Return on assets: To the max!
Users are selecting condition-monitoring solutions that live on an open database platform
By Greg Hood and Wil Chin
The higher the RONA, the better the profit performance is for the company.
In today’s global marketplace, competitive manufacturing and production companies understand an asset management program is critical to staying competitive and maximizing return on net assets (RONA).
While the RONA equation is relatively straightforward, the factors going into the equation are ever changing.
We will look at the expanding definition of asset management, describe the necessary capabilities of a modern asset management solution, and explain how best to implement a solution that features integrated condition monitoring technology.
Modern asset management technologies and processes touch almost every aspect of a corporation, including operations, maintenance, and finance. Historically, assets managed referred to physical machines.
Now, companies manage physical and nonphysical assets including machinery, spare parts, consumable fuels, raw materials and excess capacity, and others.
Almost any company can improve its effectiveness by adding a single dimension to its asset management program: data integration.
Ensuring maximum uptime of critical equipment, condition-monitoring software gathers data from existing control and process systems. Actionable output then transmits to a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and/or to operators, maintenance, or other appropriate personnel.
RONA= (Net Income / (Fixed Assets + Net Working Capital))
Funnel data on conditions
The first step to adding condition monitoring to an asset management program is to conduct a formal reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) study of existing assets.
The objective of an RCM study is to understand and document each asset in the facility with respect to its criticality, function, and optimum output. Then, appropriate levels of diagnostic monitoring can work to achieve the greatest return on available investment dollars and provide a framework for later expansions.
Once the RCM study is complete, the next step is to select a condition monitoring software solution that provides some necessary capabilities. Not only is fixed asset data capture important, but the condition monitoring software must gather and integrate data from the plant’s control systems and process historians, perform analysis, and communicate vital information to other systems automatically. The system should also offer an intuitive interface, such as a hierarchy tree, that provides simple access to further levels of detailed asset information.
Asset information may include a link to a physical location or piece of external system equipment, allowing the condition monitoring software and other external systems to share component information.
This data sharing enables automatic annunciation of the information to plant personnel and CMMS, creating a closed-loop system. This data integration and backup is a critical addition to an asset management program.
To enhance value further, condition-monitoring systems should use open database platforms such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server nonproprietary data formats and data import specifications. These specifications allow the information to format so it can import to the condition monitoring software database.
It is also important the condition monitoring software support management and analysis of different types of data in order for the system to use plant wide data sources. The software should accept numerous data types and allow user-defined units, further enabling system integration.
Most condition monitoring software solutions provide standard vibration and process/numeric data types for collection of vibration data, such as magnitude/vector, spectral, and time waveforms.
In addition, any candidate software should have the capability to calculate new data from the existing vibration and process data, and perform calculations, such as averaging and frequency extraction.
Control system integration
While historically condition monitoring has been a maintenance function, these systems now need to provide accurate, fast, and straightforward machine condition information to plant-floor operators as well.
When condition-monitoring systems integrate with the control system, machine information can be spread plant wide.
At the sensor level, the condition monitoring system integrates data into the control platform, providing a way to move less complex diagnostic capabilities to the programmable automation controller (PAC). With the PAC’s computing capabilities, additional advanced diagnostics take place in near real time.
Previously, an overall or direct vibration reading and a simple alarm indicated a problem existed. Now, advanced integrated systems can give operators detailed information on any alerts, such as bearing one shows early stages of wear, verify by adding lubrication to the bearing, and rechecking the system diagnostics.
In addition to providing useful information earlier, an integrated system helps eliminate duplication of configuring, alarming, and trending within the enterprise.
As well, by integrating condition monitoring within a control system environment we can save money. Sensors can wire directly to input and output relays, eliminating the need to restrict each hardware channel to one sensor.
For example, if one eight-channel monitor is operating—instead of wiring a dedicated sensor to each channel—simply wire multiple sensors into the controller relays.
The controller then manages which eight sensors are active at a given time, enabling the monitor to collect data from multiple sensors sequentially. This helps decrease the price-per-point monitored and uses common control system components rather than application-specific, proprietary hardware.
Maximize equipment uptime
Many companies looking to maximize RONA are turning to integrated condition monitoring.
As part of a comprehensive asset management program, condition monitoring helps gather the data needed by operators and maintenance personnel to keep critical equipment up and running efficiently.
To enhance further an asset management program, companies are selecting condition-monitoring solutions that are on an open database platform and have features such as standard vibration data types, the power to perform calculations, and the ability to integrate seamlessly with the plant-floor control and process systems.
These capabilities and high level of integration provide accurate, fast, and straightforward machine condition information that helps maximize asset equipment uptime.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Greg Hood (firstname.lastname@example.org) manages software design, marketing, and global sales for the integrated condition monitoring business at Rockwell Automation. Wil Chin (email@example.com) is Research Director Automation at ARC Analyst Group. He works on process measurement technologies, plant asset management, wireless field devices, and field-device communication protocols.
RONA is return on net assets and is a measure of financial performance of a company, which takes the use of assets into account. It is (profit after tax) / (fixed assets + working capital)
Net income is profit. It is the money remaining after all expenses and taxes are paid.
Fixed assets are those that produce revenue and are not for sale like office furniture, vehicles, and factory equipment.
Net working capital is current assets minus current liabilities.