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Transform maintenance operations with Maximo Application Suite and Visualisation

Insight by COSOL /

The application of digital engineering disciplines such as BIM to generate value for asset operations and maintenance (O&M) processes extends well beyond visualising what the asset itself looks like. When working with complex three-dimensional assets, BIM allows organisations to graphically plan work packages based on related tasks or their proximity to each other.

This maintenance use case for BIM in O&M brings spatial context and visualisation as a decision-making tool to planning and scheduling processes through visual and data filtering in the model. Asset-intensive organisations maintaining a distributed network of assets, utilities and public infrastructure operators in particular, are no strangers to bringing spatial and asset data together. Experiences in visualising maintenance operations in Geographic Information System (GIS) to locate assets and plan efficient work routes has generated knowledge that can be extended to a broader digital engineering environment.

In this post, we'll identify some of the operations challenges that can be addressed by advancing asset management maturity through BIM, IBM Maximo Application Suite (MAS) Manage and visualisation.

Tackling maintenance planning

Effective planning and scheduling elevates maintenance from an expense to an investment in asset performance. Without it, organisations can slip into a state where reactive maintenance is the norm, and the majority of maintenance effort is directed towards fixing equipment that breaks.

While there are some excellent work planning solutions available - like MAS Schedule and EZMaxPlanner - common operational challenges include:

  • Effective planning may require an asset to be shutdown so that access can be granted and inspections or works performed. When O&M providers have fixed maintenance windows and harsh penalties for unscheduled shutdowns, it pays to be able to package work with spatial context if resources are to be assigned and work completed as efficiently as possible.

  • Working with paper drawings or PDF versions of CAD drawings requires that maintenance workers have considerable domain knowledge and understand the relationships between different assets within IBM Maximo. Technical relationships, such as those between a work zone and its upstream isolation point for an electrical circuit, can be inferred more easily in a graphical view.

  • Relationships between work orders may not be easily inferred from work orders alone. For example, work orders requiring the same trade on different asset classes might be scheduled at completely different times, even though the assets are located right next to each other. Packaging work to limit the number of trips to site brings efficiency gains and reduces risk.

Use cases for BIM in maintenance operations

Successful BIM to Maximo integration opens the possibility for a variety of O&M improvements by enabling planners, schedulers and engineers to pinpoint required information quickly and easily through visual and data filtering in the model.

Visually understand and coordinate maintenance works

"As a Maintenance Planner, I want to be able to see and interrogate work orders by location so that similarities can be easily identified and grouped into efficient work packages."

Incorporating BIM with MAS Manage could allow planners to review and interrogate work orders within a visual representation of the asset or facility being maintained in order to improve work packaging, enhance planning operations and reduce risk. For example, when an inspection work order for a fire valve comes up within a specified area of a tunnel network, planners can run queries in the model to identify other valves in cross passages and create a single package of work that will reduce the number of times a suitably qualified inspector is required to visit the site. Similarly, visual filters can be applied to see the relationships between assets that will be affected by shutdowns when planning larger-scale maintenance works.

Identify and analyse work trends

"As a Reliability Engineer, I want to be able to see patterns in high frequency and high priority work orders so that root causes can be identified and preventive maintenance plans adjusted."

Work order history can be displayed thematically by type (reactive, planned, conditional monitoring, opportunistic), priority and frequency on the model to highlight problem areas. Using a simple traffic-light colour coding approach to identify the location of repeated reactive work orders can quickly and easily identify where further investigation into the causes of asset failures is warranted. Using a slider to view this work order history backwards and forwards in time can help engineers target their analysis on specific time windows. 

Identify site access and equipment requirements

"As a Maintenance Planner, I want to be able to visually interrogate work sites so that worker health and safety measures are accommodated in the schedule."

A large proportion of the brain is dedicated to visual processing, and we can respond to what we see incredibly quickly. Compare the text versus visual experience for a maintenance planner investigating the safety requirements on a work order:

  • textually, to work out how high a work site is they will need to interrogate various asset attributes
  • visually, they can drop two points on the model and calculate the distance between them to determine whether a ladder or elevated work platform is required.

Incorporating the model into job and maintenance planning allows planners to readily identify characteristics that would not be immediately visible to the crew when arriving onsite and plan safe and efficient routes to and from work sites.

Test procedures in a digital environment

"As a Maintenance Planner, I want to be able to visually interrogate work sites so that worker health and safety measures are accommodated in the schedule."

BIM and Maximo together bring asset operations one step closer to a digital twin - a virtual model of the real-world. Data driven simulations that draw on known asset performance from MAS and physical and spatial characteristics from the model allow different scenarios to be explored and the safest and most efficient option selected without trial and error in the field. This could include calculating the expected downtime resulting from different sequencing of steps in job plans for example, or estimating the likely impact of changes to the preventive maintenance schedule.

For workers onsite, the 3D model can be used to power augmented reality solutions allowing them to see inside the walls around a work site to identify the location of structural elements and services before any work is started.

There are a variety of use cases for bringing BIM and MAS Manage together to transform maintenance operations. By visualising asset data and 3D BIM together, organisations gain a holistic view of their maintenance operations, optimising resource allocation, reducing downtime and boosting efficiency.

Find out how COSOL and strategic digital engineering partner DBM Vircon can assist with your BIM journey.

Contact us to arrange an online or in-person meeting at a time that suits you.