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  • Dear Readers,

    The term “shutdown” is really not the best choice of word for describing what our customers and we do during a major turnaround. The only thing that has been shut down is the facility itself – everything else around it is a hive of activity. In fact, work begins months before a shutdown is due to take place as everything has to be meticulously planned and organised and all possible parts produced in advance so that the plant can be up and running again in as short a time as possible.

    BUCHEN and XERVON took part in two major shutdowns earlier this year – both at the same time. All in all, the two companies deployed around 1,200 employees over this four-week period to carry out a whole range of different tasks. Very few companies in Germany are able to take on such a mammoth project. Read our feature article to find out how we succeeded in doing this.


    Brand-new technological developments

    Another thing that creates a hive of activity at our company is our desire to solve our customers’ problems and find bespoke solutions that meet their exact requirements. We are constantly working on further improving our services by developing technical innovations that make processes even more efficient. We have come up with a number of smart ideas for a range of different applications. From closed loop processes, to getting maintenance work fit for the future with condition monitoring, all the way through to creating our own complex technological developments such as the dense phase conveyor system and our very own industrial cleaning robot, the automated industrial cleaner (AIC).

    No matter what development we may be looking at, our focus is always on improving workplace safety. As a result, we have launched a variety of product innovations onto the market recently that makes working in boilers much safer. We have also been awarded a number of work safety prizes from our customers – demonstrating that this subject is just as important for them as well. And we are happy to admit that we are extremely proud to have been awarded these. They are proof that our ongoing efforts to improve work safety are bearing fruit. Whether it be RWE, EVONIK or Covestro – to name just a few – they have all commended us and thanked us for the hard work we carry out in this area. We, too, would like to say a big “thank you” to them: for giving us these awards and giving us the opportunity to work with them. We are also doubly proud because we operate in such a wide range of fields, all of which – such as tank cleaning work – have their own particular hazards and risks. Our experts are in high demand both for onshore and, in particular, offshore projects. From the North Sea to the easternmost region of Russia: our customers like to make the very most of our in-depth know-how and specialist technology.


    Outstanding scaffolding services

    What’s more, the latest scaffolding projects in Sweden and Austria clearly demonstrate just what a name XERVON has made for itself as one of the leading European scaffolding businesses. Both projects involve extremely complex requirements, whether it has to do with weather protection or special anchorage solutions. In fact, we are well-known for delivering specialty scaffolding solutions in all of the countries we operate in. Which was one of the reasons why we invested in our scaffolding business in the German town of Eisenhüttenstadt. With both the workforce and workload having expanded over the last few years, we decided to invest in our employees, in our customers and in the region as a whole.


    Have fun reading this first ever digital edition of our magazine – you’re bound to read about a service or product that could be of interest to your own business!

    • Hans-Dieter Behrens

    • Matthias Ebach

    • Olaf Karrass

    • Carsten Lange

    • Jürgen Lennertz

    • Klaus Thiele

Solving problems before they occur

  • For years now, XERVON Instandhaltung, the Group’s maintenance specialists, have been offering condition monitoring as part of their future-oriented maintenance strategy. By using a variety of monitoring methods (such as vibration analyses or the measurement of structure-borne noise), the XERVON experts are able to identify individual machine parts that are broken or suffering from wear and tear. This early warning system helps prevent unexpected plant outages and keeps costs down – two extremely important factors for the customers. The maintenance experts have now gone a step further: by integrating the recorded measurements into a company’s digital network, customers now have access to a range of features enabling them to use this data intelligently and productively.

    The system’s evaluation modules

A cause and effect diagram as a CIP tool

Minimising outage time, increasing availability

Professional industrial service providers, such as XERVON Instandhaltung GmbH, are able to offer their customers a wide portfolio of services – and condition monitoring is always one of their core areas of expertise. Assessing a plant’s condition by carrying out targeted measurements and then analysing the recorded data is an extremely helpful and sustainable way to minimise plant downtime and increase a facility’s operational life.

Using XERVON Instandhaltung's condition monitoring reduces the chances of an unexpected production outage to an absolute minimum

A vibration transducer is used when carrying out vibration analyses so that the sound on the surface of the machine – created by the alternating forces in the machine – can be measured. This data is then depicted as a graph and assessed. Should there be an irregularity, the XERVON maintenance specialists can determine the precise condition of the piece of equipment in question and pinpoint exactly where the fault is so that their customer can plan their repair work in good time. Some machine parts (such as bearings, gear wheels, shafts and belt drives) are monitored all the time so that their condition can be continuously documented. This makes it possible to track down the parts affected by wear and tear before they cause the machine to fail. The chances of an unexpected production outage are reduced to an absolute minimum. What’s more, the individual parts can be used for as long as possible as their condition is being permanently monitored and they can then be replaced as and when necessary during a planned shutdown period.

The advantages of this method are plain to see

  • Unplanned, costly and avoidable plant outages are reduced to an absolute minimum
  • Spare parts management is improved (fewer items need to be stocked)
  • Staff deployment is improved
  • Less time is needed to detect faults
  • Operational and staff safety is increased
  • However, it is only possible to analyse and interpret this data correctly if you have the right know-how. Which is why XERVON Instandhaltung only deploys highly qualified professionals who have years of experience of dealing with such diagnostic systems. “It’s certainly not enough to say to our customer that the machine is vibrating a bit more than usual and something bad might happen soon!” explained Steven Brenner from XERVON’s condition monitoring division. “We need to be able to evaluate our readings to pinpoint exactly where a potential source of trouble is so that, for example, the whole gearbox doesn’t need to be replaced but just the second stage gear.

    • Thanks to our know-how, we are not only able to determine the exact condition of specific types of machines and the relevant critical limit values but also to give warnings of possible failure.” The wealth of experience needed to define such limit values and analyse damage progression has been gathered from across the whole of the XERVON network. The engineers have access to a directory containing the measurements and comparative data recorded from monitoring over 8,000 machines. As a result, the pertinent data gathered by XERVON as part of their condition monitoring work can be used as the basis to continuously improve processes at their customers’ businesses (see illustration above).

      The system’s recorded data

       

Industry 4.0

  • Predictive maintenance work has taken yet another step towards the future with the development of digital online systems. A specially adapted online system, which XERVON is currently setting up at a large German automobile supplier, illustrates perfectly just what is possible when digital support is available. The system has been designed so that it is not only possible to record the data but also to enable it to be transmitted, forwarded, stored and processed in a variety of ways. If alterations need to be made to the system (e.g. changing the section that needs measuring), then this can be done via remote access – a solution that is quick and can be carried out no matter where the person may be.

    • One of the main goals of this system is for the maintenance-specific data to be effectively integrated into the customer’s other systems (such as maintenance planning and control systems (IPS)), i.e. to filter and only pass on information that is truly relevant to their maintenance programme. The greatest challenge here lies in interpreting the recorded data as well as further processing it and making it available for the higher level planning systems.

      A further example – in this case in the plastics-processing industry – demonstrates just how cleverly XERVON’s maintenance experts are able to dovetail modern information and communications technology and production processes to perform an in-depth analysis of a plant’s condition. The XERVON engineers have installed a system in a production plant to monitor an electric engine, its bearings and four pumps with roller bearings. The challenge: meaningful data can only be recorded in the ten-second gap between two production cycles. Their smart solution: thanks to the online system, it is possible to enter very precise settings determining exactly when the measurements should be taken. The XERVON engineers have even programed the online monitoring system so that the process plant itself sends out the signal when there is a gap between cycles and again when the measurements have been taken.

      The online system’s panel on the CM box; the data from the individual sensors can be viewed here

      The system’s evaluation modules

    Intelligently integrating maintenance data into a customer’s planning and control systems is one of the challenges for the future and will help grow effectiveness

Systematic maintenance work

By implementing targeted condition monitoring measures, the experts are able to analyse a plant’s condition in detail so that targeted and cost-saving maintenance work can be carried out and plant availability improved

Advantages of online systems

The different ways the data can be used, once it is has been entered into an online system, are pretty much boundless. Steven Brenner believes there are a host of opportunities just waiting to be used here. He and his colleagues are working hard on creating new ways to enable condition monitoring to be even more productive for their customers – starting with an extensive range of in-depth analyses all the way through to customer-specific visualisation interfaces. Depending on their clients’ particular requirements, they can compile hourly, daily and weekly reports and the data can be trended for the individual parts being monitored. What’s more, it is possible to determine when value limits are occasionally exceeded so that measures can be introduced to solve this problem long term. A further option is to program the system so that a plant automatically shuts down if a certain value limit is exceeded. “Our customers tell us exactly what they want and we set it up,” Steven Brenner continued.

One particularly useful feature of this system is that it enables the data from all plants to be evaluated centrally and for best practices to be implemented across all similar facilities. One example: a manufacturer based in Germany uses condition monitoring systems to monitor its various process plants around the world. All of the information and data recorded are sent online to a single database and then analysed centrally using the relevant evaluation software. The results of this analysis can then be used to send feedback, recommendations and improvement measures – via the digital network of course – back to the individual plants.

Intelligently integrating maintenance data into a customer’s planning and control systems is one of the challenges for the future and will help grow effectiveness

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