The Calpine story Kevin Nordenstrom tells above is convincing proof that predictive maintenance work, but the road was not without its bumps, especially at the start. As he notes, "One of the challenges we faced with the program was getting the individual Calpine plants on board with the PdM program. In particular, it was challenging to justify and demonstrate the value of PdM because of the difficulty in measuring and documenting the cost savings of potential events that were ultimately prevented and never occurred."
Just three years before the $1.5 million savings noted in Nordenstrom's story, "only a handful of Calpine's plants routinely practiced PdM techniques, with each conducting its own PdM activities in a non-standardized manner. As a result, no uniform technology or strategy was used, sharing of best practices and successes was limited, and each plant handled equipment failures in its own unique manner."
"After reviewing the options and potential strategies for meeting up-time and, reliability, and profitability goals, senior management decided to develop and begin implementing a comprehensive PdM program," he recalls. "Simply stated, we can't allow our customers to be without power. To make sure that doesn't happen, we needed a uniform PdM program that could readily implemented at the majority of our plants."
And, that's where the game-changing power of predictive maintenance really shines, sharing information to make the best maintenance decisions across scores of plants, all sharing the same objectives.
"Rolled out to the individual plants..., the new PdM program consisted of a variety of proactive tools and techniques, including condition-monitoring hardware and software from Rockwell Automation...By implementing common procedures and practices among the various plants, Calpine is [able] to share experiences and documented successes, which will help drive further efficiencies and cost savings across plants. Cost savings also resulted from implementing an enterprise-network system."
Going from isolated maintenance specialists making their individual decisions alone, virtually "in the dark," to a dedicated PdM team sharing their experiences, notes, and observations across dozens of power plants magnifies the power and value of predictive maintenance enormously. And, if Calpine can do it, so can other large networks of facilities sharing similar tasks and technologies--almost certainly including yours.
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