Mitigate downtime with staff education

Now is the time to optimise your control system’s potential, advise steam experts

Process managers could be making improvements to increase efficiency and product quality by paying closer attention to the specification of controls systems used within their facilities; that’s the current message from Spirax Sarco’s National Controls Specialist, Darren Silverthorn.

The latest quarterly Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Industrial Trends Survey suggests that output volumes will be broadly flat in the coming few months (-2%) … although it is estimated that average unit costs will grow (+31%) in that same period. As such, Spirax Sarco advocates reviewing control systems as this is one area that could have a positive impact on future budgets.

By upskilling staff in controls systems alongside identifying improvements in controls systems technology, manufacturers could reduce costs and improve efficiencies in the absence of increased sales.

During the coming months, Spirax Sarco will be identifying the key tell-tale signs of inefficient control systems along with the significant gains that process managers can make to optimise their potential — ultimately aiming to mitigate the risk of downtime and product spoilage, while also aiding process productivity.

Darren Silverthorn, National Controls and Metering Specialist ,explains: “A lot of the time, early warning signs related to potential equipment failure can go unnoticed. Control systems ultimately enable safety, stability and accuracy throughout a process. If they are not maintained appropriately, or are not specified correctly prior to initial installation, then any of these things can be jeopardised.”

Darren continues: “Reducing downtime and improving productivity must begin with a more robust specification. When it comes to control systems and control valves in particular, quality issues can arise owing to poor specification, either poorly specified or more commonly because of a lack of information being provided during the specification stage.”

Darren concludes: “We know our customers’ roles are becoming more demanding by the day and that operating a steam system is not always forefront of mind. We are therefore on a journey to help educate those responsible for steam systems on control system strategies that can be put in place, or simply offer additional expertise and resource where it may be limited in-house.”

Spirax Sarco’s campaign will cover the full spectrum of improvements that can be implemented within a steam system to help make the lives of plant managers, process engineers, production managers and the like that little bit easier.