All equipment is subject to natural wear – process diaphragm pumps and systems must undergo maintenance and service work based on their duty conditions and operating hours. The key question: just when is the ‘right’ time to service them? Utilising the LEWA NetPort@l telemonitoring system and the know-how of many experts (including external experts), LEWA is implementing a practice-based system for remote monitoring and avoidance of system failures.
The idea for this telemonitoring system product came from a workshop with customers in the field of gas odourisation. This is a process performed for the municipal market, where a very strong and penetrating odorant (alarming, aggressive) is mixed in with the originally odourless natural gas.
The workshop recognised a clear trend – requirements were intensifying in terms of technology, availability and costs. There was a short and clearly outlined list of tasks and issues: how could LEWA and how could operators of natural gas odourisation systems reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) in operating the installed pump systems? Since system costs are more or less fixed, this approach also addressed reductions in the operating, maintenance and service costs incurred by operators.
In this field, the usual practice is to provide customer service that covers repairs and maintenance work based on a maintenance schedule. More efficient, of course, are maintenance and service as a function of the system’s actual state. But how can one determine the individual state of a system that might be installed at a faraway location and cannot be continually monitored by employees?
To meet this need, LEWA now offers NetPort@l a system providing greater availability by staged communication solutions, including telemonitoring. Staged communication solutions include a telephone hotline and the support of an expert network (consisting of LEWA specialists and partner companies). These shared experts are available to the user around the clock with in-depth knowhow and fundamental information that is relevant to decision making. This is done in real time, in every corner of the world – so it saves on travel costs, too.
Last, but not least, the LEWA Service Team – which performs on-site repair and maintenance tasks – gets comprehensive information on the system state beforehand so that it can bring the right replacement parts.
What do users have to say about this solution? A pilot system for a German energy supplier has been in successful operation since fall 2008 and the project leader has expressed a high level of satisfaction: “By using NetPort@l® we realised considerable financial and organisational benefits. The ability to quickly call up system documentation lets us verify, at any time, that everything is operating trouble free technically. When faults do occur, this logged data proves to be very helpful and avoids costs. NetPort@l is really a key prerequisite for evaluating the system.”