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How anticipating asset failure can lead to success for water utilities

Predictive maintenance means water utilities can identify – and solve – problems with their assets before they even occur.

According to Kevin Hecketsweiler, Energy Project Engineer at engineering company Predict, this approach can have a big impact on an organisation’s bottom line. 

Predict uses a combination of engineering and data analysis to understand how a piece of equipment works and how it could fail. The result is a system that can anticipate a failure several months in advance and provide an explanation of where, how and why it could happen. 

“We basically identify the failure modes and build a causal graph,” Hecketsweiler said.

"Then we combine this with data analysis, where we pinpoint traits to monitor the equipment for and configure some dysfunction indicators.”

In some cases, these insights mean an organisation can reduce its maintenance costs by 20% and reduce the length of time a piece of equipment is unavailable by 40%.

“The goal is to optimise maintenance costs by providing insights to maintenance and engineering teams about what can be done before any failure occurs,” Hecketsweiler said.

“For example, during the filtration process, if you’re able to monitor the pressure and anticipate a clogging before it occurs, you can intervene before this happens.”

Predict began in France in 1999 and expanded into Australia in March of last year. Although the company is yet to break into the local water industry, it has extensive experience working on water projects with Veolia and SUEZ in Europe, which Hecketsweiler will discuss at the upcoming Australian Water Association South Australian Symposium.

The event will bring together speakers from a range of different industries who will discuss their approaches to challenges such as resource scarcity and meeting the changing needs of end users, and share solutions that can be applied in the water sector.  

Hecketsweiler will focus on harnessing digital technologies, which he said are growing in the Australian market.

“I would say businesses understand more and more the real benefits of things like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, digital twins and predictive maintenance,” he said.

“They can see the value, even if it’s over the long term.”

The SA Symposium will be held on 19 September in Adelaide. To learn more and to register, click here.