Maintaining the integrity and reliability of equipment and assets is key to enabling higher levels of safety, efficiency and productivity within hazardous industries today. Maintenance (preventive, corrective and predictive) and Inspection activities are no longer a necessary evil, but a necessary pre-requisite to avoid unplanned shutdowns, remain competitive and reduce operating costs.
Especially in potentially dangerous hazardous areas or harsh environments, the vision to achieve consistent maintenance and continuous improvement cannot rely on the old ways of paper forms and radios for efficient data exchange, communication & collaboration.
ecom´s Mobile Worker framework provides a flexible and integrated wireless ecosystem built around rugged and explosion-proof mobile computers (tablets, smart phones, PDAs), wireless peripheral devices and smart software applications. This combination enables new levels of collaboration by helping maintenance technicians to stay connected to supervisors and maintenance experts, and brings new levels of productivity and data integrity.
Minimising Production Losses
Production losses caused by unplanned and planned downtime can be minimised in hazardous areas by connecting and integrating the data held in "information silos", such as Excel spreadsheets and databases held by different sites, teams and people.
Similarly, handheld computers working in "offline mode" (without access to wireless networks on the site) and handwritten notes are still being used to record data captured during periodic plant inspections. Both methods have the disadvantage that the onsite technician and remote offsite experts cannot rely on or share the latest centralized data to quickly identify and resolve problems or defects.
For example, to achieve Operational Efficiency improvement for Pipelines, Oil and Gas production facilities, Chemical plants and Refineries requires that information is available to all those employees responsible for the operation and maintenance of the equipment when they need it.
Easily fitting in your hand or on your arm, the world's first explosion-proof Android smartphone (Smart-Ex(R)01) provides an easy-to-use and secure platform to keep your workforce informed and improve maintenance & inspection data integrity. Supporting combined certification for Zone 1/21 and 2/22 and Division 1 and 2 on a single device, Smart-Ex(R)01 is ideal for global rollout projects and inspection contractors who need to visit and support customer sites around the world.
Equipped as standard with the latest 4G/LTE and Bluetooth 4.0 BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) wireless communications technologies, Smart-Ex(R)01 simplifies two-way communication and collaboration between mobile users out on the plant, the experts at the control center and the backend systems, helping to reduce travel and helicopter expenses and the associated travel/site exposure risk.
Authorised personnel from technicians to supervisors and management have access to centralized real-time information when they need it. Technicians can perform maintenance on equipment, capturing maintenance/inspection results and viewing or receiving notifications and decisions by text or email, with the ability to call and talk to their team when they need to, without the additional hindrance of paper forms and radios. Such integrated ways of working help to prevent unwanted outages by improving work process effectiveness & visibility, reacting faster to anomalies, streamlining decision-making and ultimately reducing cost.
Recurring service and maintenance tasks are also easier to do and document, with proof that the correct equipment has been visited, thanks to the integrated Smart-Ex(R) 01 NFC/RFID function and the optional built-in camera for photos, video capture, video calling, and even 1D/2D barcode scanning.
Future-Proof & Flexible to cope with changing needs
As the pressure increases on maintenance teams to deliver ever higher productivity and better data integrity, the need for a solution which is designed to adapt to your changing needs is becoming essential. For automated equipment identification, the transition from barcode to RFID, and LF RFID to UHF RFID, are two examples of these changing needs.
ecom's modular Mobile Worker ecosystem delivers the future-proofing and flexibility you expect by further extending the standard integrated capabilities to include LF/HF/UHF RFID, fast multi-range 1D/2D barcode scanners, wireless headsets, health/condition monitoring, Bluetooth beacons, and HART modems to name just a few.
This ecosystem makes it possible to quickly and accurately identify equipment, tools, spare parts and even the location of employees. Maintenance jobs can be performed faster and more efficiently, significantly reducing the workers' exposure to dangerous areas.
Demanding More in the Field
But, with an ageing workforce and a rapidly growing need to extend the desktop applications out into the field for visibility of work execution in real-time, the small screens offered by smartphones and PDAs limit their usefulness as a tool for these application types -- until now.
With the 8 inch display provided by ecom's tablet Tab-Ex(R)01, planning, maintenance, SCADA/DCS, ERP (SAP/Maximo) and CAD applications are now practical to deploy in hazardous environments (Zone 1 and 2 / Division 1 and 2) where explosive gases or dust may occur.
Supporting a wide range of wireless capabilities including 4G/LTE cellular, WiFi and Bluetooth BLE, Tab-Ex(R)01 DZ1 (the world´s first Zone 1/21 and Division 1 certified tablet) increases the opportunity for your teams to stay connected and have access to information on demand, when they need it. Based on the rugged Samsung Galaxy Tab Active tablet, Tab-Ex(R)01 DZ1 and TabEx(R)01 DZ2 (for use in Zone2/Division 2 areas) deliver new safety, compatibility and security capabilities not found on most rugged and "EX" rated tablets, reducing your exposure and risk.
The ability to view and receive online permits, notifications, work orders, new decisions, documentation, drawings and even training videos, automatically or on-demand, now becomes a reality, ensuring the teams in the field stay connected and use the most accurate information.
And, employees in potentially hazardous working environments no longer need to depend on sensitive and bulky printed documents on clipboards, when maps or diagrams are necessary to carry out maintenance or other activities -- Tab-Ex(R)01 can bring a digital version of this paperwork into the field, bringing efficiency, leading to cost reduction and even saving lives.
Preventing maintenance delays
Delays caused by materials or tools being unavailable or temporarily lost are commonplace for maintenance operations. But, it doesn't need to be this way.
The use of barcodes and RFID tags to quickly identify materials and tools during issue, usage, movement, storage and return operations enables a fast and accurate way of keeping track of which items were issued, to which maintenance job, and to whom -- even scanning items which are located on racks 5 metres high.
Given that many of these "track & trace" applications still operate on the Windows mobile IT infrastructure, ecom's i.roc(R) Ci70 PDA is an ideal fit, offering added flexibility with plug-in modules to suit your data collection needs.
Knowing where materials and tools are when you need them can help to reduce the maintenance delays and the associated frustration and cost.
The Right Tools for Maintenance Improvement
Using the right tools can improve maintenance quality and efficiency. ecom's Mobile Worker framework provides a comprehensive, unified mobile solution built around rugged and explosion-proof mobile computers (tablets, smart phones, PDAs) to open the door to an easier and more connected way of performing maintenance tasks.
Mobile Worker advantages include:
- Increased Operational Efficiency and speed of inspections
- Enables Collaboration with others from any location at any time
- Increased productivity due to paperless workflows and automated processes
- Improved safety with Lone Worker Protection
- Improved data accuracy and quality
- Reduced time and cost