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Fine-tuning asset management and predictive maintenance to deliver real value

The role of asset models, maintenance-oriented algorithms, on-the-ground experience and passion to get the most of the industrial asset performance

By Eduardo Ingegneri  LinkedIn
Global Product Manager
ABB Ability™ Asset Vista Condition Monitoring

About the author
Eduardo is globally responsible for one of the most exciting solutions of Industry 4.0. A disruptive technology to monitor and predict failures of valuable industrial assets. Experienced in power, automation and services industries, across product management, commercial, engineering and application areas. Managing multi skilled teams, performed on mining, chemical, petrochemical, pulp & paper, metals, water and automotive industries.

From passion to profession – no shortcuts

When people ask me how I came to my role at ABB, I give them an extremely professional answer. But if I am being truthful, the passion for the work that I do began in the lazy Sundays of my childhood. 

I can remember settling down to watch TV with my parents and uncles, when a Formula One race came on. Ayrton Senna was driving at the top of his game and instantly, I was hooked. But it was more than just the excitement of racing –– I became fascinated with how cars work.

From then on, my mission became understanding every detail of a car’s internal workings. I was interested in everything: from how the tires roll on the tarmac to the engine, with all its cooling systems and control units.  This was a pre-internet age, so my data sources were limited, and I started reading everything I could get my hands on. Later, I started quizzing my father’s former colleagues, who came from the automotive industry.  I began building logical models in my mind, carrying my curiosity to other kinds of transportation: planes, trains, ships, and then finally, to industrial machinery.


Fast-forward to today and everything about my role at ABB makes genuine use of that natural curiosity. Except now my focus is on the internal workings of our customers’ facilities and one of my chief responsibilities is the industrial asset management solution called ABB Ability™ Asset Vista Condition Monitoring.  

In fact, the way I explain the solution to people also makes use of Formula One –– the operators and managers are the pit crew, keeping their assets on track. They have their complex dashboards to monitor, with telemetric data transmitted from many different sources, needing to be put into context and used to inform better, faster decision-making.

So, when people ask me why asset maintenance is so crucial to industrial processes, I just ask them to compare an industrial facility to the complexity of a F1 racing car. Imagine how quickly a high-powered vehicle would spin off the track if it didn’t have the support of an expert crew, making the right calls at the right time. Because, as anyone who followed the career of Ayrton Senna knows, making the wrong maintenance decisions can have very grave consequences. 

But with more advanced digital reporting at their fingertips, today’s industrial teams can decide on the best time to increase power, “change the tires” or perform maintenance. And my role in all of this? It’s another act of translation: taking our customers’ needs and turning them into solutions that truly add value.

Getting what you need on your own terms

So, let’s talk about what value means.  

When I look at my car or my computer, I can’t help customizing and “fine-tuning” them for very specific needs and to get the most of their performance (or at least more than most people realize is possible).

When I look at the range of the new digital solutions available to industrial maintenance & reliability managers, I see no other company in the world doing it better than ABB - holistically and tailored to the industry.  We’ve got a long history of creating not only equipment, but complex systems that can stand up to the intense industrial use, also servicing them and working closely with maintenance people. Much more is possible when “fine-tuning” the whole fleet of assets’ performance (compared to the solutions focused on individual pieces of equipment).  The ultimate goal? Transforming the data from layers and layers of assets spread around your sites into something meaningful. Information that saves time, money and lives.

It's not just a matter of having a lot of processing power, it’s about having the expertise to know how to contextualize very specific knowledge and create tools that make our customers’ processes easier and more intuitive.

The way I think of it is this: you can trust the data because you can trust the people behind the data models and algorithms. And that requires communication on the highest level.




Creating a common language

While an intuitive interface is crucial, it’s also not the whole story. Part of my role when I’m out in the field with customers is to remove silos, not just when it comes to data, but also between different industrial specialists.  

For example, while a process control operator might receive an alarm about equipment in poor condition, this information is of little help if they’re not connected via an integrated maintenance system or there’s not some kind of dashboarding through to the maintenance guys.  

On the other side, the IT guys are just collecting the data and inputting into algorithms, but they don't have that boots-on-the-ground maintenance background. It’s only when these departments are properly connected –– in every way –– that customers start to see results.

These kind of communication problems can often only become obvious when you nurture long-term customer connections. My ‘check-ins’ with longstanding clients are how I discovered a lack of domain knowledge was preventing some of our customers from understanding what their data really means. And the solutions to this type of problem doesn’t have to be complex. In some of the cases I had evaluated, the solution was something that we could implement very easily, like adding a couple of sensors or simply monitoring temperature and vibration information. This kind of holistic evaluation is where I think ABB really shines.

Developing context

For me, the continuing development data contextualization is where a lot of our customers will see the most value. This means combining the sophistication of AI and digital analysis with more traditional analysis, completed by human experts. For this method –– what I call “the oracle approach” –– we need to have data that is more structured and integrated between systems, which also takes into account that data formatting can often be as unique as the facility it came from. From, there, we can build algorithms and create correlations that are applied to every model and used for generic application. This is the great challenge of Asset Vista. 

We build models to be reusable and easily applicable to the data available onsite. So, when we put algorithms to work in the real world, I need to connect every single signal to the control network in order to return the required measurements. And, of course, data is also coming from new technologies ––we’re seeing huge development on the nanotechnology side. So, as we are able to collect more information on the processing side, we’re developing new and better ways to collect data and perform fleet analysis –– it’s an exciting time for predictive and prescriptive solutions. And it’s an exciting time to be at ABB.

 


70 maintenance-oriented algorithms designed with RCA, FTA, FMEA, FMECA and RCM requiring process & industrial knowledge vs. general monitoring & statistical analysis

Asset model Libraries Suite

Fine-tuning the future

If my younger self could see what I’m doing today, I think he’d be thrilled. I get to take on challenges that drill down into every part of the business, co-creating solutions that make substantive differences to customers’ efficiency, productivity and safety.

At ABB, we make that commitment to understand the customer’s pain points from the inside out. Being close to the user and their asset anomalies, then using our expertise to connect the disparate stories, historical data and viewpoints –– that’s how ABB does business. And, like any good pit crew, we work with full transparency, full collaboration and 100% focus on the win. That’s what value means to me. 


What does value mean to you? Let's get practical about it  >> http://new.abb.com/mining/digital


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