Plant management becomes reality

From software and hardware to facilities and equipment, smart management of a company’s assets has long been proven to significantly benefit a company’s profitability.

In the area of process instrumentation however, there have not been any tools to effectively manage these assets over their entire lifespan.

Many engineers and plant managers find it difficult to know exactly how often each of their instruments needs to be calibrated or how many hours of a technician’s time is taken to ensure continuous operation.

Instrument failure may lead to costly downtime for a plant and adversely affect the company’s bottom line.

Endress+Hauser has developed an integrated suite of tools for plant asset management (PAM).

According to the company, the tools may be used for existing plants as well as for greenfield projects.

The company’s PAM ‘tool box’ comprises four integrated systems: Installed Base Assistant for existing plants, Applicator Selector for new projects, FieldCare, and Web-enabled Asset Management.

A plant’s pipe and instrument drawings (PIDs) are invariably outdated soon after commissioning.

The problem is even more severe in older plants, many of which do not even have PIDs.

According to the company, the Installed Base Assistant (IBA) allows managers of existing plants to get an accurate report, similar to a plant audit, on the status of their installed base of instruments.

The company’s factory-trained technicians survey the customer’s plant, identifying the various process instruments and possibly control elements such as valves and drives.

This may range from 1,000 to 10,000 tags.

The technicians record a host of details including tag and model number, manufacturer, vintage and status based on a visual and electrical check.

IBA’s risk assessment database allows users to determine the critical measuring points and draw up plans for scheduled and preventive maintenance of the instruments where required, according to the manufacturer.

The second component of the company’s PAM ‘tool box’ is the Applicator Selector. Project engineers use this software to determine the most suitable instrument for each application.

Once the selection is verified by an engineer and a purchase order is issued by the project, the data is uploaded and sent to a factory where instrument production commences.

At its ‘birth’, a unique serial number is generated and attached to the device enabling it to be tracked during the manufacturing process, through its years of use and to its ‘death’ or replacement.

Being a web- based system, customers can use the unique serial number to access, download or print all information related to an instrument.

FieldCare, the third component, is the company’s FDT/DTM based PAM system that can be used to commission and troubleshoot instruments from multiple vendors.

FieldCare features W@M connectivity and coordinates all information management requirements throughout the system’s life cycle.

FieldCare can draw data from Applicator Selector thereby eliminating the need to re-enter tag numbers.

The fourth element of the PAM ‘tool box’ is Web-enabled Asset Management, which holds complete and detailed records of all instruments giving licenced customers secure, password-protected access to information on their assets.

According to the company, the system records the full life cycle statistics of all instruments and currently holds data on over five million devices.

John Immelman

Managing Director

Endress+Hauser Australia

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