• Dynamics Matters Podcast: Ep 29 - What smart maintenance is and how to get started

Dynamics Matters Podcast: Ep 29 - What smart maintenance is and how to get started

With our special guest, Bob Berry, Senior Solutions Architect - Manufacturing Sector, HSO 

The cost justification for Smart Maintenance to measure your assets

✔ How significant reduction can be achieved in both resource and production time

✔ And how to get started

Podcast summary:

What smart maintenance is and how to get started

If an asset you rely on to run your business breaks down, you've got to locate it and send workers to reach it, find the fault, then work out whether you can repair it or if it needs to be replaced. This all takes time and whilst the asset it down you are losing money.

Listen to this podcast to find out some great examples of where smart maintenance can add value, and some tips to help you decide whether it's right for your business.


Welcome, everyone to the HSO dynamics matters podcast, your regular Sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides, I’m Michael Lonnon and today I’m joined by HSO Solutions Architect and smart maintenance expert Bob Berry. Today’s podcast is about smart maintenance, what problems it helps solve and the benefits organisations gain before investing in it. When it comes to investment, what are the things you need to think about when putting your case together. I’m a simple fellow and I really wanted to get down to the beginning and find out what smart maintenance is at its heart, so grab a brew, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon

Tell me a little bit about smart maintenance – can you give me an overview?

Bob Berry

Smart maintenance is the next step in the evolution of maintenance for assets. The key initiative behind smart maintenance is understanding before things break and the key to this is to measure. New advantages in IoT technologies, network technologies mean we’re now able to measure things like vibrations, temperatures and flow through pipes at a much better granularity than we’ve ever been able to do.

Michael Lonnon

You talk about IoT and devices I guess what they’re doing is they’re taking information from the assets and It’s telling a database how the asset is working.

Bob Berry

Correct. Take your engine, we can measure several things to do with engines. RPM, temperature of your radiator, temperature of your transmission or oil. If I just measured those four things, I can see what the engine is doing at any point in time and because the network coverage is so vast, we can have real time telemetry. For Smart Maintenance here’s where the benefit versus the cost comes in. If I have near real time and collected data every 15 minutes or every hour on the hour, I have 24 points of reference. In real time, I could have 24,000 points of reference. It just depends on the frequency, the database I’m putting it in and how I want to measure it.

Michael Lonnon

So where is this information going and how is it managed?

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Bob Berry

The information typically has gone to a data lake and depends on again how often you ping in the type of asset you’re looking at. One of the things that you’re going to need is AI to sort through all of the information to only look at the things that are concerning you. Through the use of a Power BI platforms or Power Apps you will be able to sort through that massive amount of data.

Michael Lonnon

What benefit does that have? I imagine if you’re aware before something breaks and there is extreme cost, you’re effectively fixing it before it costs you a lot of money.

Bob Berry

There’s two different ways of looking at it. First is if I’m a manufacturer I’m making COVID vials, If I have a machine that goes down, everything stops, and my million ampules per day becomes 10,000 until I get that machine up and running again. A hospital heart monitor machine and I have an IOT device that looks at the energy and I see it’s not taking any energy, that patient could die from that, because I’m not monitoring them. It can be life or death. It can also be something that we take for granted like the pipeline for oil and gas. We saw in the US about a month ago where they had a hack that went on and shut down the pipeline. Well, let’s pretend that wasn’t a hack, let’s pretend it was a valve that got stuck in the closed position. You saw what a couple hours of disruption happened to the US on the east-southeast coast for that oil pipeline. Now, just imagine that you’re a refinery, and one of your major pieces of machinery is in the refining apparatus breaks. what’s the implication of that? Well, oil prices start to go up because your capacity went down, the sales of gasoline goes way up, because there’s no supply for that demand so that price goes up.

The other side of it is quality, someone like Rolls Royce, or Mercedes Benz, their number one point in life is high quality so they invest the money to make sure that the quality of their machinery is always top notch. By doing that they are capturing a market share that wouldn’t normally be there. While the cost of the solution may be detrimental to the margin, the fact that I’m now viewed as a high-quality company, gives me more sales.

Michael Lonnon

All these examples you’ve given sound like organisations should be doing this, like it is an obvious thing, but what is the challenge for organisations and what holds them back?

Bob Berry

Cost and Capability. Everything comes at a cost but you have to look at the cost against your margins, market share, what do you have the ability to do. Take oil pipeline as an example if I wanted to put an IOT device on every mile or 10 mile stretch of pipeline think about the resource that’s required to do that. I think one of the big problems for companies to move to mart maintenance is cost justification First is cost and the second is the manpower required to implement the solutions.

Michael Lonnon

If you had a piece of advice and for an organisation that might be looking at smart maintenance or thinking I know there’s expense but there’s long term value, where might they start?

Bob Berry

I think the first thing to do is forget the past focus on the future and by focusing on the future and then focus on the things that are really going to differentiate you with the competition. I think that’s really a key component. I think that one of the things that people who want to do smart maintenance get caught up in the weeds s sometimes you need to have somebody who doesn’t have a background in your product, somebody who has an unbiased opinion of what’s going on, to bounce ideas off of.

Michael Lonnon

If an asset you rely on to run your business breaks down, you’ve got to locate that asset send workers that reach it, find the fault, and then work out whether you can repair it or if it needs replacing, all of this takes time. Meanwhile, the asset is down and you’re losing money. Smart maintenance allows you to identify issues and faults locate the problem and then repair it before they can bring down your equipment. This saves you money on kit replacement and in loss of production. By providing some great examples of the types of scenarios where smart metres can add value, and some tips on how to decide whether it’s right for your business. All of which I hope are useful for you. On that note, thanks for listening.

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