Proactive asset owners and operators worldwide are moving away from inefficient time-based maintenance practices and looking to adopt forward looking condition-based methods.
I like to compare asset maintenance to painting a house. Occasional touch-ups will maintain a house in good condition for many years, but at some point this approach will no longer be sufficient and a complete re-paint is needed. The same applies to large, complex assets.
While it’s relatively easy to decide when your house needs repainting (just ask my wife), it’s not so easy to decide when large complex assets require a major maintenance or replacement effort. This is especially true for assets dispersed across large geographic areas and variable operating conditions e.g. utility networks, buildings, real-estate, etc.
A growing trend among asset owners and operators worldwide is the move away from inefficient reactive and time-based maintenance practices and the adoption of more proactive condition-based methods.
Condition-based monitoring has several advantages over reactive and time-based methods;
a) Provides information on the current and long-term condition of an asset therefore facilitating more efficient asset maintenance, refurbishment and replacement decisions.
b) Provides a measure of the effectiveness of current asset maintenance activities in minimising the whole-of-life cost and risk.
c) Significantly reduces asset downtime. The flow-on benefit is a reduction in maintenance labour requirements for the same level of production.
d) Maximises business outcomes (for customers and shareholders) for minimum asset life cycle costs while minimising risks.
Despite its advantages, the uptake of condition-based monitoring has been restricted by the high costs and time needed to collect reliable asset data i.e. many asset conditions can still only be assessed by costly in-field inspections.
A cost-effective alternative to 100% asset condition inspection is scientific auditing. Scientific auditing assesses the condition of a large, complex assets by analysing the number and type of unacceptable asset conditions in a much smaller “scientifically” calculated sample. The larger the sample size – the more accurate the audit result.
Another more recent advancement in auditing is the move to risk-based auditing (RBA). The purpose of RBA is to further optimise the auditing process by prioritising asset inspections in accordance with asset risk i.e. consequences and likelihood of failure. In other words, high risk assets are inspected more frequently and more intensively than low risk assets.
When it comes to selecting a suitable scientific, risk-based auditing methodology for your asset condition monitoring system the most popular and easiest to understand is the International Organisation of Standardisation ISO 2859.1: Sampling procedures for inspection by attributes.
This standard has its origins in the manufacturing sector, where it’s been used for many years to monitor and control product and material quality levels. What is not well appreciated, is these same methods can be used to monitor and control other types of risks; including asset condition risks.
We all know how expensive it is to paint a house. We also know that continually getting in a painter to do small jobs is not cost effective either. Large asset owners/operators need to make their maintenance and replacement decisions using timely, reliable information – and not just continue to paint over the cracks!
While designing and implementing a suitable scientific, risk-based asset auditing system has been prohibitively expensive for many organisations in the past, recent advancements in cloud-based software means it’s never been easier or cheaper to get started than now.
For further information on how your organisation can take advantage of this highly effective scientific approach to asset condition monitoring please visit us at www.compliance-master.com.