Conference attracts global mix of maintenance, reliability and asset management professionals
The Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC) wrapped up its annual MainTrain conference at the Delta Bessborough hotel in Saskatoon (September 25-28).
The annual conference promotes learning and asset management on a business and personal level, said Paul Baker, president of PEMAC’s Saskatchewan chapter and co-chair of the MainTrain 2017 conference. “The conference is not commercialized – the trade show plays a huge role, but there’s no overt selling. It’s about learning and sharing knowledge,” said Baker.
Delegates were able to attend more than 40 workshops, keynotes and tours related to this year’s conference theme, “Connect, Learn, and Contribute.” The theme, which happens to be PEMAC’s tagline, has been around for a while and this was an opportunity to use it, said Cindy Snedden, PEMAC’s executive director.
This year’s program included significant content in integrated strategy for maintenance management, change management, reliability centered maintenance, managing electrical power assets, and optimizing maintenance decisions with failure data analytics.
The conference agenda was also purposefully designed for the Saskatoon setting, said Baker, as presentations would be delivered against an economic context that is driven by agriculture, mining, advanced technology and innovation.
To this end, keynote presenter Tina Markovic, head of Production, Potash, BHP Billiton, Canada Inc., in Saskatoon, Sask., made a compelling case for the potential benefits of digital adoption through such technologies as mine monitoring and control systems.
Markovic noted that by adopting a manufacturing mindset, along with digital technology, her team at BHP Billiton is able to generate greater sources of value. “For BHP, digital stands for the capabilities enabled by technology to provide situational awareness for improved safety, enhance operations for improved production, and to drive efficiencies to reduce costs.”
Markovic said that the “marriage of the digital and manufacturing mindsets” would facilitate higher performance of manual systems or processes to reduce time taken, make compliance transparent, as well as increase employee engagement and learning.
“It also extends value captured beyond human capability or capacity through advanced analytics,’ said Markovic, noting that improved safety, reduced variability and increasing quality through automation and centralization in an integrated operation centre can also be achieved by following a revitalized asset management program.
The sharing of best practices at a global level was made possible thanks to the presence of members of the Global Forum on Maintenance and Asset Management (GFMAM), a worldwide community providing leadership for maintenance and asset management communities, and World Partners in Asset Management (WPiAM), a partnership of professional associations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France and the United States that work to develop and assess competence in Asset Management.
GFMAM sent representatives to MainTrain from the Institute for Asset Management (IAM), the Asset Management Council (AMC), the Society for Reliability and Maintenance Professionals (SMRP), the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM), Institut Français d’Asset Management Industriel et Infrastructures (IFRAMI), South African Association for Asset Management (SAAMA), ABRAMAN (Brazil), Gulf Society for Maintenance and Reliability (GSMR), and the European Federation of National Maintenance Societies (EFNMS).
Sally Nugent, executive director for the WPiAM (established in 2014), said that being at the MainTrain 2017 conference was a way to build on the work of “ensuring that the World Partners succeeds through good governance,” to build awareness and to strengthen relationships. “We’re still fairly new.”
Every year PEMAC hands out an award to a deserving recipient who has made a significant contribution to the asset management and maintenance field. The 2017 winner of the Sergio Guy Memorial Award went to J.P. Pascoli, director, Physical Asset Management & Reliability, Cameco Corporation. A longtime member of the Board of Directors, Pascoli has been instrumental in developing the Body of Knowledge, a tool for asset management professionals.
Reflecting on the conference successes and challenges, Cindy Snedden said that it has been a goal to help attendees understand how and why an asset management framework will help them. “That has been a goal for about five years, and every year we made a bit of progress. This conference really made the bells ring in terms of understanding and seeing how it will help them.”
Snedden said that French Canadian delegates have also expressed that they would like to have a presence in French language and in Quebec, which supports the decision to host MainTrain 2018 in Ottawa.
“PEMAC sees Ottawa as an opportunity to begin to make some progress on that goal. The MMP (Maintenance Management Professional certificate program) in the University of Quebec is called PGM. But we haven’t had a chapter or members on the ground there. So we see Ottawa and an opportunity to have something bilingual that will connect us with our members in Quebec.”
MainTrain 2018 will be held in Ottawa, September 24 – 27.
For more information about MainTrain, visit www.pemac.org.