How World-Class Maintenance can improve safety in manufacturing companies.
An increasing number of manufacturing companies see the connection between digitizing maintenance processes and increased safety. Being able to utilize a plant’s digital footprint does not just increase day-to-day safety. You can also more easily document what happened when something has gone wrong – and learn from it afterwards. That is ‘World-Class Maintenance,’ explains Martin Pock, CEO of 2BM Software A/S.
When companies think about digitalization, it is often about making the business more efficient and profitable. But there is a third benefit that is increasingly on the minds of companies who turn to 2BM Software, Part of SOA People for help in streamlining their maintenance processes: Increased safety.
«There is a growing interest from manufacturing companies asking for digital safety solutions. The solutions should not only make companies’ daily work with maintenance and prevention of breakdowns and accidents more streamlined, user-friendly, and accurate. The solutions must also be able to help companies document their compliance with safety procedures for machines and processes. This was the challenge for a large company that approached us recently. It had experienced an accident. There were safety procedures in place, but the company could not document that they had been followed because they were still paper-based,» says Martin Pock, CEO of 2BM Software.
Safety and productivity
Importantly, there is no contradiction between efficiency and increased focus on safety he explains.
«It has been proven time and time again that when safety is as it should be, productivity increases. When you follow best practice in safety, you also force your business to operate in the most responsible way, minimising the risk of serious incidents that can have serious consequences. Personal consequences for the individual who may have been injured and financial consequences for the company if a plant has to be shut down and investigations are required – it is true World-Class Maintenance when safety is top notch.»
Predicting faults and breakdowns
At the heart of this focus on safety through new digital solutions are systems for so-called predictive maintenance, i.e. the ability to anticipate and limit errors and breakdowns on (dangerous) machines. But it is also the ability to get easier access to safety documents when standing in front of a machine that needs to be maintained using a mobile phone.
By utilising new technologies such as mobile cameras, voice and image recognition, sensors and AI in a system like 2BM Software’s Mobile Work Order, maintenance workers can find and fix potential faults before they occur and document safety breaches with camera and video.
Thus, wrench time, which is well planned and efficiently executed, becomes an important element in reducing the risk of accidents caused by missing and undocumented maintenance. This increases employee safety.
In the field with online access
«For a long time, security work has been done analogue in many companies. It has been difficult to digitize procedures and measures because the underlying systems were relatively difficult to access, such as SAP. Perhaps the safety documentation was in a folder on a computer far away from the machine, or it was printed out and placed in a binder that was not easily accessible,» says Martin Pock.
With a mobile maintenance system like Mobile Work Order, the employee in the field has online access to all safety documentation on the device they bring with them.
«Typically, the device also allows for FaceTime or other video telephony, so you can show a specialist or responsible person in an office far away what you are seeing and working on. Today, you can also use various wearables such as specialised glasses that film what you see, so you can receive or give your colleague important input from the field.»
Correct data increases security.
With the help of technology, companies can also strengthen their security work by utilising the data they generate daily and have in their systems such as SAP.
«Digitalization can ensure that data is correct and provides information about the right machines and contexts. When data and reports on previous breakdowns are correct, technology enables us to learn from previous mistakes and ultimately we can use artificial intelligence to predict possible breakdowns and potentially dangerous situations. Just as we have done with several of our customers.»
According to Martin Pock, modern asset maintenance management systems (also known as CMMS) can, for example, offer digitalized alternatives to the traditional, analogue Lockout-Tagout procedures to ensure that dangerous equipment is shut down safely and cannot be activated by mistake.
When three maintenance workers were struck and killed by a train in Italy this summer, the accident was possible because the Lockout-Tagout procedure had not been followed.
«When things go wrong, they can go very wrong, which is why it is so important to recognise the connection between safety in maintenance processes and the use of digital solutions that not only improve OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency), but also enhance employee safety and security – that is true World-Class Maintenance.»
CEO, 2BM Software
Article from Jyllandsposten, 19 September 2023
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