Understand Asset Health to Avoid Unplanned Downtime

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Assets don’t just die; they’re killed. So says Dan O’Brien, Honeywell’s strategy and marketing director for Honeywell Connected Plant. Operators can kill their assets by not understanding early signs of failure. “If you can head off those console alarms and shutdowns, you can improve reliability and decrease unplanned downtime,” O’Brien urges.

Honeywell Process Solutions has added a new tool to its Honeywell Connected Plant offering that allows process customers to do just that. Asset Performance Insight connects an operation’s assets and equipment to the cloud and applies analytical models from Honeywell and its partners to help customers better understand asset health to avoid unplanned downtime and unnecessary maintenance.

Though Honeywell has always had the ability to monitor the condition of the process, the new technology enables customers to connect to a wider set of assets, O’Brien told me during a conversation at ARC Industry Forum last month in Orlando, Fla. It takes the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to another level.

“IIoT for years was all about connectivity. That’s all water under the bridge now,” O’Brien said, explaining, “Connectivity isn’t the issue. It’s how to use that combination of connectivity to a wider range of assets and to a wider range of operators with a better range of analytics.”

Predictive analytics is not about absolute time-bound pieces of information, O’Brien added. “It’s about using a more forward-looking way to understand the performance of the asset in context with what you’re doing with it.”

With that goal in mind, industry has seen an increased focus lately on asset performance management (APM) strategies, which have become critical with increasing production demands and increased availability of data from devices throughout facilities. Because of increased demand, any unplanned downtime, equipment failure or unnecessary maintenance directly impacts a customer’s bottom line.

>>O’Brien writes about creating a smarter APM strategy in Automation World’s March IIoT supplement.

Operational and maintenance-induced equipment failures account for most of the unplanned downtime, according to Richard Shaw, general manager of Honeywell Connected Plant, harkening back to O’Brien’s point about assets being killed. With this in mind, industrial companies are turning to digital transformation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to make sense of huge amounts of data, Shaw added.

“We don’t have to educate customers to understand about approaching reliability differently,” O’Brien said. They are beginning to see the benefits of having a detailed understanding of the process. “Now our customers are starting to understand that they want to combine the health of the equipment with process operations to make sure they’re using the equipment most efficiently given the current asset health.”

Asset Performance Insight is the latest addition to Honeywell Connected Plant, which connects not only assets and their associated data, but people and processes as well. It’s an overarching concept that Honeywell has created to run through an enterprise, O’Brien said. Some other recent additions to the toolbox have included Immersive Competency, which combines mixed reality with data analytics to create a cloud-based simulation tool for training; and Personal Gas Safety, wearable gas detectors that integrate with Honeywell’s Experion Process Knowledge System.

Honeywell designed Asset Performance Insight to be rapidly deployed to customers through pre-configured templates, which are based on the company’s deep industry experience and real-world customer challenges enhanced with advanced analytics. “We have a breadth of connectivity, cybersecurity, people and process knowledge that uniquely differentiates us from the single-perspective competitors that we have,” O’Brien said. “And the backdrop is that process industry is our reason for existence.”