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[ Insights from the SAP-Centric EAM 2013 Event - Huntington Beach March 2013 ( Part 12 of 12): This is part of a blog series brought to you by Norm Poynter and Paul Kurchina, designed to inspire and educate by sharing experiences with the SAP Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Community. For the past nine years, the Eventful Group's SAP-Centric North American Event ( Supported by SAP and ASUG ) has brought together the EAM community to network, share ideas and experiences, and explore solutions for Enterprise Asset Management.]

This post is based on a very highly rated keynote presentation by Mark Foster, Managing Director of Revisia Ltd., at the Huntington Beach SAP-Centric EAM 2013 Community event in March.

Listening to Mark Foster’s keynote speech on 3D visualization, the book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work came to mind. Author Matthew Crawford writes about a disconnect between human and machine and how working with one’s hands and understanding the mechanics of things is becoming a lost art. Some examples of this from Crawford: Washrooms now have infrared mechanisms that detect movement, making the flushing of toilets and turning on and off faucets automated. And some cars don’t have dipsticks anymore, replaced with warning indicators and out-of-the-way gauges.

Crawford’s book illustrates that slowly but surely we’re removing the human aspect from our interaction with machines. This interaction has existed since the industrial revolution and the early days of the automobile and mechanical equipment. What does this have to do with 3D visualization in Enterprise Asset Management? Quite a bit.

In his keynote, Foster, who founded Revisia Ltd., an Auckland-based 3D industrial visualization consulting firm, talked about his experience with long-time client New Zealand Steel. At the plant, 50 percent of the workers are over 50 years old, and 20 percent are over 55. From a maintenance point of view, the veteran crew has built up a large body of knowledge on how plant assets work and how they can be repaired when they don’t work. Unfortunately, much of what they know is in their heads.

As these 50-somethings retire, how can the plant help a new generation of workers—one that isn’t as mechanically inclined as their predecessors—do their jobs? Through 3D visualization of assets, said Foster. Visualization can be a key component of knowledge capture. It also crosses educational and language barriers. But 3D visualization can do much more. It can be a tool for training, education, simulation, and testing—which ultimately makes 3D visualization an effectiveness and efficiency tool as well.

Over the last several years, Foster, who one would consider a pioneer of 3D visualization in the maintenance field, has pushed the boundaries of what is possible at New Zealand Steel. Maintenance personnel now have access to a living library of knowledge that is wrapped around lightweight, interactive 3D animations and virtual equipment models linked to SAP.

"The visual plant can be likened to having a pair of X-ray vision goggles for your plant—enabling real-world transparency of your assets while navigating through layers of digital asset information," said Foster.

Here are his visualization takeaways:

- Embrace technology in your tribe. It’s here to stay.

- Capture knowledge before it walks offsite. As baby boomers retire, what will you do to enable the next generation of maintainers?

- Your 3D effort doesn’t have to be bigger than Ben Hur. You can chip away and over time you will create a 3D-enabled plant.

We urge anyone in the maintenance realm to think out of the box—not in 1D or 2D, but 3D. It’s much easier to do this today, as SAP offers its SAP Visual Enterprise solution. Facilities struggle with training and education—and that includes the lack of visual training in 3D. We can make a difference by encouraging the use of 3D models in EAM.

You too can move from this

To 3D

And 3D linked to SAP EAM

To learn more, watch the video of Mark Foster’s presentation and read the PowerPoint.

For more information, here's a post with all of the links to the published blogs in this series.

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