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Data-based services offer new transparency
2nd Quarter 2017, Other technologies

Siemens Plant Data Services completed the installation of an online monitoring solution to assess the status of critical assets at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Centre situated on Edwards US Airforce base in California. The data based subscription service provides expert analysis and actionable recommendations to support predictive maintenance.

Client objectives

The reliability of the cooling plants’ chiller room and cooling systems are mission-critical. NASA wanted to upgrade its monitoring capabilities to provide maintenance managers greater visibility into the performance of assets such as fans, pumps, air handlers, and cooling towers. In addition to upgrading the centre’s monitoring devices, NASA also sought to increase transparency of the system’s performance data and gain insights for potential improvements in service/maintenance management and reduced operating costs.

Siemens evaluated the onsite requirements for the data-based subscription and installed a data acquisition system to measure vibration and speed information for the selected critical assets. The measured data is transferred via a secure Internet connection to the Siemens Expert Centre where data evaluation is performed through automated algorithms backed by experienced data analysts. This evaluation is powered by Azima DLI, provider of predictive maintenance analytical services and products for reliability, availability and uptime. In case of any significant status change of an asset, automatic notifications are sent to NASA and an analyst for review.

This data-based service brings a new kind of asset transparency to NASA providing updates through web-based cockpits for PC or mobile devices. The detailed analysis can identify developing failures in their early stages and significantly reduce troubleshooting time. Furthermore, it increases asset uptime by supporting predictive maintenance. Overall, NASA anticipates a reduction in cost through better maintenance efficiency and higher asset reliability.

Siemens solutions

Siemens developed a managed diagnostics services program for Armstrong. The Drive Train Analytics service provides NASA with the latest in digital monitoring technology, informed advice for choosing the ‘right’ data to be collected, and data analysis and actionable insights for improvements provided by leading experts in the field.

Working with the engineering and maintenance teams at Armstrong, Siemens identified 25 mission-critical assets to be included in the service. These assets included air handling units, compressors, cooling towers, fans, and hot and cold water pumps serving the chiller rooms and cooling systems.

Siemens engineers installed the data acquisition system, including sensors and software, to transfer information from equipment to the off-site Siemens Expert Centre. The measured data is transferred via a secure Internet connection that allows only one-way communication to enhance security. The system is designed with maximum flexibility and scalability, allowing NASA to add equipment as its systems, or the requirements change.

The solution took about a week to implement. Here is how it works:

• Data about critical equipment is gathered by sensors and automatically uploaded three times a day to servers at the Siemens Expert Centre.

• The data is processed using known algorithms, and any exceptions are immediately advanced to a Siemens expert for evaluation and to take further action if required.

• The Siemens Expert Centre has more than 40 vibration analysts who apply their technical training and field experience, giving NASA actionable insights to support a predictive maintenance programme.

• NASA engineers access visualisation and reporting tools through a web dashboard using PC and mobile devices. This offers the NASA team a near real-time level of transparency into asset health.

• NASA receives a monthly report that details performance of each asset and recommended maintenance actions, if appropriate, as well as insights to support better operations at Armstrong.

Client results

With managed diagnostic services, the team at Armstrong can be more confident in the performance and reliability of their systems. Benefits realised by NASA from this data-driven service include:

• Greater transparency into the health of critical assets through continuous monitoring and predictive analytics.

• Expert insights for potential improvements in service/maintenance management.

• Increased asset uptime through the application of predictive maintenance.

• Reduced troubleshooting time due to detailed analysis that can identify developing failures at an early stage.

• Reduced operating costs through improved maintenance efficiency and higher asset reliability.

Siemens Plant Data Services provides a framework for using a customer’s production and machine data to identify opportunities for productivity and reliability improvement as well as increasing transparency of their industrial processes.

For more information contact Jennifer Naidoo, Siemens Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives, +27 (0)11 652 2795,,

Supplied By: Siemens Digital Factory & Process Ind. & Drives
Tel: +27 11 652 2382
Fax: 086 506 6149
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