Using Digital Technologies to Continue Mission-Critical Work in A Socially Distanced World

Telehealth services are surging as the healthcare system adapts to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As recently explained by a data expert for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to the Wall Street Journal, “I think it’s fair to say that the advent of telehealth has been just completely accelerated, that it’s taken this crisis to push us to a new frontier, but there’s absolutely no going back.”

There will be a similar acceleration of digital adoption at industrial facilities as they adapt to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Facility operators around the world are re-evaluating their plans for maintenance and capital projects for 2020 and into 2021. Social distancing measures and travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19 mean that facilities are questioning how they can continue mission-critical activities that would normally require hundreds of operators, field engineers, and third-party maintenance service providers to be on-site together.

Cumulus is working hand-in-hand with our customers to help them adapt to COVID-19 restrictions and safely continue operations. For example, last month, travel restrictions prevented a quality inspector from traveling to our customer’s offshore facility to oversee a planned maintenance event. This would ordinarily have resulted in the postponement of this important activity. However, our customer used the Cumulus Smart Torque System to manage QA activities through remote inspections by an onshore team. The QA inspector was able to approve bolted joints for start-up from shore without having to physically visit the facility.

The project manager for the turnaround said it best: ”The role of QA should theoretically lie with someone who is onsite who can witness the torqueing, but since we are using Smart Torque and the values are recorded, then it should not be an issue to approve the process flow onshore by just reviewing the data.”

The results achieved were clear: zero leaks on start-up and no unplanned downtime.

World events threatened to cancel a planned maintenance event, but by adopting a new digital system, our customer was able to adapt to a reduced on-site workforce and safely continue operations.

Much like the explosion of technology that enables the delivery of remote patient care in the health services industry, plant managers and production/maintenance teams should look for digital systems and tools that allow them to continue operations and streamline their on-site staffing, delivering an equivalent (or better) level of safety, quality, and productivity.  The current COVID-19 environment will require it.  If the delivery of patient care in the health service industry are an example, industrial facilities will never look back either.