Taking care of your assets

4 mins read

While many companies are making use of reliability techniques such as condition based monitoring (CBM), reliability centred maintenance (RCM) and root cause analysis (RCA) to achieve improvement benefits, a joined-up approach to asset care is required in order to influence bottom line profits and ensure maximum impact is achieved

Plant maintenance specialist PEME has designed a robust asset care programme, tailoring and moulding best-practice methodologies into a fast-track asset care approach for its clients. The programme has been designed to achieve significant improvement in relatively short timescales; quick wins help drive confidence in the programme and improve engagement of the whole team. PEME, headquartered in Peterborough, provides plant maintenance and project installation services to several manufacturers and utility companies.

An asset care programme develops the most cost-effective preventive maintenance (PM) tasks for a particular asset to address and mitigate the predominant failure modes. Benefits obtained through effective asset care include improved overall equipment condition, fewer breakdowns and higher up-time, lower spare part inventory, a rise in maintenance task completion rates, an increase in expected life of assets, more effective computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) data and visible maintenance Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to drive more accurate decision-making based on real data.

PEME initially conducts a fast-track asset care project. This reviews the plant and machinery in place, ensures the CMMS is accurate and identifies existing maintenance arrangements. The review also checks existing failure data to identify history of failure and the potential for dominant, reoccurring failures which can be addressed by PM tasks. A criticality review is used to influence decisions on the appropriateness of PM tasking; for example, it would not be cost-effective to invest in a full CBM programme for a non-critical £200 pump.

Other activities include a lubrication survey, CBM survey, statutory maintenance review and asset condition checks. The information from these initial activities are used with PEME's Firstline RCM methodology to generate new PM task lists, taking into account asset criticality and operating context, which are then captured in the CMMS.

PEME engineers structure the asset care project to deliver against a rolling implementation programme, allowing the early realisation of business benefits and provide feedback to drive further improvements.

The initial asset care project establishes an appropriate PM regime, ensuring real-world failure modes are addressed by the least intrusive means. A tailored, through-life asset care programme is then developed by PEME and is used to mobilise the new maintenance regime. This is achieved via the PEME maintenance model which also drives continuous improvement.

The PEME maintenance model consists of 25 individual maintenance-relevant elements and is influenced by best practice, experience and the maintenance and reliability elements of ISO55000 and the quality requirements of ISO9001. Each element specifies a best-practice maintenance approach that should be met by site-based personnel. The existing maintenance arrangements are assessed and the gaps between existing arrangements, best-practice and client aspirations are identified and an Action Plan is generated.

Many of PEME's clients require additional resource to deliver asset care. In many cases, PEME provides specialist engineers to its clients on-site on a long-term contract basis in order to help manage and oversee the asset care programme and perform more specialist CBM tasks such as oil sampling and thermography. PEME sees this as a partnered approach.

In order to provide greater high-level monitoring and visibility of maintenance activities, PEME engineers provide clients with the PEME Condition Register (PCR). This is a web-based maintenance software tool that provides essential information about critical assets to maintenance managers including dashboards displaying engineering KPIs, CBM data and reports and safety audit information in a unique 3D format.

Pragmatic on-going use is made of reliability techniques, such as CBM, RCM and RCA. A series of Maintenance Procedure documents are introduced to provide instruction and guidance on conducting complex maintenance activities. Autonomous maintenance (operator asset care) is introduced on assets where appropriate. In-house training is provided by PEME to train operators, maintenance personnel and managers in using PEME maintenance processes and reliability techniques. This approach ensures adequate sources of reliability data inputs are collected, analysed and acted upon to bring about continuous improvement.

During delivery of the asset care programme PEME engineers carry out reliability analysis on the top three failure concerns and they investigate dominant, reoccurring engineering-related failures with RCA. Major breakdowns are targeted to prevent reoccurrence and avoid unacceptable downtime. PEME engineers maintain and improve CMMS PM task lists incorporating the lessons-learnt from the Asset Care Programme. They also identify and plan upcoming work for the maintenance team and liaise between production and maintenance. The maintenance team are allocated tailored targets and KPIs are measured and monitored. Maintenance audits (similar to the safety and quality audit concept) are also routinely carried out.

The asset care programme updates the client's CMMS, in the form of an updated asset register and with tailored, focused PM tasks detailing what needs to be done, by whom and at what intervals. The new PM tasks are justified, unambiguous and quantitative. The level-of-effort required to deliver the client's new maintenance plan is quantified and manning level requirements can be planned and budgeted accordingly, allowing resource to be targeted where it is best utilised. Maintenance planning, reporting and communication are all significantly improved. Relevant data is more visible; decision-making and collaboration between production and maintenance is enhanced.

With the revised maintenance programme in place, a continuous improvement initiative (driven by feedback from maintenance engineers) provides further gains. Statutory maintenance and service contract requirements are identified and captured in the CMMS providing visibility and holistic management. Condition monitoring is introduced and asset degradation identified via CBM before breakdowns are suffered.

The results from PEME's clients are undisputable. A wheat cleaning plant reported a 77% overall reduction in reported breakdowns due to its PEME asset care programme. A Tier 1 automotive company experienced a 33% reduction in asset breakdown and a 31% increase in corrective activity leading to an annual recovery of 4,000 hours of lost production. Another automotive company specialising in plastic moulding saw its breakdowns reduce by 52% whilst corrective activity increased by 77%.

PEME clients report "step-change" maintenance regime improvements leading to improved asset condition, a higher percentage of preventive and corrective maintenance tasks completed, fewer breakdowns and an improved evidence audit trail for end-customer audits. Put simply, it gives the client structure and control to be on the front-foot as a reliable and dependable manufacturer with demonstrable KPIs.

If you are interested in PEME's approach to asset care, contact Wayne Pheasey on 01733 297500.