Complex industrial assets require detailed maintenance work instructions and accurate master data to execute maintenance work efficiently and safely. And the benefits of having maintenance work instructions in place are real. A study by a large tier-one mining company found that a 10-20% reduction in job time can be achieved by having detailed instructions and the correct tools and resources in place at the start of a job.

Further, the more specific the maintenance work instructions are to the site, the better the adoption by site technicians.

What tooling is available on site to perform a job? What options does the machine have? What legislative requirements exist for the area and how do they effect how work is executed? What type and brand of lubricants are used in different machines? What is the skill level of the site maintenance team?

Because of these small but important differences, off-the-shelf OEM documents often don’t meet the site requirements and may be unsafe in some situations. So, asset owners take charge of this and develop their own, site specific maintenance work instructions. A typical mid-size open-cast mine site will have thousands of maintenance documents. This represents an investment of thousands of person-hours to build and maintain. We estimate the average mid-size mine in Australia has invested $1m developing content and a further 25% per year to keep it current.

Our own team at AssetOn has developed many thousands of work instructions over the last three years. We started out building Work Instructions into MS Word documents and parts data in Excel spreadsheets. This was the preferred, and really the only way to do it.

In the beginning this was simple, but became more complex as the volume of assets and documents ballooned. It became even more complicated when requirements changed and updates to multiple documents were needed. Even simple updates, such as a changing a paragraph in a common safety message, was difficult when required across thousands of individual files.

We needed to find a better way.

At first, we sought to get some readily available software. After all, digital twins, document builders, inspection and master data applications are all the buzz. We researched heavily and tested some options. Some were too generic; others were clunky or too difficult to maintain.

Based on several trials we found that we were no better off using specialised software than off-the-shelf Microsoft products. In some instances, we found it more time consuming and difficult to build and maintain the data in a structured way. The variations in requirements needed to cover the OEM and reliability data but also local and international standards, statutory compliance and site-specific requirements were many.

We then set about solving this problem by building our own fit-for purpose tool. We had five core requirements that the software needed to deliver:

  1. Faster than using Word or Excel;
  2. Intuitive and easy to use;
  3. Easily deal with complexity;
  4. Easy to reuse content;
  5. Adapt to different site needs.

From a 6 months of initial development, the asset work instruction software, ‘OnPlan’ was put to work with our internal master data team in mid-2017.

OnPlan Work Instruction Builder by AssetOn

And the results have been amazing. After building more than 7,000 maintenance work instructions in OnPlan over the last 2 and a half years, we have calculated that the development time for each document reduced by at least 50% compared with using Microsoft Word. Another benefit is that quality and consistency improved markedly. For example, a common job operation is to isolation a machine. For a particular type of asset, this operation can be built once and used in all documents that need an isolation step. If there is a change to the isolation step, it can be updated in one place and the change is reflected in all documents using this step.

We have continued to evolve the product with feedback from our internal team and limited customer trials. Now, we have a fit-for-purpose maintenance work instruction builder that has been stress-tested through 35,000 hours of use.

This proven tool is now available for purchase as either a cloud-hosted or on-premises application.

There is simply no easier to use, mature maintenance document builder for large industrial assets. If you want to improve the efficiency and quality of your maintenance documents, Contact us through our website or call AssetOn +61 7 3067 2429.