Art and Science – Planning for Equipment Upgrades

November 21, 2022 - Author: Matt Thiel - Director of Facility Planning and Engineering - ACS, Todd Culp - North American Wind Tunnel Supervisor - Ford

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Industrial machinery and equipment upgrades require a blend of art and science

Industrial Machinery and Equipment Upgrades Require Constant Equipment Monitoring

Deciding on upgrades for research, development, or production equipment involves blending established methods, hands-on knowledge, and intuition. Facility managers and decision-makers tackle daunting tasks amidst shifting regulations, integration duties, and financial planning. Industry benchmarks, tech evaluations, supplier assessments, budgeting, facility age, and company culture are key factors. Paired with a competitive tech market, planning upgrades become a recurring, intricate process. Effective equipment upgrades require a blend of art and science. While recognizing data-driven business and technical factors remains essential, data alone has its limitations. Although equipment may be technical, the operational environments and personnel involved can introduce additional complexities. Seamless integration of equipment upgrades into daily operations requires a comprehensive plan that meticulously outlines the specifics of a potential project, including the “who, what, where, when, why, and how.” In the article published in the magazine FMJ, “Art and Science: Planning for Equipment Upgrades,” ACS’ very own, Matt Thiel, Director, Integration Engineering, identifies a few concepts related to the importance of equipment upgrades:

  1. Equipment monitoring and timelines
  2. Projected utilization
  3. The role of technology
  4. Balancing, data, analytics, and intuition
  5. Organizational size, culture, and decision-making practices

As technology advances, the need for new and upgraded equipment intensifies due to market shifts, competition, and regulatory mandates. Planning for equipment upgrades provides a framework for decisions aligned with business objectives and conducive to effective processes for all stakeholders. Facility managers can achieve this by blending their expertise and intuition with insights gained from communication and collaboration with staff and stakeholders, as well as thorough analysis of available data and equipment life cycles. Rather than solely prioritizing cost or performance, it’s essential to strike a harmonious balance between empirical evidence and intuitive understanding, propelling facility, and business goals forward. Read the full article here.

Download FMJ Article