Royal Avebe’s successful transition to SPM condition monitoring technology for maintenance efficiency and enhanced cybersecurity

When Dutch ingredient supplier Royal Avebe needed to replace its existing condition monitoring system for cybersecurity reasons some years ago, the biggest challenge was to find a condition monitoring supplier capable of implementing customized measurement techniques and routines – among them CPB*) analysis functionality – that Avebe had practiced for decades and wanted to continue using in a new software platform.

Avebe made a fresh start in 2020, replacing its existing condition monitoring system from a previous supplier with multiple intrinsically safe handheld analyzers and SPM’s analysis and diagnostic software. This transition enabled the maintenance department to retain its well-established practices for monitoring the condition of equipment such as pumps, fans, reactors, separators, electric motors, gearboxes, and conveyor belts in a secure IT environment.

Avebe aims for an Industry 4.0 maintenance strategy, combining and analyzing condition monitoring data and process data. The condition monitoring program enables the maintenance departments to gain insight into the machine health and condition of monitored assets and compare this with other sites. The overall purpose is to avoid machine failures that cause unplanned downtime or production disturbances and to lower maintenance costs.

Sander te Riele, Manager of Planned Maintenance, said: “Our maintenance strategy is to test and monitor assets based on their design conditions, ensuring that their life cycle is as optimal as possible. By choosing the right measurement methodology for the asset group, we obtain the condition information needed to predict failure. Thus, we can reduce maintenance costs by carrying out overhauls or replacements before breakdown and in a planned manner. It also reduces the amount of downtime in production-critical applications.”

Since 2020, Avebe has continued its condition monitoring investments, purchasing online systems and accelerometers that continuously monitor the mechanical and lubrication condition of low-RPM and production-critical assets, including grinders, separators, vacuum drums, reaction drums, wash drums, potato pumps, and screens. Avebe also planned on short term to roll out wireless sensors on less critical equipment to complement route-based measurement and online monitoring.

SPM Instrument BV was chosen as a supplier because of its capacity, as a total solutions provider, to meet Avebe’s needs and offer the hardware and software to monitor a complete production facility, as well as the know-how and team to manage this project and provide all engineering, installation, and commissioning services. SPM Instrument Netherlands currently works with three Avebe production sites in the country.

Royal Avebe is a cooperative of over 2,000 potato growers. The company produces potato starch, potato protein, and other ingredients for the food and animal feed industries and the industrial market. Approximately 1,300 employees work at production units in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany, and at UK, US, and Asia sales offices.

*) Constant Percentage Bandwidth, called Octave band in the analysis and diagnostics software