The maintenance strategies deployed on your systems and equipment will have a major impact on the resulting performance. For operators in industries such as oil, gas, mining and agriculture the goal has always been to achieve maximum asset productivity and safety using preventative and predictive testing methods.
In the past, some companies lacked the insight into performance metrics, a crucial component in improving reliability and little effort has been made to correlate data. At most sites where, for example, vibration condition monitoring is routinely conducted there will usually be a thermography and oil analysis program operating as well. This is now changing with more emphasis being given to integrated condition monitoring where an alarm in one method gives cause to look for evidence of a fault in the other method.
Better quality forecasts of remaining life are the result of good quality integrated programs. Using data from equipment, devices and systems as part of a Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) program will help identify, and programmatically and methodically address failures before they occur.
Industry experts and leaders and now starting to see the benefits of adopting new technologies in the way that asset performance and reliability are managed. However, an RCM strategy isn’t simply about collecting data. You need to make sure you get the right data from the right sources. To create a continuous improvement approach to reliability maintenance you will need to consistently monitor and perform analysis. This way, health and performance of systems can be tracked and problems identified and addressed before they occur, therefore reducing risks and ultimately achieving your desired business results.
The First Steps
To get a better understanding of all of your devices and assets deployed across your operation its good to start with an analysis of your equipment and systems. From this analysis an inventory of all your equipment assets and devices, maintenance practices, and failure modes is compiled. This will tell you the status of your technologies, whether current, legacy or obsolete, thereby helping you understand the condition of your critical assets.
Getting the Right Data
Learning from past failures and preventing future failures is at the heart of all RCM strategies. However, this is not possible if you are not getting the right data, from the right place and delivering it in the form of useful information. The on-going condition monitoring of assets will allow you to proactively address failing assets, rather than reactively responding to failures.
Software used today is able to access real-time information anytime from anywhere in the world. Analytics software can combine your real-time performance data and historical maintenance data into useful, contextualized information for workers. Service providers, such as JWA Condition Monitoring provide ways to automate data collection processes to collect and identify data from devices. Data is then modelled with asset-management information to trigger events and send alerts for proactive maintenance.
Once you’ve done your full assessment and have your failure-mode findings, building a RCM strategy can be simple.
You will have to first identify priority equipment and systems and examine their performance. Installed-base analysis findings will help pinpoint which assets are most crucial to your financial, safety and environmental performance.
You should ask yourself a few questions to help you get the most out of your performance data:
Is the asset doing the job intended?
Is the asset producing the value that it should?
Is the asset operating at the availability level it should?
The next step is to build an improvement plan into your roadmap. For each asset, a successful RCM program will determine which failure modes and conditions you will monitor. You’ll then need to outline actions that workers have to take to correct issues before they lead to failures. This could include instructing a technician to schedule a device repair or replacement by a certain date.
Approaches in use today
Today there are preventative measures in place. Traditional time-based maintenance typically creates additional cost and work, and does not necessarily identify the root cause of the failure mode.