It is every industrial engineer’s dream to achieve maximum efficiency and virtually eliminate downtime. By equipping your maintenance personnel with intuitive handheld devices from Honeywell, machine issues can be spotted before they develop into complete breakdowns.
“Companies are under intense pressure to operate and maintain their plants within a budget, which really amplifies the importance of the operator’s actions in the field,” said Paul Brice, director of advanced solutions for Honeywell Process Solutions. “When an asset exceeds critical operating limits, the appropriate actions are not always apparent to the operator, and the wrong decision could have a wide range of consequences. Field Advisor ensures the operator considers operating limits up front, which can improve overall production.”
Honeywell’s Field Advisor is a combination of the company’s flexible OneWireless network, the handheld Dolphin mobile computer device, and critical asset management software acquired from Shell Global Solutions is operating within safe limits.
The system works by downloading specific tasks and instructions for the operator onto the mobile device. Once a task is complete, results can be uploaded remotely for information sharing with operations, maintenance and other plantwide teams. By integrating diagnostic data with a decision support system, increased process uptime, asset availability and user productivity result. Customers using Honeywell also have reported that Field Advisor allows their supervisors to plan shift workloads more effectively and improves training of new operators.
MAG released a similar product in October 2010. Its Freedom eWARE software suite is a five-module platform that claims to provide performance, utilization and availability feedback from any industrial asset on the plant floor.
Data from CNC machines and PLC devices that do not have a standard PC interface are tapped into by eConnect, MAG’s data collection hub, which then sends information to the five software platforms. The first platform, eCELL, facilitates management of cell resources and operations to improve production flow. The second, eENERGY, alerts manufacturing teams of peak energy and utility usages. The third, eLOG, categorizes the day into six different times: plant shutdown, scheduled downtime, delay time, repair time, not-in-cycle process time and in-cycle time. Also, eLOG allows management to develop and print reports of the different activities; the fourth platform, eMONITOR, analyzes and displays data on machine and process conditions, such as vibration, temperature and pressure, to catch maintenance issues, while the fifth, eVIEW, works with all other platforms to reduce the time needed for diagnosis and repair.
Without needing any time-consuming modification to ladder logic or part programming, eWARE easily can transform plant data into actionable information. Once in place, eWARE makes manufacturing conditions transparent, which enables operational excellence ventures to be spotted more quickly and implemented more easily than before.
Jessica Jeppsson holds bachelor's degrees in industrial engineering and in operations and supply chain from North Carolina State University. She currently is employed as a solution engineer for a software company.