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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.

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Leverage Big Data to Improve Asset Reliability and Reduce Maintenance Outages

The impact of equipment failures and plant outages on a company’s bottom line can be more devastating than one might imagine. Initially, because production capabilities are reduced or even shut down, the company’s top-line revenue plummets; and then the costs to produce additional product units go up as well.

Additionally, equipment and plant-related problems can lead to even bigger issues: heightened risk of environmental damages, increased legal and compliance costs, greater risk to maintenance workers’ safety, and brand deterioration. A company’s only defense is to ensure higher equipment reliability and a clear record of all maintenance activities, so they can proactively take action to prevent unplanned downtime that could affect their bottom line.

Plant maintenance and equipment failure analysis stretches across departments, divisions, regions, and even different organizations. You need to include all appropriate stakeholders, both within and outside of the organization, in collaborative processes that make it easy to track any information gathered along the way.

Collecting, storing, and retrieving all this data is critical to resolving an unplanned equipment failure. For example, vibration analysis, nondestructive testing results, and digital images should all be stored with the equipment data. This way, maintenance planners can more easily analyze relevant information to determine what improvements the regularly scheduled maintenance needs and improve maintenance frequency.

  • Having plant maintenance hierarchy and associated content – such as images of failed components – available from a single interface can cause the epiphany moment that makes you change the required lubrication frequency of a machine, thus extending the component’s run life
  • Accessing historical vibration analysis results allows you to replace a bearing before it fails, ensuring a shorter, planned outage rather than a lengthy, unplanned repair that might also cause collateral damage

A big-data strategy that integrates all relevant content with your plant operations means you can:

  • Enhance internal and external collaboration around plant maintenance
  • Improve equipment reliability
  • Reduce outages and costs due to a simplified process for collecting, storing, and retrieving maintenance information
  • Improve failure analysis and reporting
  • Increase regulatory compliance and reduce legal exposure through better records management, traceability, and auditability