18 June, 2018

The online advantage

02 September, 2014

Hydraulics & Pneumatics spoke with Dave Manning-Ohren, condition monitoring manager at ERIKS UK, about the benefits of online monitoring as part of a company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul regime. Any condition monitoring strategy has to start with looking at the criticality of the plant and the failure modes that are to be expected from particular pieces of equipment. A host of issues related to vibration, temperature, speed, pressure and airflow or hydraulic oil ingress etc. have to be taken into account to avoid equipment failure and resultant production downtime wherever possible. Regular on-site inspections are therefore important. However, due to their time-consuming nature and the fact that equipment failure could potentially occur, say, as soon as the day after an on-site inspection has taken place, ERIKS’ Dave Manning-Ohren believes online monitoring has to be considered as a viable complementary option. While online condition monitoring systems were outside the available maintenance, repair and overhaul budgets of many companies just a few years ago, Manning-Ohren explains that there are now a number of effective online condition monitoring solutions available for less than £1000,” explained Manning-Ohren. “These can be permanently online, depending on what type of plant and equipment the user has on site, and the data acquired can quite easily be relayed to, and stored in, a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), PLC (programmable logic controller) or BMS (Building Management System).” Cloud option Although SCADA and PLC systems might be capable of carrying sizeable amounts of condition monitoring and other engineering-related information, quite often the level of data communication required is considerably high. Moreover, on some of the older SCADA and PLC models the throughput might be slower than a modern 3G modem. Consequently, Manning-Ohren believes a Cloud or an externally hosted system connected via 3G or 4G or straightforward broadband is a highly compelling option worth serious consideration. “Taking the hosted route means condition monitoring data can be stored on a system that is outside the user company’s network,” he explained. “It is therefore available on a separately hosted system that individual people such as the maintenance engineer or the equipment manufacturer can buy seats to access remotely. Through all authorised personnel being able to access this single up-to-date source of conditional data at any given time remotely, this ensures they are able to make the best informed maintenance decisions.” Manning-Ohren added that another benefit of the hosted option is that all parties concerned are only able to access data related to condition monitoring. “There is no risk of them inadvertently accessing data on a server that is of a sensitive nature, such as non-disclosure agreements, sensitive data etc.,” he said. As part of a Cloud-hosted regime deployed to monitor the condition of more high-value equipment, RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags can be installed in required locations. These facilitate maintenance routines specific to the location and the technician inspecting the equipment. “Putting in place this type of methodology, a Cloud-based database of maintenance routines can be established,” explained Manning-Ohren. “This could include test values, alarms, check items, process and condition monitoring information, along with RFID plant/equipment/area identification, and inspection routes written based on visit frequency and the skills necessary for the tasks and routines.” Once the RFID tags are embedded, on subsequent visits the engineer can carry a data acquisition device, preloaded with the route and supplementary information (risk assessments, method statements, COSHH information etc.). “The software will then produce a list of tasks at each location, to be performed on the particular piece of equipment or in the specified area,” said Manning-Ohren. “As each one is completed it is entered into





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