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MAINTENANCE FEATURE


‘MOM’ KNOWS BEST – PLUGGING THE SKILLS GAP


the captured data is also needed. The ABB Manufacturing Operations


Management (MOM) system provides a detailed overview of facility health. This will allow plant managers to plan, create and execute equipment maintenance tasks using predictive system observations. Deploying maintenance teams in this fashion will help protect businesses and production, even if the organisation is low on manpower. MOM systems also allow for the creation of task execution checklists for technicians, which means no job gets missed. Consider, for example, a manufacturing


plant with three conveyor belt motors that need fixing. Two are in separate areas of the same plant and one is at a completely separate location. The MOM system will be able to rank which conveyor is likely to break-down first and have the most impact letting the plant manager deploy an experienced technician to the most critical motor. The MOM system also provides detailed


Here Darcy Simonis, vice president for ABB’s Food and Beverage segment, explains the future of maintenance and how Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) systems can help technicians execute maintenance tasks more effectively


T


he loss of technical expertise and knowledge is a major issue facing the


manufacturing industry. According to a Society of Human Resource Management report, nearly 27 per cent of manufacturing workers are planning to retire over the next ten years. The food and beverage industry is one of


the largest manufacturing employers in the world. In fact, Europe is struggling to


profit margins and high competition between manufacturers across the industry, not having enough highly skilled maintenance employees can be disastrous. Manufacturers and plant managers,


therefore, need to understand that they must have a system in place to allow them to get the most from their shrinking workforce. The system must be able to


The impact of machinery stoppages can spiral unless they are dealt with effectively. Technologies such as MOM, AR and VR can help automate routine checks and allow maintenance teams to prioritise more complicated work


‘MOM systems provide detailed instruction check lists or maintenance manuals, which will help both experienced workers and trainee technicians’


find new talent with a Deloitte report finding that in the EU15 for the first time there are more workers over the age of 50 than there are under the age of 35. As this group nears retirement age this will put even more pressure on Europe’s already considerable skills shortage. Manpower Groups 2018 talent survey


shows that skilled traders and technicians are in the top 5 hardest roles to fill in the global economy. Losing such a large percentage of skilled


workers is problematic for food and beverage maintenance teams. Maintenance technicians across the industry are highly specialised with a great deal of specific technical knowledge and experience using an array of bespoke machinery that has to operate at a near continuous pace. Stoppages in production can spiral unless they are dealt with effectively and expediently. With fine


reduce the work load that maintenance teams need to carry out letting them concentrate on fixing and maintaining machinery. Effective organisation and prioritisation


while working with smaller teams is paramount to success. Teams that are spread out too thinly don’t have the manpower to deal with complicated fixes, yet concentrating all your maintenance workforce in one place means they won’t be able to deal with issues in time. Achieving balance requires having a strong and in-depth overview of the complete maintenance system. For example, maintenance teams should


not lose precious time carrying out routines checks for processes that can easily be automated. While smart sensors have already reduced the workload for maintenance teams, having systems that can extract meaningful information from





instruction check lists or maintenance manuals, which will help even the most experienced maintenance worker be more efficient. This also helps trainee technicians get their skills up to scratch with a library of information available at their fingertips. Many up and coming technologies can


be used to make sure that maintenance teams are being as effective as possible. Augmented Reality (AR) is a prime example of a new technology that will be useful at increasing worker effectiveness. AR will enable detailed overlays that can


live-stream instructions to the technician, meaning that they can receive detailed instructions as they go. Many AR systems also film what the user is seeing, meaning more experienced technicians will be able to view proceedings and give advice, while recordings will likely become a key part of future training structures and allow for constructive review sessions. Virtual Reality (VR) also has great


Darcy Simonis, vice president for ABB’s Food and Beverage segment


potential for training. Digital models of real-world machinery and entire plants will allow technicians to play around with deconstructing, fixing and reassembling machinery. Pairing these two technologies with the wealth of data and analysis provided by MOM systems will allow employees to understand their system effectively. Large numbers of highly technical


workers may soon be retiring from the workforce. However, this does not necessarily mean that all their knowledge will be lost. By using MOM, AR and VR systems, much of the seemingly lost wisdom can be preserved for future use.


ABB new.abb.com


PROCESS & CONTROL | NOVEMBER 2019 37


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