamic filters help in repainting dashboards based on facilities or time period selected.
- Simple, Easy to User Interface: MaintWiz prides in simplifying technology to make it easily accessible to the front-line staff. Information can be easily searched and retrieved. Visualizations support data tabulations. Customizable dashboards and interactive charts deliver maintenance metrics effectively. MaintWiz is easy to learn, easy to use and easy to implement.