Established Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the industrial markets are seeking to expand revenue streams through new service offerings, enhance their customer engagement models and ensure their products meet their customers’ reliability and productivity targets. As OEMs have expanded sensing and data acquisition technologies with their industrial machines, they now can offer new solutions to their customers through managed services that include: remote monitoring, troubleshooting, maintenance dispatching, and in the most mature examples, providing performance guarantees for the equipment they supply. Historically, OEMs that desired to offer managed services were required to establish development teams to build and support software applications to enable the managed service which would require large upfront investments, time to build the capability, and delay the launch of the new managed services offerings.
With the advancement of Asset Performance Management and Digital Twin technologies, OEMs now can leverage a purpose-built software application designed to capture their unique equipment knowledge and perspective regarding the design, operation and maintenance of their equipment and enhance their offerings to their customers beyond the machine. With an OEMs knowledge encapsulated as an Asset Strategy or Digital Twin, new capabilities can be offered to monitor installed equipment in real time. This provides the opportunity to uniquely fuse the OEM design perspective with the customer’s specific operating context to drive productivity and optimization of industrial assets.
A large OEM and Itus recently worked together to define and establish the basis of their managed services offering to their customers through the capability of an operationally focused digital twin, also called an Asset Twin. The aim was to define and implement optimal asset management practices for a new equipment model being introduced to the market and to support management across the machines lifecycle which included a highly collaborative engagement model between the OEM and their customers via a “connected product” offering. The integrated offering extends the OEM’s ability to ensure their machines meet customer needs. This drives more efficient commissioning and offers real time assessment of asset health as well as optimal dispatch of service technicians based on actual equipment condition vs traditional time based or reactive maintenance approaches.
The first step in the process was to establish an optimal asset strategy based upon the design, testing and historical operation of the equipment as well as the domain knowledge equipment experts. Itus Digital and the OEM’s subject matter experts, which included design engineers, commissioning experts and field service technicians identified key machine systems, common failure modes and best practice preventative maintenance strategies for the machines. This information was structured, cataloged, and digitized into an asset strategy for the new equipment model number so it could be easily applied virtually through an Asset Twin to every machine installed into service.
Once the asset strategy was defined, Asset Twin models and analytics were designed to establish the basis for remote monitoring which automatically identifies inefficient assets, detects early indications of machine failure, and prescribes corrective actions to mitigate potential failures. For each dominant or high-risk failure mode, data streams the machine produced were identified and analytical models were defined, simulated, and tuned to predict potential failure to allow resources at the monitoring center to warn the customer directly and dispatch service technicians at the optimal time to minimize customer disruption.
With the Asset Twin defined, monitoring through a centralized diagnostic and customer support center will now be implemented to manage the entire fleet of assets as a managed service. The Itus Digital solution and approach used a systematic process to capture the design, operation, and maintenance expertise of the equipment which is now modeled as an asset twin which can monitor the machines in real-time and provide early detection of potential failures. With the Itus solution, the OEM was able to leverage the application framework to enable the managed service, capturing the unique intellectual property of their equipment and build an offering that delivers true results to their customers quickly.
The program will ease machine commissioning activities, reduce reactive service calls, and enhance the machine’s productivity for the customer. In addition to the core benefits to the customer, the offering also provides the OEM with an integrated environment to collaborate with customers on the operation of the equipment, ensure service technicians have a complete understanding of all faults and parts required at time of dispatch. As an added benefit, the data, analytics, and advisories also provide a key understanding on how products are performing in the field which can be leveraged to continually improve machine design and performance.