Driving Predictive Maintenance: UK Water Supplier Utilizes Acoem Machine Defender App

Customer : Major water authority

Country: England, UK

Application: Water & sewerage treatment industry

Executive summary

A major water treatment and supply network in the UK has multiple sites that it manages, including pumping stations, reservoirs and catchment zones. It was looking for a simple and intuitive automated system that its technicians, who were not currently vibration specialists, could operate. Fortunately, the company’s Condition Monitoring Manager was already aware of current systems on the market, including the NESTi4.0 software and WebPortal suite, as well as Acoem’s ecosystem of predictive and pro-active maintenance solutions. Therefore, when he was introduced to the new Machine Defender app based solution he knew it seemed to fit as the ideal solution to introduce into the business.

The Challenge

Perhaps the greatest challenge this water company was facing was implementing a reliability and condition-based maintenance program for around the 250k assets. This meant that they would have started to look more actively in moving from reactive maintenance to a more planned and predictive maintenance strategy for the future. It is a massive task and not straight forward as it would be with a single site, due to the thousands of pieces of critical equipment – covering pumps, motors and fans etc. Identified from their master asset register, it was easy to see some of their machinery was up to 70 years old -so the risk of failure was incredibly high and having spares can be quite difficult. In addition, many of the company’s sites are in quite remote locations and not easy to access quickly in some cases due to the enormous geographical footprint.

Another factor to consider was that the company had a limited number of field maintenance technicians who visit sites on a regular/periodic basis to carry out inspections and perform basic repairs, but also reactive work. The technicians embarking on the condition monitoring path had no previous experience, so they needed a simple way to take accurate vibration measurements in the field routinely and relay the data and related diagnostics back to the Reliability Maintenance team.

The Solution

The Machine Defender app, together with NESTi4.0 software suite and the new Acoem WebPortal interface are perfectly suited to meet this customer’s immediate and future needs.

According to UK Noise & Vibration Sales Manager, John Hargreaves, the ability for the water maintenance technicians to operate the Machine Defender app simply and easily from their existing Android or IoS tablet will be a huge benefit to the team.

Field technicians can scan each piece of critical equipment and identify it using Machine Defender’s easy QR code identification technology. They can then take measurements via WiFi-enabled lightweight wireless sensors that measure in three directions – two horizontal and one vertical plain – mounted on bearing housings of each piece of machinery. Using the Accurex™ AI diagnostic tool embedded within the solution, the app will give the technicians an immediate indication of the health of that machine – identifying all typical faults such a lubrication, pump cavitation, misalignment or unbalance. These are displayed on the tablet screen in an intuitive traffic light colour-coded interface and all diagnoses will be incorporated into a report that can be generated immediately with a single keystroke. The technicians can upload the reports to a centralised WebPortal dashboard through Nesti4.0 using available 4G or WiFi.

Vibration experts with access to the WebPortal can then make informed decisions as to whether they need to visit sites for further inspections or allocate work orders to the technicians in priority order to undertake predictive maintenance repairs. If additional site visits are required, the vibration technicians will utilise their automated Acoem Falcon vibration analyser instrumentation to undertake further in-depth analysis.

The Outcome

“While the system will only be rolled out in April 2023, the field technicians already use a mobile smart phone/tablet for their standard maintenance requirements, so the addition of a simple app will be seamless. They have undertaken a condition-based maintenance course level 1 and in addition ACOEM device training and are now ready to begin implementing their new condition monitoring strategy,” said John.

“In addition to the field data collection and vibration diagnostics using Accurex being verified by the Reliability Maintenance team, a major benefit is for the field technicians to also take photographs / add reports, and email urgent reports to the Reliability Maintenance team – with all data available on a single screen. This will undoubtedly in time help reduce reactive maintenance and in so doing reduce company costs in time and money, and in addition help predict and prevent catastrophic costly failures and extend the lifecycle of their critical machinery.”

“And Acoem is also working with the company to add value to its current systems by introducing an integrated communication platform that allows WebPortal to communicate with its existing Maximo enterprise asset management software. This is just another example of the way Acoem customises its solutions to simplify the maintenance process for businesses worldwide,” he added.

For more information about implementing the Acoem Machine Defender solution, so as to begin or upgrade your critical machinery’s condition monitoring program, visit our product page or contact us.

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