Learn How an Environmental Services Company Solved an Equipment Maintenance Problem
Problem & Background
Keeping industrial equipment in optimal working condition is important for any manufacturing plant. But, when it comes to the environmental and energy sector, the stakes are even higher. It’s not just productivity that’s threatened. Adhering to stringent regulatory compliance standards is essential for health and safety reasons as well. One faulty pump or valve could trigger a series of events leading to an environmental hazard like a chemical spill that could undermine reputations or bankrupt an environmental services company. And who wants that? It’s far better to avoid potential problems all together than being forced into dealing with their aftermath.
Our client, a large provider of environmental, energy and industrial services in hazardous and non-hazardous materials, serves numerous Fortune 500 companies in chemical, energy and manufacturing industries. Their work includes oil and gas fuel services as well as large-scale recycling and refining projects.
Industrial equipment is subjected to wear and tear during normal operations, requiring vigilant checks to ensure that its integrity is not compromised. Maintenance tracking is a vital part of plant operations for compliance, safety, and productivity reasons. Our customer approached us to design a system to help its inspectors assess equipment and schedule maintenance proactively. For example, leak detection is a variable that can be measured and sometimes predicted, allowing for planned maintenance. A container that holds hazardous chemicals needs to be periodically inspected. Equipment inspectors needed to know what to measure as well as acceptable, safe working parameters.
Also, when a machine or part was scheduled for repair or replacement, our client wanted a way to know what the status was and how long the equipment would be down. Knowing what other items affecting the same piece of equipment could be assessed and addressed at the same time would improve efficiency and have the potential to prevent an accident or spill.
Vertex developed a digital application that designated normal functioning ranges to all pieces of equipment. Inspectors now take readings of each machine, flange, tool, valve, pump, container – or whatever needs assessed. These readings either fall within the acceptable parameter ratings or they don’t. There’s no room for error. If, for instance, a pump can’t pull at least 100 gallons of water a minute when its rating stipulated that number as the minimum, then the inspector definitively knows the pump needs to be repaired or replaced.
The system removes guesswork from inspectors’ jobs. They don’t need to determine what the values are. Vertex’s system does that for them, designating the data points that need to be measured, so that inspectors can compare those to the normal ranges. The solution tracks the repair and maintenance schedules of all the equipment on the floor.
A maintenance frequency forecasting tool alerts personnel when equipment is approaching the range when maintenance becomes necessary. The solution allows our client to be proactive in preventing problems. The digital calendar notes each piece of equipment, what inspectors should look for, and the frequency cadence of inspection and maintenance.
Compliance managers use the tool to monitor the status of equipment inspections and repairs while the inspectors themselves use it to enter data and schedule the maintenance. Admins also have access to the system so they can pull reports and share information with affected teams.
Our client has been able to stay ahead of costly repairs by proactively scheduling regular maintenance. Inspectors appreciate having predicable, parameters that remove the need for them to interpret data. They take measurements, compare their collected data against the appropriate ranges provided by the system, and either schedule maintenance or keep the line running. The shared calendar keeps everyone in the know regarding the repair process and how long equipment will be affected.
Since adopting Vertex’s system, this company has virtually eliminated the need to react to equipment failures and unplanned downtime. Ad hoc repairs are a thing of their past.
Not only has this customer gained peace of mind in knowing that their equipment meets appropriate, safe regulatory compliance standards, but they’ve also saved time and money. Equipment downtime has been reduced and machine life has been extended.
- Equipment operation parameters are automatically provided for inspectors
- Digital calendar allows personnel to share scheduling information
- Notifications alert inspectors of equipment that requires upcoming maintenance
- Repair schedules are tracked in the calendar
- Reduced equipment downtime equates to increased productivity
- Safety incidents have been reduced
- Major repairs have been reduced
- Extended equipment life
- Reduced overtime for complex equipment repair
Vertex is a business and technology consulting ﬁrm that helps customers transform their business processes with leading edge technology. Learn more at www.vertexcs.com.
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Vertex Computer Systems
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