Reliability and Asset Management

Archive for the ‘Asset Management’ Category

Human Response to Change

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 | Asset Management, Equipment Reliability, Maintenance Programs | 2 Comments

Perceived Negative Change



Perceived Positive Change

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Characteristics of Outstanding Asset Management, Equipment Reliability, and Maintenance Programs

Sunday, July 31st, 2011 | Asset Management, Equipment Reliability, Maintenance Programs | 14 Comments

Over the last 25 years of my consulting on asset management, equipment reliability and maintenance practices, it has become apparent to me that the outstanding programs in these areas all share the following common characteristics:

  • Excellent Personnel
  • Effective Organization
  • Broad Support
  • Quality Environment
  • Comprehensive Program
  • Measurable Standards of Performance
  • Commitment to Improvement
  • Regular Reporting


If there is a single common characteristic of “World Class” maintenance it is the excellent people found at the heart of every successful program.  A “World Class” program begins with people.  A careful process assures that the best available people are responsible for such vital tasks as condition monitoring and analysis.  Their shared attributes include commitment, motivation, enthusiasm, and an eagerness to learn.  These successful people are willing to advocate their conclusions, challenge conventional practices, and work as a team to resolve differences and disputes among themselves.  One supervisor summed it up  — “these people are fun to be around”.  Thus,  the ideal program; dedicated personnel who work well together and challenge one another to achieve excellence.


“World Class” maintenance programs are increasingly team oriented and self directed.  Companies at the leading edge have implemented flexible, multi-function teams with ownership and end to end responsibility for a specific process or system.  These teams are made up of operations, maintenance, engineering, and other functions needed to fulfill the mission — within a flexible organization structure to achieve maximum efficiency.  Gone are the days when operations destroyed a pump due to insufficient flow or maintenance left a machine misaligned under pressures of time.  Everyone is on the same page, working to achieve the same objective — optimize production.

Within the flexible organizational structure,  there is a commitment to long term efficiency that includes planning and scheduling.  Maintenance requirements are prioritized and closely coordinated with operations/production to maintain availability at the highest possible level.  This  process seeks to minimize the necessity for emergency and  overtime work.


“World Class” maintenance programs consistently enjoy broad support ranging from the plant and operations management to the mechanics  and equipment operators that are actually performing the work.  Everyone is well aware of their role and contribution to success.  This support ranges from management focused on encouragement, facilitation, and rewarding contribution to the level of coordination and cooperation between maintenance, production, and engineering within a team structure.


“World Class” maintenance organizations all have quality facilities that are clean, well organized, and present a professional appearance.  Participants take pride in their surroundings.  This in turn builds the commitment, enthusiasm, and motivation that are vital ingredients for success.

A quality environment includes ongoing training and education.  Multi-disciplinary cross training to promote versatility, attendance at professional meetings and conferences, and compliance with proficiency standards demonstrated by professional certification are all vital parts of the quality environment.

Advanced skills, proficiency, meeting objectives, and successes are all rewarded within a “World Class” program.  Rewards range from promotions and/or monetary bonuses to participation in out-of-town technical conferences and recognition in plant and corporate publications.


A “World Class” comprehensive maintenance program begins with a mission statement that defines the goals and objectives of the program in words that everyone can understand.  The goals and objectives must be both achievable and measurable using well defined performance indicators , e.g. increase availability to 98.5%, reduce maintenance costs to $10 per horsepower.

“World Class” maintenance programs include an optimized mix of condition directed, time directed, proactive, and reactive  maintenance.  Condition measurements are utilized to replace or extend the intervals between time directed/planned maintenance tasks and to direct equipment overhauls.

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is an integral part of “World Class” maintenance.  The CMMS tracks scheduling requirements for both preventive and predictive tasks and generates work orders that accurately tracks cost.  The best systems issue individual work orders for planned maintenance tasks and repairs, specify the work procedure with helpful hints and pitfalls, and clearly states safety and quality standards/ acceptance criteria.  Accurate equipment histories are constructed by requiring entries of work accomplished, including conditions found, parts replaced, and time expended, before a work order can be closed.  The benefit/cost of preventive maintenance must be easily available by comparing conditions found with cost.  A “World Class” CMMS system includes facilities for automatically identifying common failures by cause, equipment, manufacturer, and model number.

The condition assessment program includes mechanical vibration, lubricating and hydraulic oil analysis (wear debris and chemistry), infrared thermography, electric system analysis and motor static and dynamic (current) analysis, ultrasonic testing for leaks and electric discharge, hydraulic and aerodynamic performance (efficiency) and operating history.

In addition to the well recognized use of vibration for condition monitoring and machine protection, “World Class” organizations require vibration measurements immediately following repairs to validate equipment condition and assess the quality of the repairs.

Assuring the integrity of lubricating and hydraulic oils includes controlled storage, testing before use,  and reporting overdue requirements for testing and/or changing operating fluids.  Major monetary savings have been demonstrated by basing lubricating and hydraulic fluid changes on test results rather than operating hours.  This also reduces the cost of waste oil disposal.

Infrared thermography is performed on a regular scheduled basis to high voltage distribution equipment, switchgear, breakers, motor starters, transformers, and connectors to detect overheating caused by loose connections or failing windings.  One “World Class” organization took the added step of installing UL approved lockable doors on dry transformer enclosures.  This vastly improved efficiency by reducing the time for thermographic inspections of vital transformers from several hours to less than ten minutes.

“World Class” organizations also utilize infrared thermography for regular insulation and refractory surveys measuring tank levels, checking valve leakage, and many other mechanical system surveys.  Thermography is a powerful tool for troubleshooting and for regular route based monitoring programs.

Electrical transformers are monitored and tested periodically, including regular evaluation of oil condition and gas content.

Electrical tests:  phase impedance, power factor, harmonic distortion and high potential must all be conducted on a regular schedule.  This is an addition to regular dynamic motor current signature analysis to detect electromechanical rotor flaws and periodic static testing for early detection of stator flaws.

“World Class” maintenance programs include ultrasonic monitoring for leaks and electrical discharge coronas.

Condensers are monitored with a variety of means to identify leaks.  Monitoring process variables are an important part of “World Class” maintenance.  Symptoms of problems such as increasing internal clearances and distributed rotor damage (erosion, corrosion) are observed earlier in process measurements than mechanical vibration.

Proactive alignment and balancing programs are in effect to assure highest quality repairs and installation.  Purchase and repair standards based on industry best practice are in place, broadly communicated, and enforced.

One of the program-of-the-year finalists made an interesting comment that vividly illustrates the benefits of condition directed maintenance — “it allows them to run the plant instead of the plant running them!”


“World Class” maintenance sets and tracks objective standards of performance.  These include facility parameters such as heat rate, availability, and cost per unit of production.  More specific parameters such as lost production cost, overtime hours and percentage of reactive maintenance are also tracked to measure maintenance effectiveness.  The process is highly goal oriented.  Performance indicators are assigned at the process and system level and tracked regularly to assure continuous improvement and provide early recognition of departures from required results.


Achieving “World Class” maintenance requires a broad scope, attention to detail, accurate and representative measures of performance, efforts to achieve constant improvement and regular reports of performance.  Many have achieved this level of success.  All must recognize that remaining at this level is a moving target as expectations and standards of performance are continually elevated by the leaders.

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Example of a Simplified Asset Management Model

Thursday, May 5th, 2011 | Asset Management | 7 Comments


Traits of Good Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Thursday, May 5th, 2011 | Asset Management | 8 Comments

1.  Objective – provides an unbiased appraisal of a given condition or attribute
2.  Countable/Measurable – can be trended objectively with time.
3.  Controllable – assigned to the group that can direct the outcome of the condition being measured.
4.  Meaningful – Reflect a condition that has a true impact on performance of the process

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