Three pillars to a reliability program

Moving toward proactive maintenance requires a foundational change.

05/10/2017


As many maintenance managers are aware, starting a reliability program can be very tough. What many people don't think about is that sustaining a reliability program can be even tougher. From a real-world perspective, there are foundational pillars to a healthy and sustainable reliability program.

In a survey from a recent Fluke Webcast, 56% of attendees describe their reliability journey from reactive to condition-based maintenance as "having some proactive maintenance scheduled on certain equipment." The full survey results revealed that:

  • 13% of maintenance is all reactive, and they have never attempted to move beyond reactive
  • 17% have abandoned proactive in the past, but are starting again
  • 10% have a well-developed proactive maintenance program.

The three main causes of failure within a reliability program are poor program structure, technology selection and data management. There are also three pillars that can help any organization drive commitment to a reliability program and change culture. They are:

  1. New program start-up
  2. Technology selection
  3. Data management.

These three pillars to a proactive maintenance program can decrease downtime, prevent failures and reduce costs. While change can be hard, basing a reliability program on these three pillars increases success and can improve overall maintenance capability.

Pillar #1: New program start-up

Asset criticality rankings are used to help prioritize maintenance work and to identify the most critical assets for an organization. Many people find that there are so many critical items to maintain that it becomes overwhelming. Traditionally people think of their criticality list in one of four ways: binary, dynamic, every asset on its own schedule and full coverage.

However, these approaches end up being inflexible, unsustainable and miss the root cause of the dilemma of criticality: organizations have more assets than the maintenance team has capacity to manage. The first step to decreasing the impact of the criticality dilemma is to establish better classification. Consider these four classifications for assets (Fig. 1):

  • Star athletes: The percent of production or compliance is correlated directly with this asset's performance. It needs constant assessment and optimization regardless of condition, and always must be running at peak performance levels.
  • Critical: The performance level of this asset is not as important as simply "running or not running," but the uptime of this asset is correlated to producing revenue.
  • Semi-critical: Downtime or failure of this asset puts a strain on production or compliance. Daily processes may be able to continue sub-optimally even if the asset fails.
  • Non-critical: Production or compliance are not affected by this asset. While there may be other reasons to fix this asset, it is not because of direct production loss.

Over multiple generations, medical professionals have struggled with the issue of criticality. As a result, they evolved a tiered operating approach:

  1. Levels of training and certification
  2. Levels of workers
  3. Volume of visits/inspections
  4. Amount of time spent on each person.

This tiered operating approach can be applied to the maintenance world. With a tiered maintenance program, organizations waste less time analyzing healthy machines, reduce the number of work orders flowing through an organization and avoid deploying experts on simple faults. Here is an example of tiered maintenance (Fig. 2):

Pillar #2: Technology selection

Maintenance technologies can offer basic information or advanced information depending upon the skill and experience of the user. However, different assets require a mix of technologies, such as electrical, thermal and/or mechanical. There are a few keys that all teams need when operating in a tiered structure across multiple measurement technologies:

  • Real-time data entry
  • Real-time issue escalation
  • Collaboration
  • Comparison
  • Additional context
  • Consistency and repeatability.

Pillar #3: Data management

Finding the answers and root causes among the data can feel like finding a needle in a haystack because more data doesn't automatically make finding problems easier. Maintenance teams need more of the right kind of data to make real change. So, what is the right kind of data? Data that passes the "ACID Test." It requires:

  • Analysis: The data must be able to be analyzed.
  • Context: The data must be viewed in as rich a data context as possible.
  • Integrity: The data must be accurate and secure.
  • Democracy: All team members should be able to contribute to and consume the data.

To fully leverage cloud technology and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the vision is to take data from hand held tools and devices and connect it to a central cloud, where a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) will be fully integrated. With this type of integration, when equipment condition falls below a specific threshold, a work order will automatically be issued to take corrective action. It also will become possible to seamlessly order all parts needed for that repair. Assets will be managed in one central place to make the information available to all members of the maintenance team.

The end goal of the program should be all of your maintenance people working together in a tiered approach and basing the type of work on the class of asset being serviced. The technology should help maintenance personnel prioritize the tools and techniques that will prevent the most common failure modes. The effective collection and sharing of data will enable analysis in the proper context with the proper data integrity and security, and make it available to all maintenance team members when they need it.

Tyler Evans is a business unit manager for Fluke Corp. John Bernet is an application specialist for Fluke Corp.

ONLINE extra

See additional stories from the Plant Engineering May 2017 cover story below.



The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me