Through a variety of activities and interactions, Sandia National Laboratories has observed limited adoption of electronic work orders in the wind industry. To explore the current use of work orders in the wind industry, the Continuous Reliability Enhancement for Wind (CREW) team at Sandia commissioned Muir Data Systems to develop and execute a survey on the topic. This report summarizes the responses and findings from that survey, including an overview of the work order information flow and assessments of the field, office, storage, and reporting aspects of work order use. This report is one of the steps in driving a culture change toward the electronic collection of accurate work order data and the development of a “full data picture” for the wind industry.
1.0 Executive Summary
This 29-page document summarizes the findings of a preliminary survey of wind turbine maintenance management. The US wind industry has been growing rapidly but little information about current maintenance practices is available.
Human generated work order data has been one of the more challenging data streams to integrate from the technician in the field to a database appropriate for merging with SCADA and Condition Monitoring Systems.
The overarching goal of the survey was to better understand how maintenance management information flows in the wind industry and the potential benefits of wind Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS).
The survey broke the maintenance management process into four steps:
1) Field – How inspection, or repair data, or both are recorded by technicians
2) Office – How the office processes work orders and with what other office systems work order data is shared
3) Storage – How and where completed work orders are stored and how often they are accessed to inform future maintenance decisions
4) Reporting – What analysis tools are used to generate what kinds of work order reports.
In each of the four steps of the maintenance management information flow survey model, emphasis was placed on determining technology used, time required to complete each step, and survey respondent level of satisfaction.
The online survey was completed by 51 respondents from a variety of wind companies and employee backgrounds. The company types included: independent service providers, owner operators, and original equipment manufacturers, and the employee types included: technicians, engineers, managers, executives, and industry consultants. It was found that the average work order information flow starts with a paper form which contains “Moderately Accurate” data, which is transcribed by the office into a “Somewhat Digital” hand-off to other office systems. The now “Digital” work order is stored on a server in a manner that is often not searchable and then reports are generated using templates in Excel, which typically takes 30 minutes. These reports are “Sometimes” used to help inform future maintenance decisions and the industry is “Moderately Satisfied” with this maintenance management scenario.
Key findings for each one of the information flow steps were as follows:
1) Respondent satisfaction was found to be the same for small companies processing few work orders and large companies processing large numbers of work orders
2) The top three pieces of information recorded in the field by technicians were:
a. Inspection / Repair Information
b. Time Spent
c. Employee(s) Present
3) In only 30% of the cases were work orders used to inform future maintenance decisions
4) Given current maintenance management tools, there was no perceived increase in work order accuracy as technology sophistication increased
5) The more time that technicians spent filling out work orders in the field, the greater the accuracy
6) Field satisfaction generally increased as work order accuracy increased
1) The top three systems that work order data was shared with were:
c. Finance & Accounting
2) There was a slight positive trend in office satisfaction as technology automation Increased Storage:
1) Work orders that were stored digitally were typically accessed more often
2) Regardless of whether work orders were stored at the wind plant, corporate headquarters, or both locations, there was no increase in how often work orders were accessed to help inform maintenance decisions
1) 57% of respondents performed no work order analysis or spreadsheet analysis
2) The top three work order analyses performed were:
a. Parts Usage
3) 45% of respondents share reports internally only, while another 36% share reports both internally and externally, and the remaining 19% was a mix of external sharing, not shared, internal database, and other Respondents ranked the most important benefits of CMMS in the following order:
a. Scheduling & Planning
b. Predictive Analysis
6 The survey results support the conclusion that a wind specific CMMS, when properly implemented, could reduce costs, increase uptime, and improve employee satisfaction. Properly implemented CMMS in other industries have demonstrated operations and maintenance cost reductions approaching 50%. The wind industry needs to demand better CMMS solutions. With current mobile technology CMMS can solve many of the challenges associated with the harsh and remote environment in which many wind turbines function.
Currently, development of CMMS in wind is lacking a focused effort. A committee dedicated to supporting the development a tailored wind maintenance management system would be a step in the right direction. Such a standardized system could significantly help lower the cost of wind energy.
Recommended follow on work included expanding the survey effort to increase statistical significance, and performing a case study of a wind maintenance organization before and after CMMS implementation. Standardization of data intake is important for wide industry adoption of CMMS and it is suggested that companies develop flowcharts of their current maintenance information trajectories such that an official taxonomy can be established.
In order to overcome the current implementation issues, the value propositions of CMMS must be better understood by the wind industry. The cultural barrier is one of the most difficult hurdles when convincing the wind industry of the value of data driven maintenance decision making.
Read the full report here: www.muirdata.com/wind-industry-work-order-information-flow-survey/
Filed Under: News, O&M