Keep and Grow Value with Engineering Asset Management
Engineering asset management encompasses all types of engineered assets from infrastructure and equipment to software systems across all sectors of industry and the public sector. Successful asset management requires multidisciplinary approaches. The WCEAM 2015 conference slogan reminds us of the fact that physical assets are not there for their own sake, but to create value for their owners, users and other stakeholders.
The slogan of the 10th World Congress on Engineering Asset Management (WCEAM 2015), held in September in Tampere, Finland, was Keep and Grow Value. The congress was organized by Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in cooperation with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland and the International Society of Engineering Asset Management (ISEAM). About 130 delegates from 22 countries were attending the world congress.
The annual congress has contributed significantly to the fact that engineering asset management has matured into a professional practice. This year the delegates contributed to the common body on engineering asset management competence with 90 paper presentations, keynote, panels and workshops.
The congress slogan – Keep and Grow Value – emphasized that considerations on asset life cycle and economic aspects are important parts of engineering asset management. The slogan is well in line with the newly launched ISO 5500x standard series that defines that Asset Management is the set of coordinated activities that an organization uses to realize value from assets in the delivery of its outcomes or objectives. However, the methodological level of engineering asset management responsibility area is low, lower than the importance of the topic would allow.
Dr. Kari Komonen from Promaint in Finland addressed in his keynote speech Strategic Aspects of Physical Asset Management. Dr. Komonen called for development in several subareas of physical asset management such as strategic requirements, asset management processes, asset hierarchy, investment decisions, economic calculations, performance appraisal, uncertainty management and life cycle management. Dr. Kari Komonen also received this year’s Lifetime Achievement award for exceptional dedication and contribution to advancing the field of Engineering Asset Management.
Digitalization and Intelligent Machines
Digitalization is going to change the world radically. What are the key assets of the future? Who should manage physical assets while digitalization, asset light approach and sharing economy drive the focus towards intangible assets? Dr. Jari Hämäläinen from Cargotec Ltd in Finland called the audience to think about the future of engineering asset management.
The evolution of asset management has been very predictable from the early history of mankind until today. Evolution has been very focused on physical assets, from ancient tools to the products and intelligent machines of today. Companies are currently strengthening their focus on global fleets and taking a solution approach rather than a product view.
The growing complexity associated with current trends and interconnectedness brings about many unprecedented challenges. In his keynote speech, Professor Jayantha P. Liyanage from the University of Stavanger in Norway reminded that even though commercial incentives for current development and utilization strategy are clear, there are various forms of uncertainties that define the success or failure. In his keynote Professor Liyange presented a number of examples from high-risk sectors to elaborate the role-play of uncertainty and their commercial consequences, and principles for a new regime that is essential to ensure safety and security under emerging conditions.
The keynote speech of Professor Ming Zuo from the University of Alberta in Canada dealt with the dynamic modelling of the operation of a mechanical system. The simulated vibration signals are able to reflect the effects of possible failure modes and health degradation. With these simulated vibration signals, one can use various signal processing techniques to find effective indicators of the health condition of the system.
Dynamic modelling can provide useful guidelines for field condition monitoring and health management of mechanical systems. In his presentation Professor Ming covered the advancement in this area of research and future research challenges with special attention on gearboxes and bearings.
CERN operates a very specific asset – the world’s largest accelerator machine complex, which catalysed numerous discoveries that eventually led to the precise understanding of the observable matter in the Universe. Dr. Johannes Gutleber presented an overview of the physics findings obtained by using particle accelerators; technological spin-offs resulting from this work indicate how to break through current barriers of growth and sheds light on the next chapter in fundamental particle physics.
Dr. Gutleber also pointed out that the technical research and development required to make those machines has left their footprints on many aspects of our everyday life – some of them are known, others less so.
Best Paper Award Presentation
WCEAM2015 also started a new tradition to give the Best Paper Award winner the opportunity to present the paper also as a keynote in the plenary session. The WCEAM2014 award winner Ype Wijnia from the Delft University of Technology presented his paper The Asset Management Process Reference Model for Infrastructures in the plenary session. In the presentation Mr. Wijnia pointed out that both PAS55 and ISO55000 standards only prescribe what needs to be in place, not how these requirements should be fulfilled.
Yet, many organizations struggle on how to implement asset management. More guidance is needed. The presented reference model is the result of some 15 years of developing and implementing asset management in a variety of infrastructures. Next year we will hear 2015 Best Paper Award winners Professor Lin Ma, Dr Michael Cholette and Dr Fengfeng Li from the University of Queensland presenting their paper Reliability modelling for electricity transmission networks using maintenance records in the plenary session!
Keeping and Growing Value was referred to in several conference papers, and the value considerations were addressed in panel discussions and in workshops. In addition to monetary value, ‘value’ may arise from environmental or social factors, from skills and competence development, from safety and risk management and sustainability targets.
ISO 55000 Asset Management signals the emerging need for adopting new types of management and leadership skills in Asset Management and to integrate technical and management systems. These issues were discussed both ISO55000 panel and EFMNS Physical Asset Management workshop and the hardships of decision making were also tried through experiential learning and simulation in Serious Games workshop.
This Year in China!
Next year the latest development in the field of physical asset management will be presented and discussed in China. The 11th WCEAM congress takes place from 25th – 28th July 2016 in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, China. WCEAM2016 will be organised together with 6th International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering (QR2MSE). The Joint QR2MSE & WCEAM 2016 conference is to bring together leading academics, industry practitioners, and research scientists from around the world to advance the body of knowledge in quality, reliability, risk, maintenance, and safety of engineering systems, to establish and strengthen the link between academia and industry, to promote applications of research results in practice, and to showcase state of the art industrial technologies.
As Finnish energy company Fortum digitalises its operations, new alternatives are also being actively pursued in the detection of leaks in the district heating network. In a pilot project launched in partnership with Advian Oy, the location data of the existing district heating network is being combined with satellite data to detect possible leaks.
As the required time-to-market for industrial products becomes ever more aggressive, so does the need to keep machinery and other assets working efficiently. Alongside this is the equally urgent requirement to reduce the cost of maintenance and speed-up time-sensitive repairs.