The evolution of asset management in the chemicals industry

Utilities Natural gas power plant refinery     

September 21, 2021

The chemicals industry and other similar asset-intensive companies use multiple types of assets. Many of these asset types have existed for nearly a century and have been maintained in some way or the other during their respective lifecycles. Over the course of the century, however, the approach to maintenance has evolved. And it will continue to do so.

Early on, maintenance work relied on highly trained specialists to visually inspect machinery. As mechanization improved, employees were given instrumentation to measure how equipment was running. Later, when computer usage increased, ERP systems were employed to capture and use data to monitor the conditions of assets systematically and programmatically.

Now, with internet of things (IoT) technologies automatically collecting sensor data, that data is stored in a data lake repository and algorithms and analytics are applied to it to better predict when a given asset will fail and inform how to correct the problem. Modern EAM systems are adding asset performance management (APM) capabilities that predict equipment failure and perform proactive decision-making that can improve safety, optimize labor and material management, and enhance capital budget planning.

Looking at this historical evolution helps demonstrate how much asset management has improved over the years with the help of technology. While it might seem simple and obvious now, these technologies might have seemed (or even still seem to some) too futuristic and daunting for some companies, depending on the level of their asset management sophistication.

The maintenance maturity model offers a roadmap for how asset-intensive chemicals manufacturers can progress their maintenance operations to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. Getting started on this evolution and progressing to the next level of asset management with the help of one complete solution can help chemicals companies achieve:

  • Environment, health, and safety (EHS), and other regulatory compliance
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Preventive and corrective processes
  • Fast response to poor equipment performance and breakdowns
  • Work order management and certification for audits
  • Full asset records and activity logs
  • Warranty management
  • Asset sustainability and lifecycle management
  • Asset hierarchy and structure
  • Equipment performance monitoring and alert management
  • Mobility
  • Offline mobility
  • Asset analytics
  • Flexibility and ease of integration
  • SaaS cloud strategy (“evergreen solution”)

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