As with just about everything else, asset performance management (APM) is undergoing significant change. Terry O’Hanlon at Reliability Web defines APM as “A holistic approach and dynamically connected technologies to manage assets and the value they generate. APM matrixes at the business/managing system level to align asset management policy and strategic asset management plan to organizational objectives.”
Too right. That alignment delivers even greater value when there is enough warning from predictive maintenance to give those business functions time to plan around downtime instead of just doing damage control. The overall value to the organization from APM increases dramatically when there is enough time for operations and supply chain action to mitigate downtime’s impact. With a longer prediction window comes a broader range of mitigation options.
In polymers, re-scheduling can avoid excessive transitions without missing orders. In chemicals, we can plan around events to avoid demurrage costs. In refining, we might consider different crudes to compensate for lost capabilities. There is also the ability to use maintenance events as an opportunity to pull in maintenance items in order to reduce the turnaround scope.
The tools of the trade for APM are undergoing an enormous transformation as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are serving as a force multiplier for asset experts, as well as enabling a new generation of workers to quickly become effective. We’re embedding AI and machine learning in our APM solutions in a manner that makes them essentially transparent to the user. Technologies like condition monitoring for equipment are being augmented with predictive process analytics that warn of overly aggressive operations that could degrade asset integrity and lead to unexpected downtime. Asset and process alarms are consolidated and being evaluated in terms of their relative impact to the balance sheet, and the risk to life and the environment. This keeps asset performance aligned with the business needs and priorities.
APM may well play a role in determining the availability and cost of operations disruption insurance by protecting against unplanned downtime where most accident happen and the greatest damage to the environment occurs. Many operating companies are running operations in new ways in response to Covid-19. That represents new risks to the equipment and its operators. Companies need to quickly identify if any of those new operating conditions are degrading the asset and adjust accordingly.
APM is undergoing a rapid transformation that will make it an indispensable tool to improve margins, safety and environmental compliance for asset intensive operations.
For more information, download the new Executive Brief: Predictive Maintenance Takes on Operational Risk.