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The boost in asset reliability at Embraer

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Eye On Failure is a series of articles about stories of maintainers who implemented our solution and eliminated failures and unpredicted downtime in machines, such as Ahlstrom Munksjo, AmstedMaxion, Yara, among others.

The third largest manufacturer of commercial airplanes in the world, Embraer is a company with 52 years of history, 18 thousand employees and over 8 thousand aircrafts delivered. Operating in the commercial, executive, defense, and security aviation sectors, the company’s planes take off somewhere in the world every 10 seconds and carry about 145 million passengers a year. Its industrial units, offices and distribution centers are present in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. And it was one particular industrial plant that started the partnership with TRACTIAN. 

In mid-September 2020, a news story caught the attention of Leandro Lage, a Maintenance and Infrastructure Engineer at Embraer. “I read it, and coincidentally my superior watched the same story on TV. I told him: I read a very interesting article, it is about a company that works with predictive online monitoring, I thought it was very cool. And then he said: I also watched it. And that’s how TRACTIAN came into our lives”, he explains. 

Lage, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, has been with the aircraft manufacturer for 14 years. He started as a Trainee, was promoted to Manufacturing Engineer the following year and, after 8 years in the position, took on his current role in the Maintenance and Infrastructure area. 

Today, he is responsible for the strategy linked to MPC (Maintenance Planning and Control) and field operations, and also for all infrastructure support such as the installation of machinery, equipment, and systems to assist the operation.

Today, field maintenance is done by an outsourced company. Embraer hires this company and they are responsible for maintenance demands. I am in this strategic position, in relation to the analysis of the assets, aligned with asset management as a whole, which encompasses all the planning, tools, and implementation of the best technology solutions on the market, and this is exactly why I reached out to TRACTIAN.

Transforming maintenance routines 

Before adopting the TRACTIAN online monitoring solution, Lage explains that maintenance was basically reduced to reactive and preventive measures. Although these models were generally satisfactory, both had a large unavailability history and high costs in several situations where some assets presented failures and needed interventions.

Predictive maintenance was, until then, done in a punctual way at the airplane manufacturer. “We would hire a company, they would come, take measurements for one or two weeks, leave with the data, process it, and then report back to us. There were no facilities and platform for online and remote monitoring, 24 hours a day, before TRACTIAN,” he says.

The installation of IoT sensors and maintenance management software in the plant happened in November 2020. Since then, 34 devices collect data from eight pieces of equipment: six air compressors, responsible for generating the air used in the plant, and two chemical process tanks for surface treatment (monitoring the rotating elements).

In this first year, Lage lists several positive results. According to him, the automation of the maintenance demands made available by the online platform, the monitoring, the failure reports in their early stages, the KPI’s generated and the failure analysis with possible causes and solutions made quite a difference in the management of Embraer’s maintenance processes. 

The implementation of the platform that performs preventive, predictive and prescriptive maintenance operates in a well-integrated way and has contributed to increase results in the maintenance sector. It generates insights, and when you come in to report what really happened, it already suggests possible causes and solutions of what should be done in order to proceed with the interventions, so it is a powerful tool.

The mechanical engineer recalls the experience of the first insight generated with the platform: downtime in one of the tanks of the surface treatment line. 

It was on a holiday, and I received the insight on my cell phone. I was very surprised. When I got it, I said: it really works. When I came back from the holiday, I came to understand what the downtime in question was. We set the time, right? I thought: that’s right, there was no overtime in this asset, so it made sense. That’s where it all started. Today, we can no longer imagine the maintenance processes without the platform.

Avoiding potential problems 

Throughout these first 12 months using TRACTIAN’s online asset monitoring system, Embraer noticed a considerable increase in asset availability and reliability. 

Reoccurrence of unavailability has decreased. The maintenance staff loves the system because we are now able to work in a much more intelligent way. There are no major impacts because the failure doesn’t actually happen. What needs to be done before the failure happens is easier, faster, and simpler.

The maintenance engineer also highlights two major problems Embraer avoided after the implementation of predictive maintenance offered by TRACTIAN: potential unbalance and saturation deviations in motor-pump filters. 

We were able to anticipate unbalances, which would result in the shutdown or breakdown of the equipment. When the platform generates the insight, we go to the site with the technician to check out what is happening. In several situations, the unbalance had actually occurred, and we were able to avoid stopping production and high costs to proceed with these repairs. This has happened quite frequently.

In the case of the pump, the vibration growth insights indicate that the filter attached to the asset may be saturated.

As the weeks go by, the liquid that circulates in this filter, a masking agent, becomes saturated, and this causes vibration. We understand from this that the filter is becoming saturated, and then we direct the technician to replace this filter element. And this happens every two to three weeks, constantly. We have a pressure gauge physically installed on this motor pump, but to see it we have to go to the site, which is not easily accessible. This is why the sensor and the platform help so much.

Saving on replacement and repairs

With the use of the IoT sensors and TRACTIAN’s CMMS, TracOS™, the Embraer plant has not had any unexpected breakdown problems in the assets monitored so far. However, Lage recalls a situation that happened before he had the solution, with an engine unbalance that cost the company a significant amount in maintenance. 

Since we had no online and remote predictive identification method, the problem was getting worse. There was a very big impact, both from interrupting production and with the costs for repair.

According to the mechanical engineer, the situation is always remembered and compared to the company’s current reality.

We had situations that the platform would have been able to identify for us to anticipate these eventual deviations.

Stands out in the market

Due to the results obtained and the improvement of the maintenance routines with the use of TRACTIAN’s solution, Embraer increased the number of sensors and assets to be monitored in the plant in 2022. 

Among the aspects that set TRACTIAN apart, besides the easy installation of the system, Wi-Fi network independence and benefits over costs, Lage highlights the efficiency of the platform delivery and the possibility to develop the operational structuring of the CMMS together with the TRACTIAN team, with feedbacks and suggestions about the functionalities that the platform offers.

It is a unique platform in the market, for all that it offers, with great capillarity and integration in the maintenance processes in a simple and practical way that manages to guarantee the result.

For Embraer, research and development is a latent subject, and the aviation giant intends to continue sharing situations and harvesting fruits together with TRACTIAN. “We are with TRACTIAN because it is pragmatic with results. It is simple, direct, objective, has no beating around the bush, and delivers results. That’s what TRACTIAN is all about“, he concludes. 

Do you want to improve the routine of your maintenance team, increasing the productivity of your plant and ensuring greater reliability of your assets? Follow Embraer’s steps and bring TRACTIAN to your industrial plant. Schedule a demonstration now. 

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About the author:

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Gabriel Lameirinhas

Founder and Co-CEO of TRACTIAN. Computer Engineer from University of Sao Paulo, Specialist in predictive and passionate about industrial maintenance.

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