Finding gold in the IIoT with APM

Industrial organizations have seen an influx of data through smart sensors and connected devices powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This increase in data enables great potential to drive smarter decisions, but without the tools or the resources to make sense of the information, companies are faced with data overload.

This we all know.

Enterprise Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions easily integrate with existing systems to enable companies to reach the next level of maintenance maturity and become more proactive while building on current investments. Whether that is moving from a reactive to a condition-based or a predictive maintenance strategy, this evolution ultimately results in better maintenance planning, reduced costs and increased asset reliability, availability and performance.

For companies with limited resources or manpower, a remote monitoring service for APM can supplement existing resources while reducing capital expenditures and the total cost of ownership. According to LNS Research, services associated to APM are in high demand—the most popular IIoT use case for 2017 is remote monitoring. But the question is, what is Asset Performance Management-as-a-service? 

APM-as-a-service involves a solution provider that remotely monitors a customer’s industrial assets. Typically, the engineers monitoring the assets use predictive-asset analytics software to provide early notification and fault-diagnostics guidance to customers. This capability alerts them of pending equipment issues days, weeks or months before failure.

The level of services varies based on customer need. As an example of the service offerings available in the marketplace, Schneider Electric offers three levels of service:

1. Startup Services: Engineers provide monitoring from a remote center for a short period of time, providing a bridge of services prior to handover to the customer, supplementing the existing monitoring team and training them on best practices.

2. Remote Monitoring Services: Engineers based in a remote monitoring center diagnose issues ranging from failed sensors to equipment damage and communicate those issues to the onsite maintenance team to take action.

3. Full Services: Companies can contract out comprehensive remote monitoring as well as full-service maintenance execution, providing complete APM for the customer, from data collection to equipment servicing.

As an example of a company using this type of service, Basin Electric now uses a remote-monitoring service to provide early warning notification of potential failure at five of their combined-cycle and natural gas plants. According to Kevin Tschosik, manager of distributed generation at Basin Electric, “This system can detect subtle anomalies, such as step changes in any of the combustion turbine processes, before traditional operational alarms. This should increase both our reliability and availability for the combustion turbine sites and our combined-cycle plant, preventing high repair costs.”

Each of the three approaches described above enable companies to maximize their return on assets while reducing capital expenditures and upfront costs. This type of service model is ideal for companies looking to leverage the IIoT when constrained by limited resources. Organizations can take advantage of their existing industrial data and move to a proactive maintenance model. Advantages include optimized maintenance schedule and improved asset availability, all while keeping costs low.

Kim Custeau is the global director of information and asset management software solutions, industry business at Schneider Electric