Howden’s Digital Transformation with Uptime – Smart connectivity for Performance Optimization on Demand

Howden designs, engineers and supplies air and gas handling equipment, including industrial fans, process gas compressors and rotary heat exchangers. Our products may be found in virtually every industry from power generation, petrochemicals, mining, steelmaking to cement manufacture where the most arduous air and gas handling duties are encountered.

Today Howden is on the verge of the fourth Industrial Revolution.

Our reality is a mix of difficult markets, complex customer needs and a global Internet of Things (IoT) uptake. In fact, according to a recent Gartner study, “two-thirds of all business leaders believe that their companies must pick up the pace of digitalization to remain competitive.”

In this context, the Howden is laying the path of its digital transformation to further enhance our high performing, reliable products by leveraging world leading IoT technologies and our 160 years experience of designing rotating equipment to deliver Uptime – Smart connectivity for Performance Optimisation on Demand.

The need

In many cases, the Howden rotating equipment operates as critical asset and its continuous operation is an essential KPI for the overall plant performance. The ability to plan maintenance around such critical assets in the least disruptive way, that is synchronised with the overall maintenance cycle of the plant is essential and any unplanned downtime typically results in costly shutdowns.

Having equipment operation strategies powered by the “clairvoyance” of predictive maintenance is the solution to such an intrinsic problem and more operators today are looking to turn their operations into data driven organisations. As a consequence, condition monitoring and Big Data are no longer sufficient and the concept of smart connected devices, where the focus is on the right data not all data, is increasingly becoming the new driver for technology investments. This is now even more relevant than a decade ago, because the mechanisms to collect and interpret data have become so sophisticated to the point where very little human interference is required and the costs and computational power of such technologies are no longer prohibitive.

The solution

Our solution is fuelled by our Data Driven Advantage (DDA) strategy, which is combining:

  • simple inputs around the location of the equipment, status and health and any other type of ancillary information that references the condition of the asset
  • a wide range of enablers, from simple sensors to connectivity protocols and complex analytics, including Digital Twins to deliver customer value through enhanced decision making support and equipment performance optimisation.

Our building block for an all encompassing IoT solution is the instrumental enabler for the DDA solution we are proposing with Uptime, because it is focused on the most important IT related innovation in recent years: the digital twin representation of our equipment, which enables stakeholders with the ability to monitor and make decisions about the actual asset, its context, and its current and future state.

The brain of the Uptime operation is built with a unique blend of Howden engineering expertise focused on the performance of the rotating equipment through the Digital Twin model and leverages world leading IoT solutions to deliver turnkey industrial innovation.

The system combines active inputs, such as temperature, pressure, vibration and any relevant telemetry with reference parameters from design manuals, specifications and maintenance reports.

This enables the accurate assessment of the condition of the rotating equipment and provides a detailed and reliable basis on which to make decisions about the timing and scope of inspections and maintenance.

Connecting the operating data of the real-time performance to the digital twin representation of the equipment enables the platform to predict the optimum moment for replacing parts, thus improving Uptime. Digital calculations also enable the performance mapping of the equipment and corrective actions to bring its operation around the best efficiency point.

When the data is analysed, Uptime delivers a unique foundation for:

  • Providing a unified view of the equipment health, anytime and anywhere
  • Implementing maintenance strategy tools to help our customers understand efficient and reliable equipment operation, while reducing operational costs and risks
  • Getting ahead of failure and unifying operations through data intelligence and visibility
  • Enabling equipment and plant performance optimisation

Augmented reality

The Uptime service is delivered with full Augmented Reality (AR) experience, a technology that superimposes the computer-generated 3D model of the Howden equipment on the user’s view of the real world, providing a hybrid view. This experiences can be deployed on any type of mobile device and smart eyewear.

There are many advantages of using AR, but to list a few:

  • Allows a physical object that doesn’t exist to be placed in the customer’s physical environment > helps make the product viewing experience memorable
  • Helps in three-dimensional thinking > visualize in 3D rather than 2D
  • Immense opportunity for training and product design troubleshooting
  • Increases engagement and interaction and provides a richer user experience
  • Helps with content personalisation

Why is Uptime different?

  • Deals with a complex need, recognised at all levels within our customer’s operations
  • It proactively helps avoid unplanned downtime around critical plant and process assets
  • It prevents core equipment operating away from best efficiency point and prescribe the optimum operation of the rotating equipment based on the actual operating conditions with the customer’s plant
  • Increases engagement and interaction and provides a richer user experience
  • It helps minimizing the time lost accessing and mobilizing the key technical experts to address problems when they happen.

Been There, Done That:
How Manufacturers Are Achieving Success with the IIoT

There is nearly universal agreement that investing in IIoT technologies represents a competitive advantage for manufacturers. Yet at the same time, many manufacturing companies struggle to overcome real or perceived challenges.

This paper looks at the types of companies that have been able to push IIoT projects through successfully; the makeup of their teams, resources, the scope and outcome of their projects; and actions they would recommend to manufacturers still evaluating an IIoT implementation.

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