How I solve downtimes in a flash: failure analysis from my pocket

Preventive maintenance: How do I pull a failure analysis out my pocket? I simply use an intelligent IIoT service – here’s how it works.

Every maintenance technician knows the situation! When you think that everything is under control – maybe you are carrying out planned repairs and or chatting with your team – then it suddenly happens.

A stoppage in production! Luckily, I’m not one to panic and I immediately start doing a proper failure analysis. But of course, the longer it takes, the more money it costs.

That’s why it’s such a relief to pull a failure analysis out my pocket! How do I do it? I simply use an intelligent IIoT service that provides the exact information I need. It’s easy to use – here’s how it works.

What makes downtimes so unnerving: spending a long time on failure analysis

Unexpected interruptions to production just happen – we all know it. The question to ask, though, is how can we keep the downtime as short as possible? In the past I wouldn’t have known how to get the failure analysis done faster. It was pretty clear what would happen. I would see an instrument error alert pop up on my screen in the control room and the whole procedure would start.

If I was lucky, the affected tag was for an asset that wasn’t too far away, so that I could simply walk there in a couple of minutes. More often than not, though, I needed to get my bike or car and it took a whole lot longer. When I finally arrived, I could see the error code in instrument’s display, but I seldom knew by heart what it meant – so I wasn’t finished with the failure analysis.

Next, I’d go all the way back to the control room and try to find the technical documentation. That involved searching in our local archive, on the manufacturer’s website or simply with Google. I’d normally end up with a 100 or more page pdf which had to be searched for the error code. If I was lucky, I would find the error code as well as some detailed failure information. It’s not always the case, but let’s assume I discovered some helpful hints. Great – failure analysis successfully completed, but now I had to get back to the asset and fix it. And on the way there I would be wondering how could I speed things up?

How to speed up failure analysis: access to information

In the past, the only thing I could have done to speed up the failure analysis would have been to run faster between the control room and the asset. But I guess everyone agrees that this wouldn’t have been an option. I realized that what really stole my time during the failure analysis was a lack of information. If I had simply known what the error code exactly meant when I was out there on site, I could have saved the time running backwards and forwards to the control room… You can imagine what a relief it was to finally find a solution that gives me access to the information I need no matter where I am.

IIoT solution: use a digital service to have information immediately at hand

If you are like me, you use your smartphone to check the weather, train times and anything else going on in the world. I asked myself, if I can do all this, why can’t I access the failure information of my error codes in the same way? That would speed up failure analysis and cut down the time I spent walking around the plant. Then I found it! The Netilion Health digital service delivers exactly the kind of support I was looking for.

Making life easier: failure analysis with Netilion Health

How does the Netilion Health service make my life a lot easier when I deal with unexpected production shutdowns? By simply providing helpful information online – what a boost for failure analysis. This is how it works. Netilion Health is connected to the assets in my production plant and with the Netilion Health web app. I can track asset health on anything I am using at the time – my PC in the control room, my laptop at a meeting and even my smartphone.  

So, nowadays, whenever we have an unexpected shutdown, I can use my smartphone to check directly what’s wrong with the asset issuing the error code. I can see the health condition of the asset and the failure information that I need to fix it. This makes failure analysis an awful lot easier. I can simply pull it out of my pocket no matter if I’m in the control room, at the instrument or anywhere else in the plant. I can save the time running backwards and forwards searching for information. And I can tell my boss that I’ve shortened the downtime tremendously – which to him means saving cash.

Having a permanent connection to my assets makes me feel secure

With an IIoT solution like Netilion Health I have two major advantages. Firstly, I have a constant connection to my assets. Most of the assets in an average plant are capable of being connected digitally. The connectivity is established with an edge device that I leased together with my Netilion Health plan. The edge device makes sure that the self-diagnosis information of my assets is periodically updated in my Netilion Health web app.

Secondly, the web app is like a source of knowledge in which I not only find the current status of my assets, but also deeper information on the steps needed to carry out maintenance or fix problems. This source of knowledge is available even if I can’t connect an asset via the edge device. There are always a couple of assets that can’t establish a connection, but that’s not a problem that would impede the failure analysis. In such cases, I enter the error code manually in the Netilion Health web app and it shows me all the information I need.

Thanks to all this, I can handle shutdowns more efficiently and much quicker. It’s great to pull the failure analysis out of my pocket. This also makes my boss very happy because he knows that I’ve lowered the costs resulting from downtimes quite a lot. Finally, at the end of the day, I have more time to carry out planned maintenance because the plant is under far better control than before.