There is a lot at stake when dealing with energy production. The fuels commonly associated with power, such as oil and natural gas, are essential to modern living, but can be dangerous when not handled properly. Be it accidental human error or improperly maintained equipment, there are any number of things that can go wrong in the energy industry.
But, according to Oil & Gas Monitor contributor Frances Metcalfe, there are modern technological assets that can be of great assistance when ensuring that all equipment is running how it should be.
"Actively monitoring the condition of equipment produces real information about what is actually happening," Metcalfe wrote. "This allows timely intervention and intelligent predictive maintenance, which can reduce downtime and overall maintenance costs. Low-cost technologies used by commercially available smartphones and tablets can be exploited to create systems capable of monitoring the condition of machines and equipment without the need for expensive infrastructure."
Equipment condition monitoring is proving to be of incredible use in maintaining operations and eliminating accidental incidents. Those companies that are heavily invested in energy-providing fuels need to make absolutely certain that nothing has a chance to go wrong.
Visual inspections leave much to be desired
While all energy company managers would probably like to believe that there are comprehensive visual checks being done on their equipment, this is not always the case. While inspections of this nature are often considered to be cost-effective and easy to implement, the continued occurrence of leaks and spills proves that they are not the most reliable oversight mechanisms out there. Often, employees may not realize that they have overlooked a key component to safety, or may not understand just how important these checks are to the stability of the company and their assets.
Additionally, the frequency of these checks needs to be so high that they are not feasible to complete with the human eye alone. This is why technology can be so beneficial to the upkeep of energy delivery methods like pipelines. Having a real-time understanding of system performance means that staff members will be quicker to respond to discrepancies.
"By monitoring what is really happening with equipment, manufacturers can detect signs of degradation before it becomes a problem, leading to a reduction in downtime and the amount of maintenance required."