How digital rounds help plant operators trend data and prevent costly failures
Operators at the Fort Detrick Energy Production Facility recorded their rounds on paper. The paper logs made it hard for plan leadership to analyze historical trends, predict failures, and complete compliance reports.
AssetSense built the plant’s custom digital rounds in less than one month. Now, operators can monitor all of Fort Detrick’s equipment —helping the plant avoid forced outages and costly downtime.
"Moving from paper logs to AssetSense was like getting behind the wheel of a Corvette after driving a horse and buggy."
Fort Detrick is a United States Army Medical Command installation located in Frederick, Maryland. Its 1,200-acre campus energy production facility supplies steam, chilled water, electricity conditioning services, and emergency backup power to US Government facilities.
Operators are on the frontline when it comes to ensuring the health, reliability, and performance of power generation assets.
However, many plants still rely on manual systems that are prone to errors and inefficiencies. Using these systems prevents plant managers from gaining the insights they need to avoid costly outages and ensure that production flows smoothly.
No one knows this better than Bob McNally, Plant Manager at Energy Systems Group—Fort Detrick Energy Production Facility.
“We used to store our operator logs on paper. Our filing cabinets were full, and it was hard to find information,” said McNally.
The paper logs didn’t allow for trending. Fort Detrick lacked insight into how historical trends might impact asset performance in the future. Without this information, plant leadership couldn’t predict when an asset might fail or need maintenance.
Meanwhile, the paper logs made reporting cumbersome.
“Each week, I had to flip through a 52-page log to find information for our compliance report,” said Jennifer Metz, Service Order Supervisor at Fort Detrick. “It took me hours to decipher handwriting and enter data into the report manually.”
The huge paper logs would often get damaged, making it even harder for Metz to find information.
McNally and Metz knew that they needed to move to electronic rounds to streamline their processes, gain access to real-time data, and make reporting easier.
McNally looked into several solutions for digital operator rounds. He chose AssetSense, as it could be completely customized to meet his needs.
Here are three more reasons why Bob chose AssetSense:
They can use these apps to perform digital rounds from any location —whether they are working on the floor or in the field.
With the push of a button, they can view operator activity and then follow up to ensure accountability.
Plant leadership can log in at any time to view historical trends. Then, they can analyze equipment’s long-term performance without needing to compare countless manual records and spreadsheets.
These notifications empower operators to fix problems before they impact production.
Fort Detrick started a trial with AssetSense in July of 2014 and had everything set up by August. This time frame included customizations, such as cloning a route and building a tool that would turn a piece of equipment off and on.
Now, 11 operators and supervisors use AssetSense to monitor all of Fort Detrick’s equipment.
“We monitor everything with AssetSense—from our boilers to our fire and security systems. AssetSense helps keep our plant operating in tip-top performance,” said McNally.
Since AssetSense includes intuitive mobile apps, it’s easy for operators to use. In fact, most AssetSense customers can get operators up-and-running with just 1-2 days of training.
“The switch to AssetSense was painless. Our operators caught on quickly and with minimal complaints—which says a lot,” said Metz.
AssetSense helped the Fort Detrick Energy Production Facility achieve the following results:
The ability to trend data
Plant operators no longer need to carry huge pads of paper when they perform rounds. Instead, they use their iPads to collect asset data and view trends. When they open the AssetSense app, they can see what’s normal, where trends are going, and if something is outside of tolerances.
“The ability to go back and look at electrical meter readings was useful when we had an interruption to our server and lost some data,” said McNallly. “With AssetSense, we could immediately recapture the information we needed for our reports.”
Faster and easier reporting
AssetSense saves Metz time by making it easier for her to organize, store, and extract data.
“I simply log into AssetSense, pull the report, and export it to Microsoft Excel,” said Metz. “AssetSense has reduced my compliance reporting time from hours to less than 30 minutes.”
Increased operator efficiency
When operators open the AssetSense mobile app, they immediately see what needs their attention. Fort Detrick even split their rounds into AM and PMs shifts so that operators only see the information that is relevant to them.
“I’d recommend AssetSense to other power generation facilities who still do logs the old-school way with reams of paper. AssetSense has streamlined our logging processes and made our operators more efficient,” said Metz.
Improved asset performance
AssetSense gives operators the real-time and historized data they need to quickly spot problems. Operators can flag issues and create work orders. Then, Fort Detrick’s maintenance team can address problems before they lead to failures.
“AssetSense puts real-time information at our fingertips. Operators can make fast adjustments based on trends. Meanwhile, the time I’m saving allows me to address other issues in the plant promptly,” said McNally.
The Fort Detrick Energy Production Facility is expanding and adding equipment. Since AssetSense scales quickly, McNally’s team can seamlessly connect and monitor these new assets.
AssetSense elevates equipment performance in the energy and process manufacturing industries. Plant leaders use AssetSense to cut costs, increase productivity, raise product quality, eliminate breakdowns, and improve operational performance.
Our modern asset performance monitoring (APM) platform combines cloud-enabled predictive analytics, mobile applications, and industrial IoT into a single solution—providing real-time visibility across entire fleets.
Customers such as Vistra Energy, Fort Detrick, and Energy Systems Group rely on our premium product and unrivaled user experience. Our customer success guarantee is unmatched in the industry.
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