Tighten Up: 4 Calibration Tips for Better EAM
How does an asset-intensive business know that its operations are where they should be? It relies on instrumentation to deliver real-time readings. But how does that same business know its pressure gauges, scales and sensors are balanced and accurate? By comparing those components to instruments with higher standards, an act we all recognize as calibration.
Hidden in how we calibrate lie efficiency gains waiting to be unearthed. What can your maintenance technicians or equipment operators do to minimize downtime losses related to calibration while upholding compliance and asset excellence? Read our insights into improving Enterprise Asset Management through calibration best practices.
4 Calibration Tips for Better EAM
1. Coordinate calibration with maintenance downtime
If, for whatever reason, an asset has to come offline for repairs or root cause analysis, take the opportunity to calibrate its various instruments. Layering calibration on top of maintenance work orders prevents future downtime necessary to assess machine accuracy.
"A plant has as many as 10,000 instruments requiring calibration."
2. Always have precalibrated spares on hand
In the event of a critical instrumentation failure, switching out the component entirely might save time, provided it has been fine-tuned beforehand.
Keep in mind, however, a midsized manufacturing plant has as many as 10,000 instruments requiring calibration. An inventory of precalibrated critical spares is valuable. Should you choose to employ a spare instrument, consult asset criticality rankings to determine whether the spare is worth sacrificing in the moment.
3. Move to mobile calculation/verification system
Pen-and-paper calculations add time and introduce risk into the calibration cycle. Instead, invest in technology that gives your team flawless solutions to calibration equations as well as mobile access its most important digital resources: asset user manuals, safety procedures, compliance codes, etc. A mobile verification process also ensures each calculation passes a supervisor’s scrutiny in a timely manner.
Furthermore, mobile connectivity provides technicians on the go with real-time updates on asset performance, notifications on critical instrumentation failures and suggestions for follow-up actions. Need to submit a purchase acquisition to accounting? Do it right then and there over a smartphone, tablet or industrial handheld device.
4. Label instrumentation with valuable information
Certain industries have strict labeling regulations to adhere to. Others do not but could benefit greatly from calibration stickers. Although required information on labels varies according to codes and industry, a few data points are always helpful:
- Discrete identification number
- Date of last calibration
- Projected date of next calibration
- Name of internal point of contact
How can predictive maintenance and EAM deliver further results?
As previously mentioned, an average-sized industrial facility may hold thousands of instruments in need of calibration. Ratcheting down processes around a handful will certainly pay off in small ways, but imagine what that same business could do if it could run diagnostics on all of them at once. Asset management platforms such as IBM Maximo or Infor EAM integrate well with popular statistical analysis software to extract intelligence users can really act on.
What if that company, for example, used its EAM software to isolate 400 low-performing sensors on six-month calibration cycles? In a few keystrokes, those instruments could be bumped up to three-month cycles so technicians can work with them more closely and potentially avoid large-scale equipment failures in the process.
On the other hand, that same software could identify instrumentation with calibration cycles far shorter than they require. Users can then batch update those components to longer cycles and save time and money on unnecessary downtime.