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Prioritising asset performance for Industry 4.0 transformation

20 July 2016

By Fabrice Jadot, Innovation & Technology SVP – CTO at Schneider Electric

As industry 4.0 takes hold and organisations the world over become more connected, being able to integrate and exploit information in a real-time, will be essential to maintaining market share and rising above the competition.

With the increase in highly complex industrial operations, businesses have quickly learned that the best way to manage this complexity is to train specialists in key areas of the operation. As a result, for plants in asset-intensive industries, asset performance management (APM) is of growing importance.

The life cycle performance of an organisation’s automation assets is imperative for improving time to production, safety, operational and maintenance efficiency, and overall productivity of a business. As such asset performance management solutions must be a significant consideration and will form a key pillar in digital transformation success.

From reactive to predictive

Asset performance seeks to migrate the industrial sector from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance. Industry organisations achieve this not only by managing the asset itself, but by managing its performance as well.

Periodic daily, weekly, monthly or annual maintenance cycles can be supplemented by real-time monitoring of plants. This may, for example, flag an alarm that maintenance may be required in a couple of hours’ time. By looking at different data types collected from these assets, managers can look at the individual profiles of the asset in question and identify problems either with the asset itself, or with the process.

The lifecycle cost of an asset is roughly five to 15 times that of its original purchase cost, so it is important to both manage these assets and ensure that organisations get the best performance from them.

Doing so, the cost of inventory holdings can be reduced by between 20 and 50 per cent, the cost of maintenance can be reduced by 10 to 40 per cent and machine downtime can be reduced by 30 to 50 per cent. These are the quantified benefits of digital transformation based on studies conducted by McKinsey Management Consultants.

As an information-centric platform, asset performance can be boosted by fitting secondary low cost wireless sensors which can provide additional data on top of that provided primary wired sensors and actuators for example. This can deliver insightful information-centric analytics.

Better insight equals peak productivity

Asset information management provides better insight and tracking around assets and their life cycle. Remote services for machines reduces maintenance cost and optimises machine performance through connectivity. Remote monitoring and optimisation encourages migration from reactive to predictive maintenance with analytics.

Avoiding unnecessary and costly maintenance while preserving the vital parts of a process based on its usage and environment, is critical to the asset performance pillar. Being able to predict is therefore key. The objective here is to maximise operational up time through early detection, to minimise maintenance costs by reducing unnecessary maintenance, and to improve overall productivity by improving decision making process response time.

For more information, please contact:

Schneider Electric Ltd
Stafford Park 5
Tel:  0870 608 8 608
Fax:  0870 608 8 606
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