Asset efficiency: what’s in it for drives users?

The trend towards an asset life-cycle management model

Certainly in the last 5 years I have seen a swing towards extending the life of assets rather than just replacing them.

I have seen companies willing to except higher levels of risk by running critical plant with drives that have very low levels of support. Some companies think they are safe because they have spares and the drive has not let them down. One thing I can guarantee is that every drive will break down, just not when that will happen.

Asset efficiency is defined by Reliability, Availability and Maintainability. These core requirements are essential in the optimum performance of a critical asset likes medium voltage drives or large multidrive systems critical to the plants or processes efficient operation.

If either of the requirements are not optimised then critical processes are put at risk. Let’s take a closer look at the requirements themselves.

Reliability: Run without failure during normal production times

I feel a critical drive must by nature be reliable, once the process has started the drive must continue to perform its duty to the designed specification for the entire time of the production or process run. Unplanned breakdowns can have a dramatic impact on quality, cost control, and end customer satisfaction.

Availability: Start when needed even after periods of no operation

Some processes or production runs do not happen all year. Some batch production may be dependent on end customer orders to the production facility. It is important that when the drive asset is called upon to deliver it must be available to do so. Also after holiday or shutdown breaks it is important that the critical asset starts up without problems for production.

Maintainability: Have availability of spares, on call service support and service engineers

In my view as manufactures of drives and drive systems continue to develop new drive technologies and ranges to replace existing ones, it is a fact of life that the MV and LV  legacy drives will become less supportable as they age (just at the time they need support the most), leaving the user with a critical asset that has no availability of spares, service or support.

I see many drive manufacturers focus on designing and delivering the end users next new drive technology or system expecting that they will continue to rip and replace their critical assets every twenty years or so. I believe the users face an ever bewildering range of “next generation” products with support withdrawn for their existing Drive Assets, sometimes in as little as 10 years. This leaves them with little choice but to keep tied into the rip and replace cycle that defines the limit of their return on investment they can get from their plant drive assets. ABB is different.

ABB has a lifecycle management model defined for our MV and LV drive products that enables the drive user to maintain the Asset Efficiency of all their ABB Drive Assets and the spares supporting them that are held at user’s premises. During the lifecycle of the drive as it ages ABB offers Preventive Maintenance kits to ensure the Drives Asset Efficiency is kept at optimum. As the drive ages further, upgrades and retrofits to improve the drives performance become available. All designed to keep the Drives Asset at maximum performance.

We know, that any critical Drive Asset is a primary concern irrespective of whether it is an ABB or other manufacturer’s drive or drive system. Recognizing that ABB offers the ability to retrofit its aging legacy drives with its current generation of advanced drive technology. This applies to both Low Voltage multidrives and Medium Voltage drives, ABB and non-ABB supply. Here we keep the existing cubical, bus-bars, and existing Power Stack for MV. The solution for medium voltage LCI drives even includes the upgrading of other manufacturers’ drives and both LV and MV LCI and cascade technologies covered.

In order to maximise the return on investment of large and complex drive systems and protect the continuity of production it is important to maintain a high level of Asset Efficiency.

With a raft of services and tools we can ensure your Drives Asset Efficiency is at optimum, saving you 10’s of thousands in lost production and unplanned downtime costs.

For more information, visit our website

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About the author

Nigel Allen

I've spent 30 years in Industrial Automation Sales of Drives, PLC’s, motion and Sensing. The last 5 years have been spent in system and solution sales providing upgrades for a range of legacy automation equipment. I joined ABB nearly 2 years ago as Sales Manager of Dynamotive business, and 8 months ago continued in the role of Regional Business Manager for ABB Tailored Solutions and Services business.
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