Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Implementing asset management: Standards and justification

October 19, 2011
By Kristina Urquhart

The majority of new electronic field devices being installed today all have some form of diagnostics capability, and most also have some way of communicating their overall general health to another system that can make use of this information to improve overall plant reliability. This reporting system is typically called an asset management system.

Unfortunately, it is estimated that 85 to 90 percent of this data is not being used as part of an integrated maintenance strategy. In many cases, the communications capabilities of the device are used by the maintenance team with local communicators, but the information goes no further than that. One reason this happens is because of a lack of standards defining how to access the data, how to design and implement a system to use the data, and then how to integrate the resulting information with the remainder of the facility maintenance planning tools.

Standards needed

There is an ISO standard on asset management – ISO NP5500n – in development. In November 2010, the ISO TC 251 asset management committee, led by the British Standards Institute (UK), issued the following draft documents:


• The Working Draft, ISO standard for asset management (Doc PC251 2010 N46);

• Asset management – Guidelines for the application of the ISO (Doc N50 – ISO WD XXXX-Part Z); and

• Asset management – Overview, principles and terminology, Part X (Doc No PC251 2010 N48).

The ISO activity is focused on the higher levels of the enterprise – typically business systems (think ISO 9000). No one has taken a control system centric look at the issue – until now.

Standards are required to not only define how to access the diagnostic data in a device, but also how to present the relevant data to the end user and, similarly, to determine what the recommended default settings for these parameters are. This complexity and lack of a definition of what it is and how to install/use/integrate the system with the larger maintenance practices and systems of a facility is part of the reason for the slower than expected adoption of asset management.

Recognizing that there is a need to have a consistent way to integrate the diagnostic information from smart sensors with the balance of the site asset management tools, a number of interested individuals have developed the following Scope and Purpose for a possible new ISA standard.

SCOPE: With an emphasis on automation systems performance and reliability, including instrumentation, control systems and enterprise asset management systems, ISAxxx will create standards and practices for asset management globally for industrial and building automation.

PURPOSE: Provide a vocabulary, process set, best practice guidelines and infrastructure definition for the management of automation systems assets from the field device level to enterprise asset management systems. Create work products that enhance the probability that intelligent instrumentation diagnostics are used to enhance the performance and reliability of the process.

If you have any comments on the above Scope and Purpose, or are interested in participating further, please let me know and I will add your name to the list for when we submit the proposal to the ISA Standards and Practices Board.

What are the benefits?

Asset management does not come for free, so there must be some form of economic return to pay for the initial installation and its ongoing maintenance. Some industry studies have shown that using handheld systems that are not integrated into a central system have a maximum of 90 percent accuracy and that, as a result, measurements can be off by up to 30 percent after six years. What does this inaccuracy mean in terms of lost production or product give away?

Other benefits of implementing an asset management system include the ability to:

Predict and prevent equipment failure. Detecting equipment issues in between calendar intervals, and triggering proactive maintenance work orders, will reduce lost production and increase equipment utilization.

Reduce inventory. The ability to forecast maintenance service needs typically reduces the need for a large in-house spare-parts inventory. Users can expect to reduce parts inventories by as much as 50 percent.


A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a software application that provides work management, equipment tracking, preventive maintenance, and inventory control and procurement functionality to support the optimization of assets. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is a strategy that focuses on optimum utilization of assets – both physically and financially – across an enterprise that uses a CMMS as one of the tools to achieve that strategy.

In general, a CMMS reduces costs, breakdowns and downtime, while asset management increases utilization, effectiveness and profitability.

The majority of installed field devices today contain diagnostic information and are, therefore, able to support asset management. The question that needs to be answered for your facility is: With this infrastructure already in place, why are you not taking the next step and implementing an asset management system to capture the revenue opportunities it presents?

Reference: “Connecting Maintenance Management IT Systems to SCADA Systems,” Marty Bince, SCADA & Industrial Automation Conference, 2008


This column originally ran in the October 2011 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.



Print this page


Story continue below