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Empowering Industrial Facility Success: The Strategic Advantages of Sustaining Engineering Digitalization


Today’s industrial facilities are becoming increasingly complex and subject to almost continuous change. Sustaining engineering plays a vital role in keeping production systems up and running and maintaining and improving their functionality, efficiency, reliability and safety. With the increasing digitalization of the industry, sustaining engineering is evolving to include a focus on digital technologies that can optimize performance, manage change and reduce cost. This blog post will discuss the importance of sustaining engineering digitalization and how it can help businesses maintain their competitive edge.

Industrial facilities involve the manufacturing of chemicals, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and other products using various industrial processes. These processes are complex and require a lot of resources, including machinery, equipment and skilled labor.

As the industry continues to grow and evolve, sustaining engineering digitalization is critical because it enables engineers to improve the efficiency and reliability of existing systems. By leveraging digital technologies such as data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, engineers can gain deeper insights into the performance of their systems, identify potential issues before they become major problems and develop more effective maintenance strategies to meet the market's growing demands.

In addition, sustaining engineering digitalization can help industrial facilities companies reduce costs and improve profitability. By optimizing the performance of existing systems, companies can avoid costly downtime and repairs while also maximizing the lifespan of their equipment. This can result in significant savings over the long term and improve overall operational efficiency.

Here are some of the benefits of sustaining engineering in industrial facilities:

1. Improved Equipment Reliability: Sustaining engineering involves regular maintenance and repair of equipment and machinery. Capturing and monitoring equipment reliability with HxGN EAM helps identify and address potential issues before they become major problems. Keeping the equipment in good condition reduces the chances of unexpected breakdowns and downtime, leading to increased reliability, productivity and functioning beyond their expected lifespan.

2. Reduced Costs: Sustaining engineering digitalization can help businesses reduce costs by automating processes currently requiring manual interventions. In the long run, automating the conversion of an operator’s logbook in j5 to work orders in HxGN EAM, or converting EAM work orders into permit to work in j5 control of work has caused a > 3% increase in wrench time, resulting in 10% reduction in maintenance costs. Further, by using Hexagon’s digital twin solution, HxGN SDx ® as a single source of truth for all your operational and maintenance systems of record, the ability to respond and access the latest accurate information directly impacts the cost of maintenance and operations.

3. Extending the Life of Equipment: Implementing a modern maintenance strategy with HxGN EAM using machine learning and predictive maintenance can help to identify potential issues early, allowing them to be addressed before they become major problems. This can help to extend the life of equipment and reduce the need for costly replacements and unplanned shutdowns.

4. Improved Efficiency: Sustaining engineering digitalization can help businesses to improve the efficiency of their processes by identifying areas where improvements can be made. By capturing the equipment performance in real-time with j5 Operator Rounds , or evaluating the plant system with PAS PlantState Integrity , the response time to maintain the plant system is dramatically reduced and the quality of information improves. Therefore, by improving efficiency, businesses can increase productivity and reduce costs.

5. Compliance with Regulations: Industrial facilities are heavily regulated, with strict requirements for safety and quality. Using HxGN SDx asset lifecycle information technology as an asset digital twin to capture and curate current facilities in 3D models, scan views, P&IDs, retrieve trustworthy maintenance information or related information connected to other information with consistency across the landscape that ensures their systems and processes are compliant with these regulations, reducing the risk of fines and penalties or revoke license to operate.

6. Sustainability: Sustaining engineering digitalization can help organizations focus on improving their sustainability performance by reducing paper usage, wastewater, emissions, transportation needs and optimizing energy consumption.

7. Increased Safety and Quality: There are always hazards in industrial facilities. Ensuring front-line workers have the most up-to-date content for training and knowledge of equipment operation and maintenance helps manage risks. AcceleratorKMS delivers critical procedural content anywhere, anytime, on any device for day-to-day maintenance and operations activities to improve safe outcomes. Additionally, AcceleratorKMS allows Maintenance teams to collaborate in real-time in the execution and management of Standard Operating Procedures as well as capturing real-time information from the field.

Implementing sustaining engineering digitalization requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Here are some best practices to consider for Sustaining Engineering in Industrial facilities:

Develop a digitalization roadmap: Before embarking on any digitalization initiatives, it's important to develop a comprehensive roadmap that outlines your goals, timelines, and resource requirements. This roadmap should align with your company's overall strategy and consider any regulatory requirements or industry standards that may apply.

Focus on data quality: The effectiveness of any digitalization initiative depends on the quality of the data that is being analyzed. Therefore, it's important to ensure that your data is accurate, complete and up to date. This may require investing in new data collection and analysis tools or updating your existing systems.

Leverage machine learning and AI: Machine learning and AI can be powerful tools for analyzing data and identifying patterns that may not be immediately apparent to humans. By leveraging these technologies, you can gain deeper insights into the performance of your systems and develop more effective maintenance strategies.

Foster a culture of innovation: Sustaining engineering digitalization requires a willingness to experiment with new technologies and approaches. Therefore, it's important to foster a culture of innovation within your organization and encourage your engineers to think creatively about how they can leverage digital technologies to improve performance and reduce costs.

Establish a Maintenance Program: Establishing a maintenance program is critical for sustaining engineering. This program should include a regular inspection schedule, preventive maintenance and calibration.

Use Predictive Maintenance Techniques: Predictive maintenance techniques can help identify potential issues before they become major problems. These techniques use data analytics and machine learning to identify patterns that can indicate potential failures

Monitor Performance Metrics: Monitoring performance metrics, such as uptime, can help identify issues before they become major problems. This can include monitoring vibration levels, temperature, and other performance indicators.

Implement a Change Management Process: Any changes to systems or equipment should be managed through a formal change management process. This process should include reviews and approvals before any changes are made.

Develop a Training Program: Developing a training program for employees can help ensure they are properly trained to maintain the operating systems and equipment. This can include training on SOPs, safety procedures, maintenance techniques, and operating procedures.

In conclusion, sustaining engineering digitalization is an essential process in industrial facilities that can help businesses to maintain the performance and reliability of systems and equipment. Implementing best practices such as establishing a maintenance program, using asset digital twin, predictive maintenance techniques, monitoring performance metrics, implementing a change to improve equipment reliability and developing a training program can help systems and equipment remain reliable and compliant with regulations thus businesses improve overall performance and profitability. It is important for businesses in industrial facilities to prioritize sustaining engineering to ensure the continued success of their operations and maintenance.

Finally, it's important to partner with vendors and suppliers who have expertise in sustaining engineering digitalization. These partners can provide valuable guidance and support as you implement new technologies and can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices.

About the Author

Alex Ong is an Industry Consultant at Hexagon and has a strong technical background in construction, project tendering, planned shutdown/turnaround, #SafetyCase Study for Major Hazardous Installation API 579 FFS and analysis in #CAESAR II & #PVElite. He has experience working in Oil Refineries, Power Plant, Chemical Plants, Pharmaceutical and Food Specialty Facilities. He has managed over USD 150 million CAPEX projects including new process technology, revamp, debottlenecking, plant expansion initiatives. Achieved zero EHS recordable incidents in 1,000,000 project man-hours.

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