3 Important Trends in Equipment Relability
You constantly measure the probability that an asset or system will fail in a certain period of time. Unfortunately, the term “fail” can have many meanings from poor performance to catastrophic failure. Failures can happen for many reasons including maintenance failure, a component that was improperly installed, lubrication schedules that were not met, or even a random accident.
The good news is that industry is coming up with some greatest and latest concepts and trends in reliability
Advanced Predictive Maintenance
The concept of predictive maintenance is a growing one. Unlike traditional maintenance, plants and facilities use advanced data to predict when a piece of equipment needs maintenance. This differentiates from the older school of thinking where maintenance schedules were determined by visual inspections, operator reports, or even “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” The concept of advanced predictive maintenance uses digital technology to establish the best time for a maintenance task.
In just the past few years, advanced technology has revolutionized the industry. Every plant from refineries to food processing and waste processing plants have utilized new and ever-improving technology to improve reliability outcomes. This concept combines several technologies such as advanced sensors, big data, and machine learning to collect vital information. The trend is to identify operation patterns over many variables in ways that are superior to traditional analysis. The result is a data-driven understanding of why a failure occurred. More importantly, digital technology can help identify an impending slowdown or even break down.
Utilizing the technology concept above can result in advanced analytics for your entire operation. For example, you can see how much energy a certain piece of machinery, equipment, or entire system is using at a glance. Have several systems performing the same task? You may be able to see which is using the most power, least power, has the best output, and even when they operate outside intended parameters.
Additionally, many plants are employing data mining on these analytics with tailored algorithms to develop and implement concise turnaround and shutdown protocols. As a result, three types of analytics have arisen:
Descriptive – This type of analysis gathers past and current data on existing equipment. It allows you to view and predict trends in operations. It also allows you to recognize if a certain piece of the operation is under or over performing.
Predictive – Using the above, you may continue your analytics by predicting how your operation will perform in the future. For example, say a certain system is loosing 1% efficiency per month. You may calculate how long it would take for the repair costs to be recovered if the trend continues. Predictive analytics can also be used to determine plans of action for future impending issues while reducing risks and unnecessary maintenance.
Prescriptive – By utilizing a combination of the two types of analytics above, engineers and owners can develop advanced courses of action to address future failures, as well as improve current operations. Prescriptive analytics can also be used to calculate the cost and time savings of implementing these many given courses of action.
Do Not Give Up On Traditional Methods
Just because you use the above does not mean you give up on traditional concepts in reliability. As an example, you still want operators to perform visual inspections and report on any piece of equipment that isn’t performing to standards, even if the issue does not show on your technology. However, new tools mean they can spend less time doing so. Although the trend is moving towards digital, traditional reliability procedures should never completely go away.
To achieve the best reliability results, go beyond maintenance to proper designs, trained operators, and professional contractors.
The AMACS team is experienced in assisting process plants through our industry-leading selection of packings, trays, and other internals for your process towers. Contact us to discuss how we can help with your plant’s tower maintenance needs.