Integrating Asset Management and Maintenance

11 September 2008

A goal of 80 per cent planned maintenance is attainable when a plant asset management platform is integrated with maintenance strategy during engineering design. Bill Broussard, global marketing manager, PlantWeb Services, for Emerson Process Management, explains.

Fig 1
Fig 1

After speaking directly with more than 600 process industry maintenance supervisors, key personnel, and plant process engineers over the past three years, it’s clear that most are engaged in a never-ending struggle to reduce reactive (unplanned) maintenance, which consumes as much as 80% of the maintenance man-hours in their plants.

The best way to prevent such losses is to attack the problem long before it occurs, during the front-end engineering and design (FEED) stage of a capital project.

Formal industry surveys have found that more than half of all maintenance is done reactively. Even more discouraging, these numbers have not changed over the last 20 years, despite the billions of dollars spent by process industry companies on computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) and plant asset management (PAM).

Once support for PAM is in place, plant designers must undertake several specific tasks to identify goals and strategies that will rationalise investments in predictive intelligence.

Tasks to define the specs
Task 1: Objectives. Identify key business objectives for the facility and tie these back to operations and maintenance stakeholders.

Task 2: GAP and benchmarks. When considering a plant addition or process upgrade, it is important to assess existing strengths and weaknesses at the site. The process should include developing ratings for work planning and execution, management systems, goal making, accountability, diagnostics technologies in use, methods of improvement, training, and others. The result is a comprehensive benchmark of a plant’s capabilities while identifying areas of improvement.

Task 3: Site goals/PAM specifications. Scrutinise your company’s business objectives to identify goals that tie to operations and maintenance. Questions answered at this stage include: What maintenance strategy will enable us to achieve key objectives? Where should we invest in predictive intelligence? Can we make an investment in predictive intelligence? How do we spec this into the FEED?

Tasks to document strategy
Task 4: Asset Information. Asset information becomes the backbone of a chart called an asset management blueprint. Individual devices are listed down the side and vertical columns include normal maintenance procedures. Boxes on the chart where the lines and columns intersect should indicate the maintenance tasks assigned to each asset and when the work needs to be performed.

The last column can show projected annual man-hours to accomplish the tasks for each asset. Adding up the hours in that column provides an early estimate of the annual man-hours required to maintain the plant using the prescribed strategy.

Task 5: Asset priority. Validate the priority of each asset to overall productivity by assigning a maintenance priority index (MPI). Assets with a ranking in the top 20-30% justify predictive technology as part of the PAM strategy. Preventive maintenance can be selective on the lower 70-80%, and assets at the bottom of the list can be allowed to run-to-failure.

Task 6: Task frequency. Establish appropriate maintenance schedules for each asset according to its priority and its failure methods. This is determined using MTBF/MTBM (mean time between failure/mean time between maintenance).

Task 7: Technology deployment. Determine PAM technologies needed for personnel to operate and maintain the plant following the maintenance strategy.

Tasks to outline functions
Task 8: Develop maintenance tasks. Create specific, written procedures that support necessary activities to avoid failure on the assets in the maintenance strategy blueprint.

Task 9: Work flow. Define maintenance work flow, including problem discovery, work initiation, planning and scheduling, and closing a work order. It also identifies roles and responsibilities to support work flow as well as success metrics.

Task 10: Map integration to business systems. Identify system integration issues and avoid investment in technologies that require too much manual interaction. This task ensures that critical integration between plant systems is in place and addressed formally during the FEED stage of a project.

When PAM is a consideration from the beginning of your capital project, the long-term benefits will include greater equipment availability, fewer emergencies, and lower maintenance costs over the life of the plant.

Fig 1: There is an irony when 'limited personnel' and 'too busy reacting' are cited as barriers to planned maintenance, since planned maintenance is one of the most effective ways to relieve those problems

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