Enhanced Asset Insights Drive Targeted Production Improvements

Enhanced Asset Insights Drive Targeted Production Improvements

Asset performance management joined the Industrial Internet of Things as a key topic at the 2015 ARC Forum in Orlando. Here is a release from Meridium that reflects many of the trends—data collection, analysis, configurable display, mobility.

Meridium Inc., global supplier of asset performance management (APM) software and services, announced the availability of Asset Answers V2.0. The company claims this as the only cloud-based asset performance diagnostics solution that provides comparative analytics, delivering instant visibility into asset data, and supplying organizations with the insights to drive safer, more informed, and more profitable decisions.

Asset Answers 2.0 delivers next-generation APM insights into industrial assets and their health and overall performance, an improved user interface that includes dashboards and enhanced mobility on a variety of handheld devices that provides true anywhere/anytime availability. Since the introduction of Asset Answers to the market, more than 130 sites in the Petrochemicals, Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities, and Manufacturing industries rely on Asset Answers to support continuous improvement initiatives with the ultimate goal of achieving operational excellence.

For example, Dow Chemical was able to collect and analyze reliability audit report data for 25 production units across 4 plants in less than 1 day, saving 175 man-days of effort and remain focused on cost, availability, and reliability optimization for the company. Another Asset Answers client, Profertil, reduced costs for 30 straight months and was able to readily identify and highlight savings of $900,000 and counting.

According to Roy Whitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Asset Answers, “For organizations in asset-intensive industries, Asset Answers 2.0 uncovers the true cost, reliability and availability of asset groups and individual pieces of equipment with the click of a mouse. Subscribers can easily view performance criteria across sites and benchmark themselves anonymously against global industry peers. Combining data mining and preconfigured metrics, reliability engineers can investigate equipment data to identify assets that represent the best opportunities for improving maintenance costs and reliability. With access to the objective truth about asset performance, management can act with confidence to intelligently cut costs while increasing production, especially in times of shrinking margins.”

Asset Answers can identify and evaluate better performing equipment manufacturers and highlight predominant failure modes for specific equipment models. With this analysis, Asset Answers also can create opportunities for equipment improvements and automatically track the savings these improvements have provided.

Whitt also added that, “Asset Answers uses comparative analytics or ‘intelligent benchmarking’ that enables organizations to conduct ‘apples to apples’ comparisons of industrial equipment in production units across multiple plants within an organization. That same information helps organizations compare the relative performance of their assets against industry peers to gain a deeper understanding and a competitive advantage, optimize total cost of ownership (TCO) for critical assets and make better asset purchasing decisions.”

This approach both improves collaboration between Reliability, Engineering & Maintenance and also enables continuous and systematic improvement of operations and production output over time. Benefits of Asset Answers 2.0 include:

  • A proven, systematic and secure approach to continuous improvement and Operational Excellence
  • Improved plant and operator safety
  • Mitigated operational and financial risk
  • Improved insight into non-financial performance
  • Lower asset total cost of ownership (TCO)



Improve Manufacturing Operations With EMI Applications

Improve Manufacturing Operations With EMI Applications

Mark DavidsonOne of my prognostications from my last post on 2015 prognostications riffing off Jim Pinto’s post, dealt with analytics. I think this will not only be big, it will be essential to making you and your manufacturing enterprise competitive.

Mark Davidson of LNS Research, just wrote about the subject, Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence (EMI) software, on the LNS blog site.

He asks, “1) What are the business results that manufacturing/production companies are achieving utilizing these software capabilities? And 2) What should you and your company be doing in regard to the opportunities presented by these technologies?”

He correctly addresses the core capability—operational and business performance dashboards that provide timely information to different users and roles.

Are people using these now? “61% of companies in the LNS Research Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) survey of over 550 professionals indicated that their companies either currently have EMI dashboards or are planning to install them in the next year.”

Here’s why this is important. “The joint LNS Research and MESA ‘Metrics That Matter’ survey uncovered a significant difference in average annual improvements in the costs of producing a unit of goods. Current users of EMI software recorded 24.1% average annual improvements in Total Cost per Unit Excluding Materials versus the 13.1% overall improvement of all respondents.” And, “Companies that have implemented EMI software solutions are experiencing 7.2% higher OEE performance than those who have not. The average OEE for those who have EMI solutions in place was 74, versus 69 for those who do not.”

Make sure your stars are aligned

And, his last thought, “It is imperative that you not only focus on these supporting new technologies, it’s important to also align your organization’s key resources: people and processes, along with your technology strategy.”

Check out Mark’s complete article. Then check out potential partners for implementing EMI applications. Let me know how you’re doing.

Rockwell Goes Mobile With Production Data

Rockwell Goes Mobile With Production Data

11-19-14 FactoryTalk VantagePoint EMI v6 mobile appThe consumer boom with mobile devices has not been ignored by production automation companies. Rockwell Automation showed FactoryTalk VantagePoint EMI v 6.0 enabling any digital device to access performance metrics and production data analytics from plant floors and machines.

The VantagePoint v6.0 software now includes VantagePoint mobile, a component that enables users to create displays and interact with data across any HTML5-compliant browser and mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android. Users can now easily log in to the VantagePoint system and automatically view Web-based KPI content that is responsive to the device they are using – from smartphones to tablets to PCs. No user-specific configurations created by network administrators or IT staff are required, enabling manufacturers to quickly on-board more users and deliver value to increase productivity.

“The VantagePoint mobile component instantly detects the type of device being used to access information and adjusts the user experience for that screen,” said Angela Rapko, product manager for FactoryTalk VantagePoint software, Rockwell Automation. “This out-of-the-box solution will enable more users to access valuable operational insight while lowering the cost of delivering that data.”

Another new key capability is the “composer” feature, which allows VantagePoint v6.0 users to browse through data and easily customize content based on individual roles, priorities and viewing preferences. Using the software’s drag-and-drop interactive tools, users can create personalized displays to quickly find the information that is most important to them. The “favorites” capability also allows users to configure KPI data in the visual formats they prefer, from bar graphs to gauges to plant maps. They can then save the data or share it with a group using the VantagePoint mobile component.

“Customers have expressed a big need to drive usage of data across their organization for frictionless productivity,” said Kyle Reissner, mobility platform leader, Rockwell Automation. “With portability in mind, we wanted users to be able to move between devices seamlessly, allowing them to be more responsive and reducing time to solution. The VantagePoint mobile component is now at the core of the FactoryTalk VantagePoint software to deliver this ease of use.”

For OEMs, this streamlined connectivity provides the framework for delivering an information-enabled machine. Plus, they gain the ability to visualize data without the need for custom development.

For system administrators and integrators, improved diagnostics built into the VantagePoint v6.0 software on the server side – as well as more application-centric data sources – allow them to view and display the overall health of the system and specific applications. The VantagePoint v6.0 software also includes improved tag-provider templates to allow anyone initially building the model and applications – whether a system administrator or a customer – to accelerate design and deployment time.

All users will benefit from the flexibility of receiving and applying the VantagePoint software updates without having to uninstall, re-install and, in some cases, re-validate their current application.

“With the VantagePoint mobile framework, we intend to release software updates more frequently, including new display widgets and capabilities,” Reissner said. “We’re focused on eliminating friction, realizing productivity value, and ensuring users are able to do more with fewer barriers.”

Industrial Internet of Things Advances With Partnership Agreement

Industrial Internet of Things Advances With Partnership Agreement

A client recently discussed the impacts of the Internet of Things on its business. I mentioned that if you look at the entire system, you have to consider both all the inputs from the huge variety of sensors and the data collection, analysis, and presentation that make sense of the whole thing.

Add that idea to GE’s emphasis corporate-wide on what it calls the “Industrial Internet,” and you can understand the basics behind this partnership agreement. I expect to see many more acquisitions, partnerships and collaborations around the IoT in the next two years. If you are a small and innovative company (think ThingWorx and Axeda, for example), this is going to be an ideal time to position yourself for a sweet buy out.

GE’s Measurement & Control business announced a minority equity investment in Meridium. The companies intend to enter into a joint development and distribution agreement that will integrate Meridium’s asset performance management (APM) software and GE’s Bently Nevada System 1 Asset Condition Monitoring (ACM) technology.

From the press release:

GE’s System 1 ACM technology is part of the Bently Nevada product line that produces machine condition sensors, data acquisition hardware and software. Meridium’s APM aggregates data from System 1 and other plant maintenance systems to provide plant engineers with a dashboard of reliability metrics. This new Industrial Internet software offering will enable condition-based maintenance with pinpoint precision, in near real-time, resulting in an estimated 10-30 percent in maintenance cost reduction. This is a critical capability for customers in the Oil and Gas, Power Generation, Hydrocarbon Processing and other asset intensive industries.

“The way we do business is being dramatically altered in the era of the Industrial Internet. We are realizing the increased productivity and efficiency gains from big data and analytics delivered in real-time. The partnership with Meridium will increase value for our customers, allowing them to quantify risk in a near real-time manner. We are unlocking the value of condition-based maintenance, which will lead to reduced maintenance costs, increased mechanical availability and less downtime for our customers,” said Art Eunson, General Manager of GE’s Bently Nevada product line.

“Working with GE across mutual clients over many years taught us that together we could produce additional significant tangible value through collaboration and interfaces,” said Bonz Hart, Meridium’s Founder and CEO. “As we looked at the strengths of each company and our rapidly expanding global markets, working closer together made sense for our clients and to better serve our markets. GE’s Bently Nevada operates in a multi-OEM and multi-system world, as does Meridium, so we’re also tightly aligned on strategy. GE’s minority investment allows Meridium to stay focused on innovation and support our global growth.”

The investment aligns closely with GE’s focus on leading the Industrial Internet by connecting intelligent machines, advanced analytics, and people at work. The combination of ACM and APM will allow customers to derive more value from big data through contextually relevant insight into asset performance and plant operations. By connecting sensors to maintenance management systems, customers also gain the ability to better manage their reliability strategy and operational risk.

What Manufacturing Plant Managers Measure: Metrics That Matter

One of the top benefits of membership in MESA International is a look into the full report of the “Metrics That Matter” research. MESA along with LNS Research just completed the latest edition of the survey. They are now ready to present some of the results in a Webcast live at 11 am EDT on April 16. Go to the MESA Website to register.

In a recent LNS blog post, the metrics that plant management most monitored were presented and discussed.

From the blog, “As a plant manager, you’re responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of production, logistics, and maintenance in your assigned facility. Your position is one that’s hands-on and focuses on using all the resources at your disposal to maximize production accuracy and profitability while ensuring worker safety and government compliance in a particular unit of the manufacturing organization.”

2013-2014 Metrics that Matter Research Survey

As we’ve written about before at LNS Research, there are 28 top metrics that have been identified across eight key categories that are utilized the most for driving value for manufacturers today. These eight categories are as follows:

  • Financial
  • Inventory
  • Innovation
  • Responsiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Quality
  • Maintenance
  • Compliance

In one question, we asked over 200 respondents to identify at which level these eight categories were measured at their companies.

According to the survey, the metrics categories that were viewed most at the plant level were:

  • Innovation: At 53%
  • Maintenance: At 43%
  • Efficiency: At 40%

These three categories contain eight top metrics that the research shows plant managers are keeping a close eye upon.

Innovation Metrics

The top two metrics in the Innovation category that plant managers are monitoring are:

  • Rate of New Product Introduction: As this requires an analysis and ramp-up times between design, development, manufacturing and customer support groups in order to determine how rapidly new products can be introduced to the marketplace, it requires the leadership and expertise at the plant level in determining the logistics of these factors and setting expectations.
  • Engineering Change Order Cycle Time: This measures how rapidly design changes or modifications can be made to existing products and implemented all the way through documentation processes and volume production.

As both of these metrics look at innovation through the lens of manufacturing operations’ role of production, it’s not surprising to see that they are being monitored more at the plant level than other areas of the business.

Maintenance Metrics

This category includes:

  • Percentage Planned vs. Emergency Maintenance Work Orders: A ratio metric that’s an indicator of how often scheduled maintenance takes place, versus more disruptive, unplanned maintenance.
  • Downtime in Proportion to Operating Time: This metric is a direct indicator of asset availability for production, as it’s the ratio of downtime to operating time.

As unplanned/emergency events tend occur in a localized manner and ripple outward with their effects, these metrics that look at direct asset availability and performance are being viewed primarily at the plant level. It’s interesting to note that survey respondents reported viewing Maintenance metrics second-most at the Corporate level, at 33%. Therfore, asset utilization and return is also a key business concern.

Efficiency Metrics

This category includes the following top metrics that go to the heart of a plant’s ability to produce efficiently and with quality to meet customer expectations:

  • Throughput: A measurement of how much product is being produced on a machine, line, unit, or plant over a specified period of time.
  • Capacity Utilization: Indicates how much of the total manufacturing output capacity is being utilized at a given point in time.
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE): A multi-dimensional and sometimes controversial metric, OEE is a multiplier of availability, performance, and quality, and it can be used to indicate the overall effectiveness of a piece of production equipment, or an entire production line.
  • Schedule or Production Attainment: A measure of what percentage of time a target level of production is attained within a specified schedule of time.
  • Visit the two Websites and check out the Webcast. See what your peers are measuring.