“I need it, want it, install it!” Still too few users are convinced of this when it comes to diagnosis-capable field devices and plant asset management. That is what the manufacturers say, at least. Where are we heading? Read here what is reality already, but also what wishes are still to be fulfilled.
No, plant asset management (PAM) is by no means a new topic. Yet it, still, provides much issues to discuss, as this year’s Achema proved once again. Convincing the customers remains the top priority for manufacturers.
This is also the firm conviction of Stefan Gampp, product manager for automation at Endress+Hauser, and Joachim Rist, product manager for industrial automation at the drives specialist Auma Riester. PROCESS spoke to the two experts, both of whom strive for an increased acceptance by operators, about wishes and reality with PAM.
“Preventive Maintenance Still Plays a Subordinate Role”
Six years after the publication of Namur recommendation NE 107, ‘Self-monitoring and diagnosis of field devices’, on which almost all intelligent field equipment today is based, “preventive maintenance in the process industry is still playing a subordinate role”, as Gampp observes. He opts for a hollistic approach: “Asset is a broad term. In the past, we primarily recognised the term asset as a field device, i.e. sensors and actuators, but this is erroneous. Our customers understand assets to be all necessary process components, whether machine, container or piping — certainly not just a field device.” Today, PAM is for Endress+Hauser therefore “no longer a feature, but a strategic work field.” The aim is, Gampp and Rist agree, to preserve the value of an installation by diagnosis and preventive maintenance and to raise it throughout the whole service lifetime.
There is currently a lot of talk about mega-trends, such as digitalisation, globalisation, energy efficiency or wireless control units. Our look at the trends will not centre on these headline issues. Read here what is on the mind of the process industry at this year’s ACHEMA in 10 Trends for the Process Industry You Should Know
Process Performance Optimisation is the Magic Word
Process performance optimisation is the magic word for Gampp, which characterises a “high-level PAM”. This is very distinct from the “pragmatic level”, limited to the centralised start-up of a field device and mere documentation — an approach on which many users are still operating. But just being informed is not enough. “The real challenge is in analysing this information and deducing from it action plans for optimum operation of an installation in the short, medium and long terms,” Gampp states.
The digitalisation for plant assets like field devices has come a long way: Today, nearly 90 percent of the installed units are digitally compatible...more on page 2!
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