Return assets to a maintainable condition
Our condition assessment or equipment survey experts, understand that many organisations struggle to plan for remaining life, capital requirements, service charge calculations even though they are carrying out regular equipment performance reviews. There are numerous reasons for this including:
- The Preventive Maintenance Plan is ineffective
- The physical condition of the assets and their operating environment
- Quality of the spare parts used and technicians competence
One of the single biggest reasons for established equipment not performing is that it is not in a maintainable condition. When an asset’s condition has deteriorated to the extent that regular maintenance is no longer effective then there are only two choices – return the asset to a maintainable condition or replace.
Replacement of the asset is a major undertaking with the need for capital investment and may introduce additional issues such as unfamiliar technologies, additional spare parts holding etc.
Returning an asset to a maintainable condition is usually the best option, however, how do we identify what needs refurbishing? There is a danger that we either do too little or too much. What level of inspection do I need to go to? Stripping the asset down to all its component items may introduce failures when it is reassembled. Only inspecting those parts that are visible without disassembling the asset may leave problems undiscovered.
MCP has developed a proven methodology that ensures the correct level of inspection is performed to identify those parts that need refurbishment. Our process ensures the correct decisions are made and the asset is returned to a maintainable condition. This supports capital replacement strategies and on-going lifecycle costs.
MCP's 5-stage approach
We have developed a 5 stage approach that ensures the asset is returned to a maintainable condition, it includes a review of the preventive maintenance routines and so ensures that the asset is correctly maintained in the future.
Our approach relies on the simple principle that the purpose of ‘maintenance’ is to maintain an asset in a condition that allows it to provide the functions that the business requires i.e. what it was designed to do. This means returning the asset to its As Good As New (AGAN) condition, or as close as possible to it.
It must be recognised that returning an asset to its AGAN condition ‘in the field’ is very difficult. The effect of this is that the overall condition of even well-maintained assets will deteriorate over time.
This deterioration as a huge impact on repair/refurbishment/replacement decisions.
The first stage of the process is to identify the relevant AGAN conditions. These will usually fall into:
- Operational standards – throughputs (units per hour) etc
- Environmental standards – emissions – gasses, liquids, particulates, radiation, noise, heat/ cold, DSEAR, 5S
- Safety standards – guarding, interlocks, SIL assessment
- Reliability standards – MTBF, availability, MTBF, design life
- Cost standards – whole life cost of ownership, cost/ CARV, cost/ unit
- Condition standards – tolerances, wear limits, thermal and vibration fingerprints
- Energy – consumption l/min, kW per hour etc
Not all of these standards will be appropriate for every asset i.e. energy will be particularly relevant to utility equipment but less so for packaging equipment.
Having identified the relevant AGAN standard this will guide you as to the condition checks that need to be supplied.
Stage two is carrying out the actual condition survey. There are four main levels at which the condition can be carried out:
- Broad brush – visual
- Broad brush plus – use of predictive technologies such as infrared or vibration to assess the internal condition that can not be seen by the eye
- Broad brush plus function testing – i.e. checking flow rates (e.g. air balancing/ tightness of buildings)
- In-depth surveys – often strip and inspect may have expert Non-Destructive Testing e.g. metallurgical analysis
It is usually best to start with a visual survey and let the results of that guide if more in-depth testing is required.
Stage three is the prioritisation and costing of all the work. Once all work is costed, the final refurbish/ replace decision will be taken. The work must be loaded into the work planning and scheduling system so that it is coordinated with all other work.
Stage four is the carrying out of the refurbishment work. It is vital that once the refurbishment work has been carried out that it is proven that the AGAN condition has been reached
The final stage of the process is to review the existing PMs to ensure the newly restored asset is maintained correctly.
A correctly maintained asset offers numerous benefits
Returning an asset to its maintainable condition usually as substantial savings in terms of:
- Reduced downtime – and therefore usually higher outputs
- Reduced maintenance costs
Intangible benefits must also not be underestimated, this includes:
- A better understanding of the causes of failures
- Improved understanding of asset operation
- Improved the understanding of ‘maintenance’.