Process management made easier

Related tags Maintenance

Industrial measurement equipment provider Endress+Hauser has
developed a comprehensive service to help production managers
handle the lifecycle of their plant equipment better. Predictive
maintenance is much less expensive than unplanned maintenance from
the failure of a critical instrument.

Three different components have been developed for this purpose, which support the complete life cycle management of measuring equipment from the planning stage, throughout commissioning, right through to periodic and predictive maintenance. The three components are a selection and sizing tool, a complete software package for verification, configuration and diagnostics and a checking and simulation tool.

The selection and sizing tool, called Applicator, provides an easy to operate selection aid that enables the user to find the best suitable measuring instrument for any type of application, simply by providing rough process details. From this information, the correct instrument is selected and the appropriate technical information is supplied.

Applicator is based on a completely database-oriented structure, where the evaluation of the databases is performed and contained in the user platform. All other information is contained in an instrument database, a fluid database and a standards database. Changes or additions of instrument structures or specifications are updated quickly and easily in the respective databases and are instantly available to the user.

The verification software, FieldTool, considers the configuration structure of the measuring instrument and works with known navigation aids such as MS Explorer. Working with FieldTool requires a service interface (FXA193), with which a PC is connected to the service port in the terminal chamber of the measuring instrument.

And finally, the checking and simulation tool, FieldCheck, is a validation tool for the checking of the entire measuring point. With the support of intelligent check routines in the transmitter, it is also possible to perform a verification of the sensor.

The test results for up to 50 measuring points are stored in the FieldCheck and can be archived and documented with FieldTool. FieldTool enables the comparison of validations over a period of several years and this provides valuable references to the customer for regular calibration checks.

Life cycle management of any capital equipment on a process plant is increasingly coming under much closer scrutiny in modern plant design. The capital cost of any equipment, including instrumentation, can be just a small amount of the total lifetime cost.

Although designers may not be too concerned with total life cycle costs, end users certainly are. Modern measuring instruments are therefore not only expected to perform better with less maintenance, but manufacturers of these instruments are expected to have techniques for checking and verifying the performance of them with minimal effort and disruption to the process.

Endress+Hauser​ claims that of the maintenance work carried out today, 30 per cent is unnecessary preventative maintenance. In addition to this, more than 60 per cent is corrective maintenance work, i.e. after the problem occurs and therefore not planned.

Unplanned maintenance, which can result in plant shutdowns due to a failed instrument, can be extremely expensive in lost production terms. Both these types of maintenance can be greatly reduced with new approaches such as predictive maintenance.

Every potential instrument failure that can be recognised early and avoided makes an investment in instrumentation and software with these facilities more valuable. This investment can be seen as a type of insurance, with which the plant down time can be reduced keeping production costs to a minimum and therefore profits as high as possible.

Related topics Processing & Packaging

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