Complex, modern machinery requires both regular maintenance as well as periodic overhauls carried out by expert technicians. These are usually deployed or trained by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Today, for those involved in industrial gas compression, the use of remote support technology is proving to be invaluable as a tool that can help to minimise downtime and expedite repairs.
Across modern industry, the digital revolution has made massive steps to improve the performance and reliability of equipment possible. Enhanced data recording and analysis have reduced the time to diagnose issues, while better communications technology has enabled more support to be provided remotely.
Virtual on-hand expertise
OEMs have a responsibility to provide support for their products, and this may require skilled personnel to be on-site to deliver hands-on assistance. However, at times, this may not be possible in the timeframe required by the operator, so a suitable alternative is needed.
World events have highlighted how resourceful businesses have overcome major logistical challenges to their operations, enabling them to continue improving the service they deliver. Now, those that have adopted greater flexibility in the way they deliver their services, are benefiting from reduced project costs and greater customer satisfaction.
Modern technology can often provide some of the solutions, for example, remote support software that enables a technical expert to guide a maintenance technician who is on site and provide precise instruction. For those working offshore or in the marine sector, this type of support can deliver many benefits. In such remote locations, expert support can be difficult to obtain, especially at short notice, so the ability to diagnose faults and complete maintenance tasks with remote support can significantly reduce costs as well as downtime.
Taking on challenging environments
The existence of zoned areas where potentially explosive gases may be present significantly increase the challenge of delivering remote support. This has been tackled head-on by Burckhardt Compression, which has developed a specialised range of digital solutions for its products. The wisdom of these developments has been borne out following the recent worldwide pandemic.
The scale of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption to almost every aspect of business and industrial life. For those needing to support customers with on-site technical help, the stringent travel restrictions posed a considerable challenge.
Fortunately, digitalisation and Industry 4.0 had laid the foundations for improved diagnostics and communications that would eventually lead to the more efficient identification and resolution of problems. As a leading manufacturer of large gas compressors that are used throughout the petrochemical business, Burckhardt Compression is leading the field with its UP! Solutions package.
Instant support globally
Increased data availability and improved analytics has enabled Burckhardt Compression to offer three solutions for operators of its equipment. These provide customers with the tools to benefit from optimized compressor availability and efficiency by delivering access to immediate and ongoing technical support anywhere in the world.
UP! Remote Support delivers help when it is needed; an experienced technician can assist virtually in resolving an immediate issue. If necessary, this can be taken to the next level by involving specialized engineers to offer more in-depth analysis using the remote application.
The concept for UP! Remote Support is to provide immediate technical assistance when it is required, wherever it is required. This may be as part of a diagnosis or checking spare parts are available in preparation for scheduled maintenance. At the heart of this package is an ATEX-certified tablet and headset that enables the technician on-site to communicate and receive instructions via a secure network connection.
Improved availability and performance
The ability to show live images and receive instant feedback cuts maintenance time to an absolute minimum, ensuring continued productivity for the operator. This concept also reduces costs and ensures technical support is always available. For example, planned maintenance projects can only be completed efficiently if all the necessary spare parts are on-hand and this can be checked, using remote support, before the compressor is taken offline.
In addition to the remote support aspect, Burckhardt Compression is also developing other complementary solutions. The UP! Connected Compressor solution uses predictive maintenance and optimized servicing intervals to maximize productivity and uptime. This is accompanied by the UP! Solutions Navigator, which provides all relevant information for a compressor along with its service history.
As more developments are made, so operators are beginning to appreciate the full scope of support that can be offered using remote communication tools. Together, the UP! Solutions package offers instant access to compressor data and improved productivity as well as greatly reduced response times for unplanned maintenance. To enable overhaul projects to be scheduled precisely as well as providing access to expert support when operating in remote locations, Burckhardt Compression has developed a set of tools that can minimise costs, even in the most challenging times.