Leveraging Visibility into OT and IoT Devices for Preventive Maintenance
Welcome to the last in our three-part series on digital transformation in operational technology (OT) environments (see parts one and two if you missed them). In this blog, we look at how organizations can use asset visibility to support preventive maintenance.
Let’s start by looking at how an energy company and a major international airport can leverage visibility into OT and IoT devices to eliminate operational issues and reduce costs through predictive maintenance.
LEVERAGING ASSET VISIBILITY TO IDENTIFY THE ROOT CAUSE OF PROBLEMS
Limited OT asset knowledge, coupled with long access times to geographically dispersed equipment and inadequate maintenance schedules, can actually reduce operational productivity.
An asset visibility solution is one of the most valuable investments an organization can make. Rich device data eliminates blind spots and allows companies to quickly identify the root causes of OT issues and resolve problems on an operational or security basis.
Take, for example, an energy company adding new equipment to its network. As the equipment was misconfigured, network congestion in the OT environment gradually increased over a year. This reduced throughput, shortened equipment lifetime, increased the amount and scope of repairs required, and raised operating costs.
By relying on the enriched device performance data provided by asset visibility tools, plant engineers were able to identify the root cause, correct misconfigurations and perform proactive maintenance. The actionable insights provided by asset visibility not only reduced downtime, but also enabled them to optimize.
USING CONDITION-BASED MONITORING FOR PREVENTIVE CARE
One of the keys to excellence is condition-based monitoring – a maintenance strategy that involves continuous monitoring of devices to determine their condition, including wear, deterioration and other relevant changes. By using sensors to monitor remote assets, organizations can use the resulting data insights to reduce the average time between failure and repair. While this does not qualify as predictive in the true sense, it can help identify emerging issues and allows operators to perform proactive maintenance.
For example, consider a major international airport with millions of passengers passing through each month. A single failure of the baggage handling system can severely degrade the customer experience, disrupt logistics and damage the operator’s reputation and profits. By monitoring processes such as the vibration and rotational speed of conveyor belts in real time, operations staff can better detect potential failures and take action before a system collapses.
USING ACTIONABLE INSIGHT TO AVOID THE FORESEEABLE
Predictive maintenance can help prevent foreseeable problems that can cost manufacturing, automotive, energy, oil and gas, mining, rail and other industrial operators millions of dollars. Here are some parameters that help ensure a good return on investment in asset visibility:
- Big data for process variables such as rotational speeds, vibration, fluid flow, temperature and oil analysis
- The process cycle should be long enough to build accurate predictive models.
- Focus on operations that are significantly affected by downtime, such as large plants where it would be impossible to shift production capacity to smaller facilities
The benefits of asset visibility and its impact on predictive maintenance is a real game changer, including
- Lower costs
- Greatly improved uptime
- Extended equipment life
- Reduced safety risks
This concludes our three-part series on the importance of OT visibility and security in your digital transformation journey.
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