Augury’s Account Executive for Chemicals & Agricultural, Tim Sykes, reflects on how heavy industries no longer have to sacrifice OEE in the name of safeguarding humans or the environment. Today, all these factors align under a Machine Health-driven predictive maintenance program.
With over 10 years of experience in the Chemical and Oil & Gas industries – both in the field and corporate headquarters – I’ve had a front row seat as heavy industry re-invented itself.
Traditionally risk-averse and a slow adopter to technological innovation, the industry is now building on its achievements in ensuring increased safety and environmental diligence. Today, more and more companies are embracing a proactive role in making materials that build a better world.
And while there’s a lot of buzz around ‘the circular economy’, chemical production companies are bypassing the buzz by already transforming chemical wastes into raw material inputs. They know firsthand the challenges produced by resource scarcity – and the consequences the industry could face as those resources dwindle.
Certainly, 2020 was generally challenging for all manufacturers. But the chemicals industry can now be more optimistic than most since its main end markets – housing and automotive – are projected to remain high-demand for the foreseeable future.
But yes, to maintain any forward momentum we must leverage every available advantage.
Chemical companies like to think they are different from other – “light industrial” – manufacturers.
But when it comes down to it, it’s all about getting products out the door as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. We all have to produce.
That’s why it’s so important to be proactive with your maintenance and reliability program so everyone understands when a machine is going to fail and how to fix it. In this way we can follow through on producing the amounts we promised on time. It doesn’t matter if you are making iced tea or sulphuric acid, these are the value drivers that unites all manufacturers. And certainly, Augury has a proven track record in helping provide that value.
But yes, the chemicals industry is special in that if something goes wrong, you don’t want your personnel in the vicinity. And for this reason, safety has become the 1, 2 and 3 for heavy industry – with environmental concerns coming close at 4.
This is what sets the industry apart.
And this is why I love my job. I can help chemical companies take the next steps in their journeys – in terms of both the bottom line and achieving their safety and environmental goals. In the past, I’ve seen too many companies trying to digitally transform and simply failing because of the unnecessary complexity of the so-called solutions. Instead of getting adopted, the tech just added another layer of confusion to their operational technology.
Augury has a straightforward solution – a simple and elegant approach that was in fact the reason I was attracted to join the company in the first place. Via sensors, machines are directly connected to the cloud. Anomalies detected are translated into actionable insights. The process bypasses a plant’s existing digital infrastructure that would otherwise create unnecessary obstacles, costs or complexity.
Augury really focuses on the big picture problem of generating machine health insights – and that’s it. It’s then up to the customer to actually get the value out of the system by acting on them. We’re not on-site. That’s not our business. But we do make it our business to drive adoption via our Customer Success Program.
And no matter what industry you’re in, no one can argue with speedy ROI at scale.
As a bonus, predictive maintenance also maximizes safety. We all know that reactive work is dangerous work – that fixing a machine in an emergency situation is often more dangerous than the failure itself. So why not snap on a sensor that collects data 24/7/365 so you can avoid mid-operation shutdowns – while also keeping your people out of harm’s way?
In the same way, you can improve your environmental results. For example, you can’t really predict a pump seal failure in itself. But we can predict imbalance or misalignment – the leading indicators of a pump seal failure. By knowing this, you can get ahead of the game and replace the seal before it blows.
And this way, you get to keep your show on the road.
Today, every chemical manufacturing company has an environmental and sustainability initiative. And as I mentioned above, many are not seeing it not as a cost but as a market opportunity. Certainly, the world needs a whole rainbow of chemical solutions – even beyond those still required for EVs and solar.
And as chemical companies build materials to create a more sustainable world, they are also internalizing that drive: by turning to renewable energy sources and making their own processes better.
So let’s do this together.
Do you want to learn more about how Machine Health solutions can boost your business – and EHS – goals? Reach out by email or phone me directly at +1-(713)-201-8249 so we can arrange a conversation about improving both OEE and EHS.
As Augury’s Enterprise Account Executive for Chemicals & Agricultural, Tim Sykes comes backed with over a decade of experience in automation and digital technologies within heavy industries – both in the field and at HQ. Driven by a passion to “learn continuously”, he’s currently finishing a Masters in Data Analytics – while still finding time to coach a wrestling team on evenings and weekends. Talk to him.