Machine Condition Monitoring Roles
Guest writer Ron Wilson writes this week’s blog on the topic of Machine Condition Monitoring Roles as part of a dealer’s product support offerings.
Over the past few years, we have been experiencing a new era emerge around machine condition monitoring.
- OnStar was introduced in 1996 with a focus on a commitment to the “safety, security and peace of mind to its members”. (The evolution of Onstar- https://www.onstar.com/why-onstar/evolution-of-onstar-innovations)
- Fluid analysis began sometime around the mid 1940’s with a focus on temperature, pressure and the occasional check for oil color and viscosity. (A History of Oil Analysis, Noria Media January 2023).
- Payload monitoring has always been important but often was limited to the number of loads estimating the volume based on the bucket size. I remember my dad operating a wheel loader using two counters (one counting the number of trucks and one counting the number of loads).
For the most part dealers didn’t have a major need, or the ability, to apply condition monitoring within their dealership. Today condition monitoring is becoming a core piece of assisting the customers manage their fleet in areas such as:
- Safety that can identify objects in the way of machine operation, operators being distracted, theft of a machine, locking out the use of machine.
- Health of the machine and its internal components such as overheats, degree of wear/contaminates, condition of the various fluids, and fault codes indicating various potential issues ranging from life of a component to operator practices.
- Production management in areas of payload, weight distribution, cycle times, fuel burn.
The equipment industry is moving from a Reactive & Preventive maintenance approach to Predictive and Proactive maintenance program at an extremely fast pace.
Many dealers have implemented roles and responsibilities around the areas of recording, analyzing, reporting, and recommendations based on the results from the various condition monitoring indicators. These roles provide valuable information to the customers and allow them to make decisions based on the data/information received with professional input and experience from the dealership and OEM.
Dealerships have begun integrating three primary roles within condition monitoring to support their customer base. The customers’ expectations will vary based on their own internal strengths and expertise, while utilizing the variety of information available from each machine and applied across their fleet.
The three roles that have emerged relating to the management, interpreting, and communication of the data/information relating to condition monitoring, in support the Product Support Sales Representatives are:
- Condition Monitoring Specialist/Analyst- This role includes the collection and analysis of information relating to:
- Equipment inspections
- Work order/repair history
- Fluid/vibration/thermography analysis and trends
- Fault code information collected remotely, during machine inspections, and onsite data downloads.
- Diagnostic test results
- Predictive analysis-based baseline information and historical data
- Preparing reports and summary information to be reviewed/reported to the customers
- Equipment Management Consultant- This role may include tasks such as:
- Equipment acquisition, disposal, and lifecycle management recommendations. Collaborating with the customer and dealer personnel to develop and maintain a comprehensive equipment lifecycle management strategy relating to rebuilds and replacement.
- Maintenance planning includes preventive maintenance schedules, maintenance programs and procedures that optimize the utilization and reduce downtime.
- Compliance and safety requirements are maintained, and all product updates are being addressed.
- Equipment/Asset Manager takes the information relating to the two roles above while working with the Product Support Sales and Equipment Sales Representatives for the specific customer to develop an overall fleet plan through the lifecycle of the fleet.
- Understanding the customers fleet planning strategy. Customers vary in their fleet replacement strategy relating to rebuilds/replacement schedules.
- Overseeing the fleet maintenance and repair plans. Keep the maintenance schedule within the parameters developed in cooperation with the customer.
- Monitor equipment performance compared to the established KPIs and provide early alerts the goals may not be accomplished and provide recommendations.
- Monitor the customers rebuilds in the shop based on the agreed upon scope of work. Any variances should be identified and resolved with the various shops, the customer, and the Product Support Sales Representative.
The role of condition monitoring has come a long way from the early days described at the beginning of this article, and the roles are early in their development.
It will be important for the dealerships to keep abreast of the technology introduction of the future, how to apply the data/information in making decisions that not only support the dealership but also supports the customers fleet management expectations and developing the internal skills of the dealership relating to the ever-evolving condition monitoring and fleet management.