Blog: Can industrial environmental performance be improved by small-scale investments?

The inspiring presentations at the recent Nordic Business Forum made me think of how an industrial service company could in a concrete way reduce the negative environmental impact of its clients’ plants.

I believe that we can help industry reach their own energy efficiency targets by jointly improving the operation and maintenance of industrial facilities. Our professionals see how the customer processes function – or do not function.
Small improvements at production lines can provide significant savings in energy consumption and costs. In addition, well-serviced machines consume less spare parts and energy, and produce less waste.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time and seen how environmental awareness has risen to an important role especially in big industrial enterprises. The staff at the plants is familiar with the machinery and equipment and is able to provide us with good and practical proposals for small improvements that require only a minor investment in order to improve the environmental performance of the plant.

Good examples of such improvements are detection and repair of compressed air and heat leaks, optimizing heating in production spaces and utilization of waste heat. With regular lubrication we avoid unnecessary wear of equipment and eventual stoppages due to machine breakage. The same applies to process equipment and parts – regular monitoring and service along with optimal use are the key elements.

It is clear that this type of actions do not suffice to reach the environmental targets, but each one of them is a step closer to the goal. The most important thing is to listen to the personnel at the facility, be open to their proposals and make sure that there is a functioning channel for them to present their ideas.

What have we at Maintpartner done? We are committed to reducing the use of natural resources, like energy and raw materials - both our own and those of our customers. In our own operations this is visible for example as reduced waste and recycling. We also prefer video conferences and minimize the use of cars, and optimize heating.

Also EU with its energy efficiency directives, increasing regulatory requirements, and the emission levels determined by each industry bring obligations to improve environmental performance and speed up the work to make the existing processes and cleaning technologies more efficient.


Laura Kauppinen

laura.kauppinen[at]maintpartner.com

 

The author heads the support functions People and Tools & Materials at Maintpartner Group. HSEQ is part of the People function.

Blog: Price of production disturbances

As a sales leader, I meet tens of existing and potential customers every month. During the past few months I’ve realized that something has changed in their behavior. Instead of focusing 100% to direct operation and/or maintenance spend with an accuracy of a euro cent there has been vastly increased focus on productivity. Perhaps this change is caused by improved economic operating environment, a strong push from CxO-level to investigate the possibilities of IoT or something else, but I sincerely believe that this is a positive development.

It is surprising how differently customers from different industrial sectors are aware of the value of lost production. In energy industry, the most educated companies know exactly what the value of each unavailability event was. Other companies, who produce a greater variety of products, may only have a vague idea of the cost of disturbances. In both situations, it is beneficial to gain more understanding of what caused the disturbance (i.e. the root cause), how it could have been prevented and what was the actual impact.

Latest predictive analytics tools can be utilized to analyze the behavior of even the most complex production plants to predict failures well in advance. This enables operators to react to abnormal behavior and even help them to prevent disturbances to production. By doing this, production losses and unavailability costs can be at least minimized, if not eliminated.

In some of our service solutions, in which we have combined predictive analytics with effectively managed operation and maintenance services, we have achieved up to 90% reduction in production losses. However, this requires seamless cooperation between operation and maintenance personnel and proper management tools and structures to ensure implementation of corrective actions in timely manner. In any case, predictive analytics can be used to optimize more traditional maintenance services such as predictive maintenance program. This also greatly increases the productivity of maintenance personnel and eliminates over- and under-maintenance of critical devices and thus disturbances to production.

Rules of the game

I have with interest followed the recent events in sports, like the discussion about lip balm. A Norwegian skier raised the interest by using lip balm that is apparently suitable for many different purposes. Without going deeper in this issue I’ll say simply that the rules of the game concerning this skier most likely will be changed. Future plans may be affected also for those two Swedish top swimmers who removed the logos of their sponsors in social media publications. Both examples show that there are limits which need to be followed.

Also in business there are limits and operational models. Though a bit reversely, because in companies undergoing a heavy change the old operational models must be given up and new, modern ones taken into use. Maintpartner is a company which helps its customers to be more successful by applying state-of-the-art digital operational processes. From us this requires a strong change in the way we use the existing systems.

Be a true hero – a work safety hero!

March 2016

The idea of sacrificing oneself to achieve something greater is regarded as heroic. We have all grown up seeing Hollywood movies where the hero takes enormous risks to reach his goals, and the outcome is always the same, the hero wins and he never gets hurt, not seriously anyway. Think of Indiana Jones and James Bond, for instance.

But let’s get back to the real life. We humans are social animals and throughout the history of mankind we have had two main tasks to ensure our existence, getting food and keeping our tribe safe from danger. Throughout the history we have become very good at this and actually it is the main reason why we humans still exist today.

Sustainability in industrial maintenance

In recent years we have seen an increased focus on sustainability in industry. This is a healthy trend, and all of us working with industrial maintenance must ask ourselves what sustainability means for us, our employees and our customers. Sustainable development can be divided into three categories:


•Social sustainability - Building a society where basic human needs are met
•Ecological sustainability – How to economize human and material resources
•Economic sustainability - Financial growth taking environment and human health into account

Industrial maintenance goes digital

Many consider digitalization to be technology. It certainly is, but technology by itself cannot accomplish much – it requires people who use the technology correctly. A major part of our business, industrial maintenance, involves leading people. Technology can be of assistance in this work.

Production facilities are offered a variety of maintenance systems that contain information on production equipment, maintenance history and spare parts management, among other things. We have very extensive experience in the advantages and disadvantages of maintenance systems, having used numerous applications and maintenance systems over the past decades. These and many similar systems offer a great deal of information, but we must also be able to process this information into practical actions, thereby making it possible to continuously improve operations.

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