Using Root Cause Analysis To Resolve Issues in Industrial Operations

March 16, 2020

Customers within industrial market segments like Oil & Gas and Water rely on alerts to prevent accidents, outages, downtime, or failure of their equipment. Issues like this can lead to lost revenue, lost time, and at worse, safety and liability concerns. While an alert can give you notice that something is not operating according to standards, it doesn’t help you identify the root cause of the problem so that you can take action. 

Bring data together

In order to resolve issues, you need the ability to compare asset data across sites, over time, or in relation to other data points. Typically, this requires that field operators, engineers, managers and other stakeholders work together to consolidate data. Field workers may collect data on paper, and PLC data may only be accessible through onsite systems.  All of this data then needs to be consolidated, typically by a manager or office worker rekeying into excel spreadsheets, so it can be visualized and understood. By the time this is all complete, you will have likely missed your opportunity to prevent or minimize an accident or liability. The Samsara platform allows you to streamline this workflow, so you can  consolidate operational data from machines, sensors, PLCs, SCADA, software, historians, and databases via an industrial gateway or API.

Perform ad-hoc analysis

With all of your data available in real-time in the Samsara dashboard, you can quickly get to the bottom of an alert using the Analysis tool. With this tool, you can compare an asset that’s performing poorly with a healthy asset, look at data points like pressure compared to flow rates, or compare the historical performance of one site with another. Data in the Samsara platform is real-time and at one second resolution. You can also view multiple data inputs on a single graph or separate graphs, choose the timeframe for each one to compare historically, or toggle the timeframe for both graphs to look for correlated data. If you find something abnormal looking, you can expand that section to see more granular details. 

Resolve issues quickly

Within the Oil & Gas industry, an alert on oil flow rates or pressures in the well may indicate a serious issue. With flow rates too low, you could be missing out on production. Too high and you may be trending towards a blowout. Using the analysis tool, you can compare the oil flow rate of an unhealthy well to a higher producing well. Or you could compare the oil flow rate to the casing pressure within one well. In the example above, you’re able to uncover a series of spikes in the casing pressure and zoom into that timeframe. The initial spike may have caused damage to the well, resulting in abnormal flow rates and the potential need for maintenance. Using Samsara, you can perform this analysis in minutes to identify the root cause and take action on the issue. 

In summary, you can use analysis to:

  • Reduce time you have to spend onsite by diagnosing issues remotely

  • Reduce time to resolution by identifying the root cause

  • Reduce liabilities and downtime by more efficiently planning maintenance

Try it yourself today

Industrial customers will find the analysis tool in the main navigation in their dashboards. If you’re interested in trying Samsara’s Industrial Monitoring & Control solution, reach out to us here.

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