Using a reliability-centric approach to extend life of plant assets

Using a reliability-centric approach to extend life of plant assets

For just about every manufacturing facility, striving for top-of-the-line maintenance is generally seen as a direct route to higher profits, improved safety and a better environmental report card.

But efficient maintenance alone may not be enough to send profit margins as high as they can be, Plant Services reports. 

According to the media outlet, asset reliability often takes a backseat to maintenance, and companies typically invest heavily in their maintenance projects. And while doubling tool time is certainly an important aspect of plant operations, ensuring an asset never breaks down in the first place holds the best potential for more efficient manufacturing processes. 

By focusing on reliability as well as asset maintenance, and by making reliability a priority for maintenance personnel and departments, facilities could see these savings. 

If one plant must repair 500 pumps every year, and it costs $20,000 to repair each, that’s $10 million in repairs every year. If 25 percent of this number is labor, doubling tool time could potentially lower labor costs by $1.25 million annually. However, the news source pointed out, if that same plant focused on reliability and doubled the mean time between repairs (MTBR), maintenance projects would be slashed in half, saving the company about $5 million a year. 

“As a general rule, if your asset’s MTBR is less than six years, gains in reliability will surpass any gains in maintenance efficiency,” wrote Craig Cotter, a maintenance specialist with Texas-based oil and gas exploration company Oxy. “Of course, you still need to improve maintenance efficiencies, but a reliability-centric approach yields far superior overall results.”

According to the media outlet, the best way to implement a system for reliability is to combine it with the operations and maintenance departments to form a “three-legged stool,” in which each business facet has some hand in supporting the other.

Although creating a new department strictly for reliability may sound time consuming and expensive, the benefits will quickly pay off. 

According to Finding Petroleum, a number of players in the oil and gas fields are now using integrity management and corrosion modeling systems that paint a clear picture of ageing assets and how well they are functioning. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has developed standards for such operations, and if these EPA maintenance rules are violated, it can lead to heavy fines.


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