Let’s start by defining online condition monitoring. In this context, online condition monitoring (OCM) is defined as the utilization of measurement hardware and software to continuously check the state of a system, a machine, or a process, generally with the end goal of reducing downtime, increasing efficiency, or reducing waste. These goals are accomplished by producing a set of indicators (events, faults, and alarms) that suggest an action, such as look further into a potential problem, shut down a piece of equipment, perform maintenance, or collect additional data.
It’s also important to define and differentiate an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) versus an end-user of CM (Condition Monitoring). If you manufacture industrial equipment, machines, or infrastructure and have interest in putting condition monitoring into systems that you sell, you’re considered an OEM. If on the other hand, you work at a manufacturing / generation / distribution / processing plant and have interest in putting condition monitoring into systems you operate internally, you’re an end-user. This guide is focused on the OEM scenario.
BUILDING THE BUSINESS CASE
If you have already been given the go-ahead to implement OCM, or if you already know how to justify OCM, then you can skip this section. For those of you that are not sure how to go about justifying OCM, my suggestion is this: utilize the minimum amount of effort necessary. If it makes sense to spend weeks crunching numbers, then so be it, but if it makes sense to tie OCM into a corporate-level initiative (e.g. around efficiency or quality), then go that route.
The level of management buy-in required to proceed will vary significantly, depending on the level of business impact expected from implementation of an OCM system. Justification can be quantitative and/or qualitative.
You’ll need to gather information about the direct, and indirect, impacts of not having OCM on downtime, efficiency, and waste.
This information is scenario-dependent, but many will fall into one or more of these categories:
- Customer uptime / efficiency / waste – This applies if your customers care about how often your machine goes down and if you can tell them in advance. You’ll need to dig in to understand the cost impact on your customer in order to better understand the additional cost that they could justify for an OCM-enabled product.