The water industry is increasingly turning to predictive maintenance as it addresses the challenge of improving the performance of a widespread network of assets, many of which are located on unmanned sites. This approach has become more accepted and pervasive with the increased use of Reliability Centered Maintenenance (RCM), which provides an analytical framework for the selection of maintenance strategies.
Although run to failure is a common strategy, both in the water industry and elsewhere, it can lead to high costs resulting from loss of availability, secondary damage, and excessive spares inventory. Planned maintenance is recognised as more cost-effective than run to failure for a wide range of equipment but often results in unnecessary maintenance interventions that can themselves introduce problems.
Predictive maintenance has become the preferred technique for critical assets in many situations, not only because it brings significant cost benefit advantages but also because it improves the level of control that engineers can exert over the future performance of their assets. This reduces the need to rely on inbuilt redundancy to cope with failures, leading to better capital efficiency.
The Artesis predictive maintenance system aims to provide all the benefits of traditional condition monitoring systems at a fraction of the complication and cost. Artesis MCM (motor condition monitor) uses an intelligent, model-based approach to provide complete monitoring and diagnostic capabilities for most electric motor driven equipment.
Each MCM unit covers a complete motor and the equipment driven by it, and is typically installed in the motor control cabinet. Since connections are required only to the motor supply cables, installation costs are low with no need to access the driven equipment for any sensor installation. Once installed, the system trains itself to recognise normal performance, following which it continuously monitors the equipment for possible faults. When such a fault is detected, the system provides a diagnosis of one of a wide range of mechanical and electrical problems, and indicates severity so that the user can make decisions on the most appropriate intervention.
Because the Artesis system is simple to install and requires little user intervention in operation, it combines low start-up costs with the significant benefits of predictive maintenance. Since it doesn’t require any sensor installation on the equipment itself, Artesis MCM is a particularly good solution for inaccessible equipment like submersible and borehole pumps.
A wide range of communications options are available, allowing users to integrate the Artesis system with their existing control and data acquisition or maintenance management architectures. Where facilities are spread across a wide geographic area, and may also be difficult to reach, a typical installation will combine automated alerts using email messages with centralised on-line monitoring screens.