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Maintenance Operations Transformed with iCue™ Service

The Situation

A global surface coating company, headquartered in Indiana, provides protective coatings and solutions for industrial applications that can break down from abrasion, corrosion, erosion, galling, oxidation, and usage wear. These solutions include advanced coatings that extend the life of critical components and equipment for the automotive, chemical, aviation, and gas and oil industries. The company employs engineers, technologists, and coating experts across more than 35 production plants in 12 countries.

The plants are high-demand operations that frequently run continuously to keep equipment parts, such as aircraft engine components, train axels, and mud motor rotors, protected, maintained, and properly running. The demanding processes that use specialty coatings, thermal spray powders, and other chemical mixtures require the maintenance and facilities teams to implement reliable filtration systems.

In some of the larger plants, including its Swindon, England location, which is home to 12 dust collectors, maintaining consistent collector performance and keeping up with manual monitoring and maintenance duties was a major challenge. The maintenance team was accustomed to walking the floor with a “clipboard and pen” to review each dust collector and note if any needed further inspection or repairs.

The Challenge

In addition to the amount of time spent manually monitoring collectors, the Swindon plant was facing inconsistent filter performance from its collectors. Abrasive dust and harsh particulates from the plant’s metallic and ceramic surface coatings process were causing filters to prematurely break down and require replacement.

Nine of Swindon’s 12 collectors are considered “mission critical” to maintain productivity and meet customer demands.

When a maintenance and facilities manager at the company’s Swindon plant started in his role, he quickly realized that too many hours and resources were being spent on manual recording, monitoring, and troubleshooting collector filters.

Therefore, he searched for a new, automated process that would fulfill this crucial condition-based collector monitoring task for the plant.

The Solution

After learning about a successful trial of Donaldson’s iCue™ Connected Filtration Service at another of his company’s plants in Italy, the employee started a trial at the Swindon plant by installing iCue’s two-in-one sensor models on the 12 dust collectors. Through the sensors, he was able to remotely monitor several key filter parameters including temperature and relative humidity. The insights from the iCue service reports helped maintain quality control and monitor filter performance from a single dashboard.

During the trial period, Donaldson’s iCue service presented an additional benefit in monitoring particulate levels of the exhaust emissions from the Swindon plant. With this information at their fingertips, the Swindon maintenance team was able to correlate particulate monitoring data with other dust collector data, including differential pressure, compressed air pressure, and airflow, to determine if there was an increase in relative airflow, a drop in differential pressure, or another issue that was impacting filter life. This information helped them more accurately diagnose collector performance issues.

The electronic alerts automatically generated by Donaldson’s iCue service allowed the Swindon team to proactively investigate areas where there may be future filter failure. They also helped the team reduce the number of labor hours spent on manual checks, data collection, and unexpected maintenance. Plus, the iCue service alerts served as useful reminders on important process steps. For example, they helped the Swindon team remember to turn pulse cleaning back on after new filters were installed and properly optimized for filtration.

After noticing the significant difference that the iCue Connected Filtration Service was making in the Swindon plant during the trial, the maintenance and facilities manager noted: “We’ve had this for six months and it 100% has saved us money. If a filter fails, then it’s approximately €1,000 (approx. $1,000 USD) to hire someone to change it. In the last few years, we’ve probably spent nearly €55,000 (approx. $55,000 USD) on filters...but I haven’t used any, so in my mind, I’ve saved €55,000 a year.”

He added: “Because its focus is purely on filtration, that’s a major selling point of the iCue service. From a usability point of view, it’s really simple to install. You can just add it on to your operations and you’re up and running within a day.”

We’ve had this for six months and it 100% has saved us money. If a filter fails, then it’s approximately €1,000 to hire someone to change it. In the last few years, we’ve probably spent nearly €55,000 on filters...but I haven’t used any, so in my mind, I’ve saved €55,000 a year.”

Maintenance and Facilities Manager

The Results

Today, the Swindon plant has three iCue gateways that all feed data into one screen. They were installed in October 2020 on non-Donaldson dust collectors since Donaldson’s iCue service works on most brands of collectors.

At the Swindon location, it has eliminated the need to manually check readings since vital data is sent directly to the maintenance team. This new service has revolutionized Swindon’s operations on the plant floor by eliminating frequent filter replacements and reducing overhead by nearly €55,000 (approx. $55,000 USD) per year.

The maintenance and facilities manager was so impressed with the early iCue monitoring service and the post-sale support provided by Donaldson that he wants to use the service to a greater extent in future.

“Now with iCue monitoring, there’s no reason I wouldn’t go to Donaldson in the future. I have more confidence dealing with Donaldson and the iCue service in terms of their understanding of filtration than I do with other manufacturers.”

After speaking with his colleagues in Europe and across the globe, the employee believes installing Donaldson’s iCue service at more facilities would be beneficial to the business. The company uses condition-based monitoring for maintenance in its plants and it was felt that the iCue service complements this approach.

Paul Kerr, the Donaldson sales representative, who worked on the Swindon project, observed: “By introducing iCue, filtration monitoring, the company has freed up its maintenance staff, allowing them to focus on manufacturing equipment on the factory floor. This positive experience with the iCue service reinforces our position as an industry leader in the filtration monitoring technology market.”

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