Ride the data wave or become engulfed in a tsunami
Digitisation of operations without integrated Asset Performance Management (APM) systems causes data tsunamis that engulf potential benefits, leaving firms with the debris resulting from fragmented decision-making.
Tony Turner, Innovations Director of VETASI, a global asset management consultancy, says the integration of all data streams into a strategic asset performance management system will not only prevent such organisational failures, but give firms a competitive edge. Turner with more than a quarter century’s experience of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), says the devoted application of IBM’s Maximo gives firms a value advantage, regardless of the sector they operate in.
In the utility sector, Turner mentions his experience with a UK firm that is applying meticulously an integrated asset management system that will result in:
- Improved customer satisfaction (less outages);
- Making informed decisions about asset investments;
- A healthier infrastructure asset system;
- Avoiding fines and penalties from the regulator (Ofgem) and in fact reaping from the reward incentive scheme of the regulator.
This was achieved by a company that has 3.8 million commercial and residential clients, served through a network of 130 000km overhead and underground cabling involving 106 000 substations.
When the firm was established through a merger of earlier entities, they were saddled with their data fragmented over more than 300 different spreadsheets and asset data spread across over 20 legacy systems. To get a proper grip on matters, with Maximo they created a Master Asset Register integrating all operational and asset data, complete with GIS descriptions of every asset location and including risk management.
There is ever increasing opportunities to create new and sustainable value in asset intensive companies by combining a governing methodology with enhanced use of technology.
“Each span of cable and every pole was described with information on the condition of each pole, every span of cable and every sub-station. This was integrated with client and electricity usage data, thereby transforming each pole and each stretch of cable from a pure physical asset into an operational asset and risk factor.
Some poles are more equal than other poles…
“A million wooden poles supporting the overhead cable network were thereby ranked by their criticality for electricity delivery to clients. It is clear from that system, to use a phrase from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, that some poles are more equal than other poles”.
However, not a single pole is neglected from a rigorous condition inspection regime. Every pole is inspected every 4 years with the staff capturing and recording the condition of the pole. There are over 68 different measuring points that are captured for every pole. These include:
- Is the pole upright or leaning?
- What’s the condition of the stays?
- And the stay anchors?
- Is there woodpecker damage?
- Is the pole rotten?
- If so, how bad is the damage?
- Are safety signs and anti-climb measures installed correctly?
The data is captured in situ in Maximo with mobile devices. The 68 measuring points answer the question about the “life expectancy” of each and every pole. Wooden poles have a utility life of 40-50 years, but with this condition-based risk management system (CBRM), the life expectancy of a large percentage of the poles can be extended whilst timeous replacement of those that would not last can be arranged.
The outage and therefore loss of not only revenue, but also reputation loss, is thereby limited.
Similar regimes were put in place for sub-station inspection and all other asset categories.
The data required for this is not captured and send by sensors. Teams of the utility’s workforce capture this data in foot patrols which is automatically reconciled with the data of 4 years before, as well as operational data reflecting outages that involved those sections of the network and the poles in that section.
Polish Company and its customers win by pursuing predictive and reactive maintenance
The ability to identify and monitor both the performance and condition of assets has enabled the Polish company PKP Energetyka providing electricity to rail companies in Poland to minimise outages by implementing both predictive as reactive asset maintenance.
Jakub Rumian, sales director of Vetasi, said Vetasi assisted PKP Energetyka with improving the network assets capturing both the condition of each asset component, the maintenance required, as well as the risk factor of the asset for PKP Energetyka.
PKP Energetyka uses IBM’s Maximo for the integration of digitised data dealing with operations, asset condition, asset identification and performance of assets with all fixed assets identified by GIS and movable assets by digital asset IDs. This integrated approach made the previously uncoordinated data streams more manageable and interpretable for management and/or operational decision-making.
By digitising data (either coming from Scada systems or captured by staff on mobile devices) of both an operational and asset condition perspective with instantaneous analyses of the implications, PKP Energetyka was able to limit outages and disruption of services by:
- identifying potential weaknesses in the system triggering predictive maintenance, and
- highlighting problematic clusters of assets (whether signalling, rail track or regular overload by excessive customer demand).
Through predictive maintenance potential failures were identified and replaced before it could trigger outages. By identifying problematic asset clusters or sectors that experienced regular disruption, clinical remedial action could be mobilized resulting in both less and lower impact of outages in such clusters or sectors.
Fragmented systems lead to failure
The application of Maximo assisted with the company’s implementation of ISO 55000, enabling them to convince the regulator that it is an energy network and distribution entity providing reliable services in a cost-effective manner to its clients. According to Turner, the company “reduced penalties from the regulator whilst ensuring they have a reliable network of assets in operation.”
The implementation of an integrated APM enabled this firm to ride the wave of data. It stands in stark contrast to the operations of several other network operators in the UK. Another energy utility company is implementing a new Maximo system for their contractors’ work, with other systems carrying their assets, health calculations, financial, operational and customer data: separate from their GIS locational database of assets
“They struggle to interpret the tsunami of uncorrelated data emanating from a range of systems which, each in its own right, provide a version of the truth. The inability to capture and interpret all the data in a single asset enabling system, makes decision-making akin to placing bets and, as in reality, the bookies’ favourites easily become also-ran-contenders.”
How Asset Performance Management prolong useful asset life
Riccardo Morandi, an Italian structural engineer, gripped the attention in the 1967 with the design and construction of his longer than a kilometre concrete bridge in Genoa: confirming the esteem of Italian pass and bridge builders. Claimed to be maintenance free, the iconic bridge followed the unsinkable Titanic and collapsed after half a century. (See text box). Far less proclaimed bridges are, however, through studious condition-monitoring, exceeding their design life by more than a century.
How to waste iconic assets: the collapse of Italy’s proudly engineered bridges
A systemic commitment to condition monitoring of assets is essential to prevent disasters like the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa (August 2018) and the 260m long Albiano Magra bridge between Genoa and Florence (April 2020).
In these cases, the signs of decay were visible before the tragedies happened: corrosion in the cables that were covered in pre-stressed concrete were noticed with some new cables added without replacing the corroded ones. The corrosion occurred despite the original boasting about a maintenance free bridge: “The bridge’s concrete structure won’t need any maintenance, neither will its stayed cables which are protected from the atmosphere by their concrete vest” the La Stampa newspaper reported ahead of the bridge’s opening in 1967.
The Albiano Magra bridge (April 2020)
In the case of the Albiano Magra bridge, growing cracks were recorded over years were recorded as from 2011.
“Recording asset conditions without an integrated asset performance management system, often lead to delays in maintenance and ultimately in value destruction,” Turner reckons. “If these deteriorations were captured in Maximo by mobile devices, the closed loop application’s analysis would have placed prescriptive maintenance so central that it could not be ignored.”
The latter, however requires institutional commitment to the principle of value creation through asset management.
In Wales a railway network firm with 270km of track with numerous bridges and running through steep cuttings in the landscape, follow an APM system to maintain not only the track, but the signaling system, the stations, bridges, tunnels and the steep cuttings.
All their assets are listed and ranked in accordance with risk of disruption in Maximo. All assets are inspected and proper condition-monitoring entered on mobile devices that capture GIS location as well as all the answers to the criteria to assess asset health.
Some of these bridges are older than 150 years and have exceeded their design life. The Bridge Condition Measuring Index (BCMI) criteria captured in their master asset register (Maximo) ensures that these bridges are safe and well maintained. The same holds for the numerous steep cuttings and embankments which can easily disrupt services through landslides.
The fact that Maximo enables the organisation to integrate operational, asset condition and locational data with cyber interpretation and analyses, ensures not only safety of customers and assets, but also the optimisation of value for both the company and its clients.
|The Maximo Application Suite builds on IBM’s decades of leadership in the asset and operations management space, providing a closed-loop model from capturing and analysing data to enabling prescriptive maintenance actions. It leverages IBM’s deep commitment to data science and AI at enterprise scale, as well as its recognized leadership in IoT platform, hybrid cloud, security and now digital twin technology. VETASI, an IBM Gold Business Partner, has a track record of delivering solutions in over 20 countries, including industry-specific solutions and add-ons that bring more rapid ROIC for our customers. Maximo application suite can be deployed as an integrated EAM / APM suite or be a very effective APM solution integrating with the Plant Maintenance application of your ERP system.|