Factories, plants and refineries are complex structures spread on huge areas with hundred thousand, even millions of tagged equipment inside, which have to be maintained from time to time. In other words, maintenance and repair work is needed for existing systems and equipment already in place. In order to manage such maintenance activities software packages like SAP, Maximo are widely used. Such software keeps the record of each tagged item and their maintenance schedule and relevant information.
According to the planned maintenance schedule, maintenance staff takes the necessary actions on the predefined physical devices at the field. Typically, for each maintenance task there are predefined attributes like; how long the maintenance takes, which tool to be used, what to do, etc.
In order to have an effective maintenance management, maintenance durations per each task should be defined properly, or else the next maintenance may shift, so there may be delays. Delay means pause of one section of the plant, pause means no production, therefore all these ends up with loss of profit. This is one of the most critical issues in maintenance management. The maintenance engineer who receives the work order (a means of communication of maintenance, repair and installation needs) should reach to the related area in time and should find the item to be maintained easily in order not to lose time while searching the item in a huge zone. Usually the maintenance engineer searches the item by looking at the tag number plates, which may take time due to size of the area, plenty items in the same zone, non-visible tag plates due to weather conditions and such.
After finding the equipment, engineer should perform the task properly. He should have a deep knowledge and training to avoid mistakes which can be vital.
Here Smart Maintenance comes to stage… Smart Maintenance tells to the maintenance engineer exactly where the item to be maintained is and what to do, what is needed.
|Usual Action Performed||Difficulties / Risks||Actions Performed With Smart Maintenance||Advantages / Positive Inputs|
|Maintenance supervisor receives work order – either via phone call (in emergency cases) or in printed form generated from ERP (planned maintenance).||Dedicated personnel shall monitor the system and print out the work order and physically deliver to supervisor.||Maintenance supervisor receives work order – either via phone call (in emergency cases) or via smart device (mobile phone or tablet) generated from ERP (planned maintenance).||Cost saving (no paper and ink consumption and no personnel).|
|Maintenance supervisor reviews, approves and passes the printed work order form to the nominated engineer/technician/operator.||Nomination is done manually which takes time.||Maintenance supervisor reviews, approves and passes the work order to the free and specialized engineer/technician/operator by simply clicking a button on the smart device’s screen.||Time saving by instant work assignment. No paper delivery from hand to hand. Easy work assignment by viewing operators who are free and specialized for the subject work order.|
|Nominated engineer/technician/operator receives the verified work order form which has the details of the request (equipment tag to be repaired/maintained, time needed, tools required, manuals needed, etc.)||Waste of time while receiving the form. Printed form can be damaged (bad weather conditions) or can be lost.||Nominated engineer/technician/operator receives the verified work order via smart device (mobile phone or tablet) with all details of the request (equipment tag to be repaired/maintained, time needed, tools required, manuals needed, etc.)||No hassle of keeping and protecting the printed form.|
|Nominated engineer/technician/operator moves to the zone where the equipment is located and starts searching the equipment and finds the equipment.||Engineer/technician/operator cannot find the equipment (cause of huge and complicated factories, frozen and dirty tag plates) so loses time and cannot perform the task on time so all other queued work orders overlap/delay.||Nominated engineer/technician/operator moves to the zone where the equipment is located and directed to the equipment by the visual and audio instructions coming from the smart device.||No waste of time. No risk of delaying and overlapping to the next work order. No need to search the equipment. No need to clean the dirty or frozen tag plates. Eliminated risk of maintaining wrong equipment. Very easy for the operator.|
|Necessary repair/maintenance performed with the knowledge of the engineer/technician/operator.||Engineer/technician/operator uses his experience and knowledge. So experienced staff are needed who are more expensive. In some cases, operator may need to review the relative document/drawing/manual. He spends time in searching the document, can have difficulties in understanding (language barriers). Also can refer to a wrong document (previous version).||When the operator comes in front of the equipment to be repaired/maintained, without making any search, all needed information appears on the smart device (even videos where applicable). Operator completes his task by using this information.||No need to recruit highly experienced and so expensive operators. Minimized safety risks cause of lack of knowledge. Better performance in short time. Increased personnel satisfaction.|
|After the completion of the task, operator writes down the details (method/tools used) to the WO form.||Additional time needed and typing errors are likely to happen.||Operator enters data directly to the smart device either by using the keyboard or by voice typing.||Operator doesn’t need to take off his gloves as he can use voice typing. Data entry can be done faster. Also risks of unreadable hand typing is eliminated.|
|Operator brings the original form to the Maintenance Department.||Additional time needed. Also printed form can be lost.||Operator clicks to send button to release the form.||Simple, easy and time saving.|
|Maintenance Department performs the data entry to the ERP.||Manual data input needs additional time and cost increases cause of personnel need. Open to human error (typing mistakes or unreadable handwritten form). Data might be lost between departments. Tools used must be dropped from the warehouse stock which is additional task.||Data is already entered to ERP.||No need to keep data entry personnel. No risk of typing mistakes. No risk of unreadable texts. Automated stock control.|
|Maintenance Department archives the original form.||Space and preserving conditions are needed for the document achieve. Additional time needed and also cost increases cause of personnel need. Information may be lost cause of a fire or explosion or damage caused by humidity, bad archive conditions.||There is no hard copy in place, all are digital.||Cost and time saving. No need for additional space for archive. No need for additional personnel, lighting, air conditioning facilities which are compulsory for archives. No need to build up procedures for preserving and destroying.|