General Electric Case Studies Vale Fertilizantes Saves $1.4M in Production Losses with Predix Asset Performanc
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Vale Fertilizantes Saves $1.4M in Production Losses with Predix Asset Performanc

General Electric
Predictive Maintenance

Reducing production losses

In 2013, the company identified a need in the maintenance and operation of its acid nitric plant to reduce production losses and improve annual production. Vale noticed there was a gap in nitric acid production from 2011 to 2012 and discovered that three pieces of equipment were responsible for the main losses, including two weak acid condensers and a compressor discharge air cooler. The condenser’s losses were due to thickness loss, lack of availability of the spare condenser, and shell cracking.

With a production loss above 14,000 tons in 15 months, Vale aimed to reduce annual loss by 10,000 tons by August 2015. 

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Vale Fertilizantes (Vale), acquired by Mosaic in 2018, is one of the leading fertilizer manufacturers in Brazil. The company has four facilities with distinct areas of focus, including phosphate and nitrogen fertilizers. 

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The need to improve maintenance strategies and reliability

In an effort to improve its maintenance strategies and improve reliability, Vale implemented Predix Asset Performance Management (Predix APM) (formerly Meridium Enterprise APM), specifically including the APM Reliability and APM Integrity solutions. These solutions included production analysis, thickness monitoring, and root cause analyses (RCA) capabilities.

Vale partnered with the Predix APM team to perform an RCA audit to analyze the condenser system and document failures, as well as develop strategies to prevent reoccurrence. Before the analysis of the condenser system was performed, its function was unknown and the weak acid flow was under the defined limit. The problem signified a larger challenge that the company needed more than a maintenance fix and required a cultural change to fully embrace and practice ongoing reliability efforts.

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Mature (technology has been on the market for > 5 years)
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[Cost Reduction - Maintenance]

Avoid 25 days of lost production in one year, which resulted in a savings of $1.4 million

[Efficiency Improvement - Operation]

Before Predix APM was implemented, Vale’s production was around 200,000 tons; after implementation, it was more than 212,000. 

The company’s revenue increased by $1.275 million.

The maintenance expenses were reduced by $150,000.

The condenser lifespan was extended from 2-4 years.

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