If you believe that reliable operations will result if you just follow your maintenance program, then you might also believe a few falsehoods about reliability and maintenance. First is the falsehood that maintenance is all you need to achieve reliability. Maintenance is about sustaining the asset’s operating conditions, not just fixing it when it breaks. Indeed, you do need to follow your maintenance program but it is not all there is to do, and it had better be the right program.[Read more…]
Are Condition Assessments Needed?
A well-designed maintenance program should eliminate the need to do condition assessments. These assessments are a form of condition monitoring, so why not include them in your proactive maintenance (PM) program? They are carried out to determine the current condition of an asset, determine if any remedial work is required, make an estimate of how long it will last, and forecast timing for eventually replacing the asset. In civil structures like buildings and bridges, these assessments are often called, “inspections”. When timed regularly they are no different from a condition monitoring task in any PM (proactive maintenance) program. Yet, they will be managed differently. Why that is so, doesn’t really matter, but arguably it just adds another program that must be managed in parallel with your maintenance program.[Read more…]
Do you have a Reliability Department?
Do you have a reliability department, a maintenance department, or a repair department?
Do you avoid failures? Do you avoid or mitigate their consequences?
Or do you wait for things to go wrong, then fix them?
Repairs are all about fixing what has broken. When something breaks you lose whatever functionality it had. It more than likely broke when you were using it too. So you also lost the benefit of that functionality – often production or service delivery capability. The costs include repair, whatever secondary physical damage occurred, the loss of revenues and profits, plus safety and environmental consequences that arise. When something breaks its “useful life” is reduced – deterioration was allowed to accelerate, so even once repaired, the asset has lost some future useful life. The fix for that longer-term deterioration impact is a capital replacement – earlier than need be. If the breakdown was really bad, then it might be much sooner.[Read more…]
Surviving the Recovery – part 3
Part 3 – What action?
Covid put many of our companies into a paralysis-like state. We’ve survived thanks to austerity measures, but we all know that we can’t cut our way to prosperity. As the recovery looms, we can act now to ensure sustained operational efficiency and organic growth post-pandemic.
Improving your maintenance program, as mundane as it may sound, can produce very high returns for very little investment. The first step – stop viewing maintenance as a cost to be minimized. Rather, view it as an ongoing investment in productive capacity.[Read more…]
Surviving the Recovery – part 2
Part 2 – You’re not dead. A call to action.
Are you ready to ramp back up?
Slowing down reduced supply and raised prices. Survival cost-cutting also put our companies into a state of Covid-induced paralysis. Like a person who is paralyzed – vital systems keep working so we survive, but growth, movement, and improvement all stop. I recall a soccer accident where my knee was damaged. I wasn’t paralyzed but that one leg was immobilized. It took me months to recover after the surgery was completed. The muscles in my leg had shrunk and strength needed to be rebuilt. In normal times, I’d have kept using the muscles and they would have strengthened, not shrunk.
Surviving the Recovery – part 1
Are you ready to ramp back up after your Covid-19 slowdown?
Part 1 – Did you fall into the reliability trap?
Covid scared us all! Here you can see two Red Pandas with their version of a threatening response. When threatened, we will have one of three reactions – fight, flight, or freeze.
Our businesses also have similar responses. A few have fought – and they “pivoted.” Some fled – they folded up and went away. Many simply froze – they halted just about everything. If your business froze, then this article is for you.[Read more…]
Look Before you Leap – Part 3
Get it right on paper before attempting to computerize and automate.
The Work Management Process. One of the biggest uses of IIoT, ML, and AI in the industry (so far) is in the field of condition monitoring and forecasting times to failure. IIoT devices deployed on your equipment and systems, send exception signals (they use edge computing to filter out the vast majority of the data that merely tells you “all is well”) over some sort of network (usually wireless), then some sort of software interface produces a message for you to read (maybe triggers and work request, or sounds an alarm) and then act on.[Read more…]
Look before you leap – part 2
Tech is needed, but do not focus only on the tool – implementation is key. For my musical aspirations that means the acquisition of a tool (the instrument), making sure it is set up correctly (tuning and positioning), investment in lessons and practice, using it regularly, and eventually, someone will tell me it sounds good. That’s my goal, and incidentally, I’m not there yet.[Read more…]
Look Before you Leap – Part 1
Digital transformation for huge potential business benefit uses the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) combined. Like any technology or tool, they must be used correctly or the results you want will be elusive.[Read more…]
Asset Performance Management – Industry 4.0
Asset Performance management is a vast expansion on the highly successful concepts of Condition Monitoring and Condition Based Maintenance.
Recently we co-hosted a webinar on the leverage of Industry 4.0 technologies such as the IIoT and AI to show what is really involved in Asset Performance Management. Here is a recording of that video webinar.[Read more…]
The Benefits of Proactive Maintenance
The benefits of proactive maintenance are the avoidance of consequences that occur when something fails. If you knew that you were going to suffer a heart attack and roughly when it would happen, wouldn’t you do something to avoid it? Or maybe you would just prepare better so the consequences of it occurring are minimized.[Read more…]
Are you Informed, or Data Distracted? You need AIM
Asset Information is far more than just data, and it must be managed. We want to be informed, not distracted by our data. Our goal is to make “evidence-based decisions”. The “evidence” of what is going on can be very useful if it is accurate, timely, complete, and fit for its intended purpose. Increasingly, we are turning to our computers for that evidence. But do we find it? Or do we end up searching through data looking for that “needle in the haystack”? Do we spend our time making informed decisions, or seeking information from an increasingly large and confusing array of disorganized, out-of-date, inaccurate, and incomplete data? Data must be fit for purpose.[Read more…]
Proactive Maintenance is More Covid, How “Covid” is Yours?
Proactive maintenance requires fewer people and is more suited to physical distancing, yet cost-savings measures are driving more reactive work and workplace crowding than necessary. Proactive maintenance is more “Covid”. You have laid-off workers, contractors, and reduced spending on maintenance and parts. In fact, Covid-19 presented you with a great savings opportunity! Have you done anything to make sure those costs stay down though? Short term maintenance cost savings are easy to achieve. but they bite hard later! [Read more…]
Pay $3k to Keep out of Trouble, or More to Get out of Jail
Pay $3k now to keep out of trouble or more to get out of jail later. Your plant asset performance is down and you know it. It’s only a matter of time before there is an accident. You need to improve but funds are limited.
The expert consultants will want to begin with some sort of an assessment. They will identify problems and offer solutions, for a price (likely $50k or more). You can’t afford it. Some consultants might even be former employees. Ask yourself, “if they worked here before, then why didn’t she/he fix what was wrong when they were here?” Consider getting a different consultant but you will still struggle with a big inconvenient truth! [Read more…]
How to Keep the Boss Out of Jail
Here’s a case where they didn’t know how to keep the boss out of jail! In Jan 2019, a mine tailing dam (the structure used to contain waste from mining operations) collapsed. The video below shows the event. 259 people were confirmed dead and 11 declared missing. Cause – liquefaction – a commonly occurring phenomenon, and one that this particular mine had been warned about. Outcome – fatalities and associated human cost, suspended operations (for a brief period), company reputation, criminal charges (executives and engineering consultants). Risk management is an often neglected part of our job. [Read more…]