Param Chana discusses the aspects glass manufacturers should consider to help maintain valuable process equipment throughout its lifecycle.
Business leaders put in time and effort to ensure that the correct decisions are made in the procurement cycle and that the assets purchased will meet both the current and future demands of the business. In a glass plant, this cycle can take years of planning, design and construction, until the operation stage when the asset’s potential can finally be leveraged to competitive advantage.
In today’s world, this can present a huge investment. Having done the hard work to make certain that the asset’s performance achieves its highest possible returns, companies often fail to consider the long-term sustainability work pack needed to ensure that the asset continues to achieve its targeted productivity, efficiency, quality and performance. More importantly how can high performance be sustained or even improved?
Focus on goals
Achieving a business goal of maximising profits and overall value requires a balance between many factors. Companies that rely on automation systems must strive to get the most out of their operational assets, balancing their short and long term objectives. Successful operations focus on four key goals:
- Protecting critical investments by sustaining and extending the life of business critical production hardware and software systems.
- Maximising asset performance by focusing on production assets to optimise productivity and performance.
- Reducing total cost of ownership by balancing short term budgets with longer term needs to effectively manage overall costs.
- Improving operational performance by seeking proactive opportunities to improve overall operational performance.
Maintenance and recovery plans
Several factors are crucial to achieve efficient and cost-effective operation but high importance should be given to the flexibility to be able to reduce the risk of unplanned maintenance and quickly implement a pre-prepared recovery plan. Maintenance and recovery plan requirements should consider the following:
- Reliability of assets – what pre-planned maintenance can be implemented to limit production line stoppages where possible?
- Responsiveness of support – the punctuality of services to be performed in response to requests and scheduled services dates
- Procedure for reporting problems – who can be contacted, how will problems be reported, what will the escalation method be and what other steps can be taken to resolve issue?
- Monitoring and reporting service level – who will monitor performance, what data will be collected for performance statistics?
As part of the recovery plan, the following considerations should be reviewed and mitigated:
- Does the company have the necessary skill-set on site to fault find and diagnose the root cause of control system-related incidents?
- Are the necessary spares on site to rectify unexpected issues in a timely manner?
- What is the escalation path? If an issue cannot be resolved in-house and support is required outside of standard Monday to Friday office hours, is a delayed response acceptable?
- How much would loss of production cost per hour in the event of a line stoppage be outside of standard Monday to Friday office hours?
- What is the lead time for critical spares availability or repair – is it OK to wait for the parts to be manufactured and supplied. For example, the availability of hardware from some equipment providers can be over six weeks.
- Eurotherm mitigates these issues by providing services that can be made part of a Eurotherm Customer FIRST Service Level Agreement or Global Alliance Agreement.
Improve and benchmark the process
Modern systems with measurement, recording and archiving built-in allow analysis of data that can be used to compare energy usage, productivity and quality data, both in real-time and historically. These types of analytical functions can also be included as part of a Eurotherm Service Level Agreement.
After improvements have been made, benchmarking the process will enable users to spot previously unforeseen issues caused by ageing equipment, different batches of raw materials and different machine operations.
What can be done with data analytics?
Comparing live process data with historical benchmark data allows users to:
- Prevent process deviation and waste caused by different batches of raw materials
- Get notified when energy usage is escalating due to worn out components and equipment
- Calculate, predict and control emissions
- Plan ahead for maintenance to optimise OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness)
Data analytics can be utilised to make more informed maintenance and reliability decisions, giving insightful information on the asset. Eurotherm customers have found that diagnostic and predictive asset maintenance and optimisation plans improve performance, minimise process variability and reduce downtime.
With Eurotherm Customer FIRST lifecycle services, glass manufactures can gain competitive advantage derived from bespoke solutions with built-in diagnostic and predictive asset monitoring analytics. Highly trained product specialists can provide 24/7 monitoring that helps to maintain the asset in peak performance for improved availability.
Importance of industry experience
When selecting a service package, do not forget the value provided by a knowledgeable engineering team. How well will they understand a particular process, application and the goals the customer wants to achieve? Choosing Eurotherm as a service provider supplies an international, longstanding and dedicated service group, with vast experience in the glass industry. A full range of services offered that can be made part of a bespoke Eurotherm Customer FIRST Service Level Agreement, consisting of traditional services like 24/7 support, bonded spares, call-out etc, all interlocked with diagnostic and predictive services monitoring the asset.
With over 50 years’ experience in the glass industry, Eurotherm is well placed to help glass manufacturers maximise the availability of their assets.
By becoming a strategic partner, customers can gain peace of mind that they are maintaining their competitive edge and getting the most from their process throughout its life-cycle.
About the author:
Param Chana is Global Service Business Development Manager at Eurotherm by Schneider Electric.