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Dennis Flower takes a look at how remote monitoring can enhance service schedules and help prolong equipment life

There have been continuous efforts by equipment manufacturers and suppliers of HVAC equipment to emphasise the essential need to correctly maintain and operate this equipment in the correct manner to ensure that they continue to function effectively and efficiently.

This has been supported by numerous studies showing both the longevity of equipment and systems that have been properly maintained and regularly serviced, with some showing the results at the opposite end of the scale where HVAC plant has been largely ignored.

Neglecting plant and equipment can often be seen to result in increased breakdowns and reduced efficiencies emerging which, in the worst of cases, leads to a combination of costly repairs and rising energy costs.

This should see savings in both call outs and repair costs

Dennis Flower PfM Dennis Flower Editor of Premises & Facilities Management

Constant feedback

The message that all mechanical equipment needs to be regularly checked and serviced continues to be drummed home to users, but there are increasing signs that this may be adapting in some areas.

This is being driven by the continuing development of monitoring technology, combined with growing levels of awareness and appreciation for the potential that this provides.

Perhaps one of the most relevant examples is that of sensors attached to relevant items of equipment to monitor their operation.

Data is constantly fed back to the system, which is programmed to generate an alert at the first sign of an issue beginning to emerge.

This allows rapid response, including alerting engineers to the problem, with the ailing item of equipment switched off and isolated where necessary before more serious issues occur.

First time fix

It is possible for these actions to take place remotely, with an engineer only required to visit to make the repair or install a new piece of equipment.

When operated correctly, this should see savings in both call outs and repair costs, allowing the engineer to arrive with the right parts and achieve the all-important ‘first time fix’ that all companies and clients wish to see.

Remote monitoring does not remove the need for service schedules, of course, but could well result in their adjustment when combined with best-practice use of remote monitoring technology.

Dennis Flower is editor of Premises & Facilities Management