Over the last 30 years, different approaches have been developed. In addition to waiting for a piece of equipment to fail (reactive maintenance), we can utilize preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, or reliability centered maintenance.
Reactive maintenance is basically the “run it till it breaks” maintenance mode. No actions or efforts are taken to maintain the equipment.
Preventive maintenance can be defined as follows: performing regular, pre-scheduled maintenance checks and repairs — whether they are needed or not.
Predictive maintenance can be defined as follows: maintenance based on the actual condition of equipment rather than a predetermined schedule.
The Predictive Maintenance approach is the most efficient one. It evaluates the condition of equipment by performing periodic or continuous (online) equipment condition monitoring. The ultimate goal of PdM is to perform maintenance at a scheduled point in time when the maintenance activity is most cost-effective and before the equipment loses performance within a threshold. This is in contrast to time- and/or operation count-based maintenance, where a piece of equipment gets maintained whether it needs it or not.
One of the advantages of the predictive approach is that it allows to prioritize the activities / equipment depending on the judgment of the owner/operator and their contribution on the return on investment.
The efficiency of this approach derives from the leverage of a multi-sources data. Indeed, it may consider direct or indirect information coming from different systems: MES, BMS, EMS, etc.
According to the the U.S. Department of Energy (source: Operations & Maintenance Best Practices: A Guide to Achieving Operational Efficiency), predictive maintenance and data analytics can save up to 20% per year on maintenance and energy costs.
HOW EMS (Energy Management Systems) CAN DRIVE THE PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE
As technology improves, both MMS (Maintenance Management Systems) and EMS (Energy Management Systems) develop capabilities and therefore create opportunities for integration. The energy, environmental or other data gathered from the EMS can be used in order to understand the performance of equipment/system. The exchange of data and implementation of analytics between the two systems allows for condition-based monitoring and editing of energy profiles for each component. This new approach utilize measurements on the actual equipment in combination with measurement of energy and process performance, measured by other devices, to trigger equipment maintenance.
Modern equipment can make multiple parameter measurements. An energy analyzer monitoring a plastic molding machine can use its built-in inputs and outputs in order to integrate data regarding the number of parts produced or other energy vectors (steam, natural gas, etc.) involved.
A good example is with HVAC systems. Traditionally, air filters and other components are changed as part of a time-based activity – filters may get changed every 3 months, needed or not. Energy Monitoring Systems can instead calculate the energy profile of that component as well as provide custom KPI that activate notifications toward the maintenance team. The component change / repair becomes an automatically generated work order.
This is a more efficient approach since the maintenance activity is performed at the ideal time, resources are not used on not priority work, and the systems is maintained at a higher level of performance.
THE ELECTREX SOLUTIONS
The Electrex Energy Management System architecture is based on three main elements:
- Measurement devices and data collection: our microprocessor based energy analyzers, I/O devices and sensors offer advanced features. Our smart devices assure a direct and very fast access to the measurements and information retrieved. We do measure environmental and process parameters and integrate third party devices as energy consumption is strictly connected to temperature, luminosity, production cycles, tenants, etc.
- Data-logging and communication: our devices are equipped with builtin memory, clock and calendars in order to locally store, with the highest frequency, the most critical measurements using a redundant and multi-nodes approach. In this way no data can be lost due to communication or system failure. The builtin or external communication modules use the most open and transparent protocol Ethernet TCP/IP. It offers reliability, integration with other systems and direct access from each level / stakeholder.
- Data analytics, reporting and publishing: our solution uses three main platforms; built-in web server in each device, PC based software and cloud interface. Each of them allow to automatically manage real-time and historical data, configure alarms and notifications, deliver custom reports. We believe that the user is the owner of the data collected. Therefore we offer to him all the flexibility and the needed tools to get the most out of our platforms.
Multi-source data integration and synchronization
The advantage of the Electrex monitoring and control systems stands in the possibility to integrate data regarding energy, environment and process parameters using a unique time reference.
Indeed, in addition to the energy analyzers monitoring energy consumption and Power Quality the Electrex systems include multi-function sensors, I-O modules and gateways.
This is a key feature since the calculation of the KPI and other indicators needs synchronized data.
The Electrex devices of the Net series are equipped with a built-in clock / calendar with astronomical real time management of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). It manages also the rules for the automatic switching from Standard Time at summer time (Daylight Saving Time) and vice versa. Automatic clock synchronization via NTP server.
Operating time counters
The Electrex devices of the Net series allow to monitor and log the operating time of a load/appliance and the relative amount of energy consumed. Up to 4 time counters are triggered every time a configured parameter exceeds a certain threshold or from the ON/OFF state of an electrical contact via the inputs provided on the smart energy analyzer. As you may see in the image here below this feature is directly linked with the monitoring of the actual condition of the equipment since it will track the actual use of the component / device and not the estimated one.
As you may see in the following image, the time counters are triggered by advanced alarms considering multiple variable and using AND/OR logic.
Automated alarms and e-mail/sms notifications
This feature allows to manage simple alerts (threshold value monitoring), complex ones (considering simultaneously more parameters like threshold values, I/O states, custom calendars) and the sending of e-mail/sms notifications and local or remote commands for controlling I/O modules. It is a cornerstone of the predictive maintenance approach since it makes possible to intervene when needed but before the component is critically deteriorated and causing a breakdown. The Electrex devices can be equipped also with a built-in Ladder programming editor in order to manage complex applications and automate further the sending of the e-mail/sms as shown in the image here below.
Data Analytics , reporting and sharing with maintenance systems
The Electrex solutions use three main platforms:
- Built-in WEB server: the Electrex devices can be equipped with a built-in web server displaying real-time and historical data. The web interface can be browsed from any device with a browser (smartphone, tablet, PC) locally or remotely. It is a useful and flexible tool for specific equipment checking.
- PC based software: the Energy Brain software integrates all the data coming from the devices in the field. The measurements are put into relation with each-other in order to detect trends and compare performances. It allows to refine the information applying data analytics and supports the user to understand component issues and therefore prioritize maintenance actions.
- Cloud platform: the cloud platform makes possible to publish on the web clear, customized dashboard interfaces that help the user follow the components/systems most relevant to him.
Each of the interfaces above allow to automatically manage real-time and historical data, configure alarms and notifications, deliver custom reports. The data retrieved from our devices can be transformed within any of the above environments in other unities ( for e.g. kWh in €) using conversion factors and mathematical operations.
The Electrex data displaying platforms have been designed keeping integration with third party systems in mind. Indeed, Energy Brain can import data from other systems as well as export in an automated way Excel or CSV files locally or toward FTP folders. The user can schedule the sending and the kind of data to be exported. The devices with the built-in web interface can instead send (push) data from their data-logging systems into remote FTP folders of third party systems (for e.g. SAP, SCADA, etc.).
A useful feature for generating co-benefits for other systems. For example, the same maintenance notification for that specific component can be delivered also toward the inventory system generating an automatic re-order.
For the maintenance systems this means receiving already refined data and avoiding paperwork or manual tracking activities.
The advantages of predictive maintenance are many. A well-orchestrated predictive maintenance program will eliminate catastrophic equipment failures, reduce maintenance costs, increase productivity and assure a faster ROI.
As seen here above the energy monitoring systems can contribute to more efficient maintenance operations. Electrex working with worldwide premium companies since more than 25 years has gather a precious know-how in how to design useful devices and software that produce benefits also in other areas not strictly connected with energy.
Since 1993 Electrex designs, develops, manufactures and markets, Made in Italy, instruments and software for energy measurement, management and control. The Electrex solutions are used in the energy efficiency and Energy Automation applications, for the industrial, commercial, public, civil, and renewable energy sectors allowing a rapid return on investment. Electrex, one of the first companies to operate in these sectors, has acquired over the years a considerable experience and competence that few other companies can claim to have. With over 40% of the staff dedicated to R & D, we demonstrate our strong commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in order to anticipate the needs of our customers. We follow our products from design to after sale service and support, being a flexible and dynamic company. That is why Electrex continues to be chosen more and more from both local and international partners. The Electrex products are entirely designed, engineered and manufactured in Italy.