One solution is to network and instrument the guages. Today this a very inexpensive proposition. In addition to helping with monitoring the plant, it would help to characterize the guages and systems they measure over time. Just throwing out a measurement instrument in a plant today seems a little archaic. Think about the instrumented composite wings Ann talked about recently.
But if the gauge were that important, I doubt it would be permitted to degrade as much as those shown in the images.
One solution is for Wika to build more robust gauges. Most gauges use their port as the structural mount. The process medium (compressed air, chlorine gas) could easily vent if the damage to the gauge includes that port. Beefing up the port can help some of what Wika shows.
As a one time maintenance manager I recall spending considerable time and money to fix or replace a bunch of gauges. Although these were water pressure, air pressure, HVAC, and hydraulic pressure gauges, the effort was to ensure all gauges worked in our plant. One week after completion, I did a quick audit and found several damaged. I never found the person named "I don't know" but he sure had a habit of damaging gauges. It seems that many of the gauges are useful foot steps, hangers for tools or clothes, and grab handles for reaching over piping. So it does not surprise me that many plants, including chemical, have broken or non-functioning gauges.
I always thought that gauge audits were commonplace. I've seen everything from antistatic mats all the way to HVAC systems being audited. There have even been times when production was shut down or had to rent gauges to get through a current audit
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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