Monitoring and tracking the status of equipment in the field is an essential part of day-to-day plant operation. Field technicians are the eyes and ears of the plant, whether they are investigating a known issue or are simply monitoring assets during regular rounds. From asset management software to field tools, everything should work together seamlessly to ensure maintenance is efficient, data is accurate, and devices are healthy.
The Problems with Paper
Tracking diagnostics in the field using pen and paper leaves the plant vulnerable to data loss. Notes taken in the field are likely to be hasty, illegible, and unreliable. Steps may be overlooked, and issues that seem minor at the time of repair might be forgotten and go unrecorded. The bigger and more serious a problem is, the less time technicians have to record accurate data about diagnosis and repair.
When the Right Tool Isn’t at Hand
The absence of an effective handheld communicator increases the likelihood of process disruption. A technician may hear or see something on a piece of equipment that suggests a problem, but without accurate tools for analysis, the field technician can’t necessarily diagnose the problem.
When field technicians don’t have access to robust portable diagnostic equipment, they are forced to jump through hoops that leave them spending extra time analyzing problems instead of fixing them. Trying to analyze failing equipment without the right tools means adding additional non-value added work in order to properly diagnose issues.
Improving Field Diagnostics
To avoid or minimize process upset, the plant must provide technicians with powerful and portable diagnostic tools so they can identify and troubleshoot device issues in the field..
With a 475 communicator, technicians won’t waste time transporting failing devices back to the shop for analysis or reconfiguration. They can diagnose many instrumentation problems with Foundation fieldbus and HART devices while the devices continue to run. Simple issues can be addressed on the spot, avoiding unnecessary, and potentially destructive, invasive physical investigation of the problem.
Moreover, some issues are much easier to diagnose in the field. While it may not be possible to tell the difference between a configuration problem and a wiring problem from the control room, a mobile technician, supported by wiring diagrams and diagnostic tools on the 475 communicator would have little difficulty diagnosing the problem at the source.
JM Test Systems sells and rents Hart 475 Communicators. Click the preceding links for product details. To request a quote contact us at 800-343-3411 or [email protected]. If you want to read more about how the 475 Field Communicator drives reliability, click here.