Asset Management Convergence

Two diverse newsletters recently converged in my email inbox to make me think about asset management.

The first one was an e-newsletter from Chemical Processing magazine.  (I’m not sure how I got on their mailing list, but once in a while I see something germane to PROFIBUS and PROFINET.)

“The Asset Management Benchmark Report: Moving Toward Zero Down-time” That report presents the results of an AberdeenGroup survey that shows best-in-class manufacturers’ current use of predictive/condition-based smart devices is 40% higher than that of other manufacturers.
–C. Kenna Amos, “Plants smarten up”

This bit of evidence that best-in-class manufacturers rely on asset management reminded me that PROFIBUS has long been an enabler of asset management.  Having configuration and other information available has enabled software vendors to create Plant Asset Management (PAM) systems.  In 2003, PI made this more formal as we introduced “Identification and Maintenance Functions” (I&M). 

Another was an Automation World e-newsletter, specifically, the article “MES Definition Work Continues.”

This led to further thoughts on PROFINET’s role in connecting control equipment to MES.  First, a definition or two: MES is Manufacturing Execution Systems.  It’s usually thought of as the layer between Control and ERP.  The article reproduces the MES organization’s definition: “Manufacturing Execution Systems deliver information that enables the optimization of production activities from order launch to finished goods.”  Back in my Wonder(ware) Years, we had an MES product called InTrack.  I always described it as “providing production context to process data.”  But MES is really more than that.  That point jumped out at me in the article (and that started me thinking about PROFINET).  The ANSI/ISA standard says MES “includes four major categories of manufacturing activities—production operation management, maintenance operations management, quality operations management and inventory operations management.”  Those are the four integration points we’ve defined between PROFINET and MES.  And because of the importance of maintenance, that was the first activity PROFINET addressed.   If you’re interested, read more here.

Why are these points important?  That is summed up in the ARC White Paper “The Value Proposition of PROFIBUS in the Hybrid Industries”:

While the use of a fieldbus can reduce installation and engineering costs, the greatest are realized in the areas of maintenance and operations, long after a plant has been commissioned.

The moral of the story: “Why use a fieldbus?”  Because it saves you money – short term and long term!