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Special Report: Drive out downtime with data

by Guest on May 16, 2018


An effective reliability-centred maintenance programme will keep these pumpjacks operating smoothy with minimum downtime.
An effective reliability-centred maintenance programme will keep these pumpjacks operating smoothy with minimum downtime.

Maximum asset availability with minimal risk. This has long been the goal for oil and gas operations. But, achieving it has historically been more of an art than a science for many companies because they lacked a crucial component: insight into equipment performance metrics.

Nowadays, a shortage of operations and performance data is no longer the issue. Many operators today are collecting an abundance of data as they create a digital oilfield. Oil and gas producers are eager to take it to the next level and use data from their equipment, devices and systems as part of a reliability-centred maintenance (RCM) programme – so they can identify and programmatically and methodically address failures before they occur.

However, an RCM strategy isn’t simply about collecting data. You need to make sure you get the right data from the right sources. And, you need to consistently monitor and perform analysis to create a continuous improvement approach to reliability maintenance. This approach will help your workers track health and performance of systems and equipment, identify and address failures before they occur, reduce operational risks and ultimately achieve your desired business results.

Optimise performance

The journey to proactive and predictive maintenance can be a bumpy road, especially when you have hundreds of thousands of devices in the field. Other challenges you face – like an ageing workforce, security risks and decades-old equipment – only complicate matters further.

But there are ways to simplify the effort. An effective, data-driven RCM strategy can help you maximise equipment performance, minimise downtime, and reduce safety, security and also environmental risks.

Operations grow and evolve over time. As a result, you may not have a complete picture of all the devices and assets deployed across your operations.

That’s why an analysis of your installed equipment and systems is a critical first step. The output of this analysis is an inventory of all your equipment assets and devices, maintenance practices, and failure modes. An evaluation of your installed base will tell you what specific technologies you have in place, and identify the status of each of these technologies as current, legacy or obsolete. It can also help you understand the condition of your critical assets and devices – including the network technologies that your operations increasingly rely upon.

The identification of equipment failures and common failure modes from your work order data is a key outcome of the installed-base analysis. It gets to the heart of your RCM strategy: learning from past failures to predict future failures. This, combined with ongoing condition-based monitoring of assets, will allow you to proactively address failing assets, rather than reactively responding to failures.

The proliferation of Industrial Internet of Things devices in oil and gas – from sensors to smart machines – allow you to automate data collection from virtually any point in your process. A unified network architecture can help you avoid “islands” of information. And it can give workers real-time access to that information from anywhere, anytime. Finally, analytics software can combine your real-time performance data and historical maintenance data into useful, contextualised information for workers.

Many technologies and services are available to help you manage your information and support on-site staff. Service providers, such as Rockwell Automation, provide ways to automate data collection processes to collect identity and health data from your networked devices. Data is then modelled with asset-management information to trigger events and send alerts for proactive maintenance.

With your failure-mode findings in hand, real-time production information accessible and industry experts from a third-party service provider available, building an RCM strategy can be simple.


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