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Modern Outlook to Condition Based Maintenance on Board Merchant Ships

Modern Outlook to Condition Based Maintenance on Board Merchant Ships

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Published by Saptarshi Basu
condition based maintenance
condition based maintenance

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Published by: Saptarshi Basu on Oct 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Maintenance is commonly overlooked as profit centre in today’s modern dynamic business environment. In fact, maintenance is purely seen as cost. It is not unusual for reactive and unplanned maintenance to absorb as much as 80% of the maintenance efforts. The spiraling consequences for the business are increasing costs, continually stretched maintenance resources and reduced operational capacity.Today’s trend is towards condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, reliability improvement, maintenance planning, plant assessment and root cause analysis. Condition monitoring soft wares and broad range of condition monitoring technologies enable early  fault detection and ability to address the factors that causes faults to develop in the first  place. With the information to eliminate breakdowns, increase production capacities and extend the plant capabilities and the lifetime of productive machineries, CBM helps organizations to target their maintenance more effectively.Providing means to monitor how productive the plant is performing and the expertise to identify how, where and when the machinery will develop problems, reliability focused asset management utilizes analysis technologies to open a window into the health of the operating machinery – without causing interruption or interference to plant operation..
Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) systems move the maintenance effort from a scheduled preventative format to amore flexible and accurate condition based predictive format. CBM will keep you up-to-date on how your installation is doingand help you detect any disorder or deviation from expected normal performance data in good time. CBM makes maintenance proactive, rather than reactive, by spotting fault sources and emerging operational trends well before any failure occurs. The mainaims are to :-1. balance the time between overhauls,2. to minimize downtime and to3. guarantee optimized engine performance under all conditions
Maritime industry is in many aspects using maintenance strategies from the past. By focusing on reliability the indirect effectsfrom doing the wrong maintenance can be reduced considerably. Shipping industry has from a maintenance aspect been doing thewrong things correct for many years. The opportunity is now to do the right thing correct instead.It has already been proven by using different CBM systems that the profit that condition based maintenance has isincomparable to that of either the preventive or breakdown maintenance has. Modern management has to take steps towardstreating maintenance as a means of realizing the profit potential inherent in each vessel. Correct maintenance strategy based oncondition monitoring ; no doubt increases initial investment ,but results in increased profits , better return rates ,increasedreliability , gives less spare parts consumption and a longer production life to the vessel ; to a much larger degree than shown by atraditional maintenance strategy based on preventive maintenance.
The advantage of the CBM is that work can be planned according to actual condition of the machinery and thus the reliability alsoincreases. The labour costs, spare parts costs & the machinery downtime is considerably reduced if opening of good machines onthe sole basis of running hours can be avoided. The TBO (time between overhauls) of almost all the moving machineries can beconsiderably increased if CBM system is made use of. Not only the reliability of the shipboard machineries can be improved, but performance & overall efficiency of an individual machinery and the system as a whole can be effectively increased using themodern practices .e.g. The performance and efficiency of the main engines can be continuously monitored and an action or analarm is triggered if either the SFOC (specific fuel oil consumption) or SCOC(specific cylinder oil consumption) of SLOC(specific lube oil consumption) goes beyond the predefined limits . The condition monitoring system keeps a continuouscheck on the systems performance & takes the corrective action or warns the operator of the corrective action to be taken basedon the current condition. Good overall efficiency will decrease the operational costs of the engine & operation within predefinedlimits ensures reduction in maintenance costs and the downtime by increasing TBO & preventing any breakdown
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Every industry in the market looks for maximum returns for the investments it does. This has been so far & will be in future, themost debatable topic in the shipping industry as far as maintenance costs are concerned. The problem with maintenance is that itsinvestments are very easily measured while its returns are not. The maintenance cost is of significant amount when compared tothe overall budget of the vessel ,but its contributions to vessel revenues remain hidden .It has become a general tendency for theship-owners and the ship-managers to cut down on the maintenance costs and the quality and the number of personnel’s operatinga ship in order to minimize running costs. Low quality machines and spare parts, breakdown maintenance strategies, reducedmanpower with increase in unskilled labour inevitably gives overall higher running costs for a vessel. The machine breakdownsare quite often leading more downtime & increased spare requirement. The unplanned maintenance by unskilled crew creates new problems when they open up any machines for inspections or overhauls. The returns of maintenance can only be realized if thetotal cost analysis of one vessel is done over it’s complete lifetime. Doing these analysis based on the data collected over a short period of time gives misleading indications & results .Using correct maintenance strategy and use of adequate number of  professionally trained and skilled manpower onboard will result in greater returns over the complete lifetime of a vessel thancompared to the traditional methods. Shipping industry should realize this fact at the earliest to maximize profit & to staycompetitive in the market.All investments in the maintenance initiatives must provide a return on investments (ROI) the broad advantages that can beclaimed are as follows
Modern outlook of maintenance leads to overall improved asset management for the company. If savings or reduced costs of onedepartment reflects in increased costs elsewhere leading to higher overall costs, obviously the profit is going to be reduced. If wego by traditional maintenance strategies then this is what actually happens. There has been a tendency of cutting on the manpower even on increased size of the vessels. Engine Rooms have gone from Watch-keeping mode to the UMS modes .Automation isincreasing day by day & now-a-days ships are coming with ICS (integrated control system) where all the controls, functions,monitoring and alarms of all the shipboard machineries are integrated into one system. This leads to reduction in manpower requirement .But the quality of manpower should not be compromised. A CBM system needs highly skilled technical hands tointerpret the information and to take right actions at the right time. The labour cost for this is certainly higher but the positiveeffect on the profit is even bigger. By maintaining the value of the assets the vessel can be used for a longer period even after theinvestment is written off. This is a very profitable period for the ship and the return on investment can be optimized They putadditional professional maintenance staff onboard and save millions of dollars per ship by doing this.
In a traditional maintenance strategy the resources are to a large extent used to open up machines that are in good condition, it isdifficult to make changes. There is simply no time; the resources are organized for, cleaning and lubrication. Everybody isworking hard driven by unnecessary planned stops, breakdowns, and unplanned stops. The management is chasing ways to cutmaintenance costs because the company is not profitable enough. No one knows how to calculate the contribution frommaintenance. To introduce condition monitoring in a company with this culture always fails. If the program starts it will normally be short lived, the resources for doing condition monitoring is needed to do “more important work - overhaul machines”.
It is a means of determining the most cost efficient and effective method of maintenance for specific equipments or machineries based on their function and operating context. For instance, although a preventive maintenance plan might stipulate thereplacement of a component after a certain number of running hours, RCM analysis may show that the component actuallyoutperforms these criteria and can therefore be left to run for longer time with acceptable risk in terms of probability andconsequences of failure.
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Research has revealed that most equipment failures are random in nature and that the traditional concept of age-related failure,with its regime of calendar-based intrusive maintenance, is both wasteful in terms of equipment life and extravagant in terms of maintenance effort.
RCM is a methodology used to determine the maintenance requirements of shipboard equipment to ensurethat it fulfils its intended function within its operating context. It has been widely used in the commercial world, including thecommercial aviation and nuclear power industries, and is recognized as being the key to ensure reliability and cost-effectivemaintenance. The RCM process takes account of how the asset is used and the function it performs to determine a failuremanagement strategy that will ensure that it can continue to achieve its required performance. RCM then determines the mostcost-effective method of maintaining optimum operational availability, taking account of all appropriate safety, environmentaland operational consequences.The maintenance resources in the organization must now be focused on the activities that drive the reliability of the ship:1) Design out the repetitive problems2) Increase the lifetime of the machines3) Condition monitoring during normal operation4) Condition monitoring during planned stops5) Time based overhauls6) Redundancies are designed into the process7) Corrective work The condition-monitoring program becomes necessary, as the pre-warning time of developing machine problems are vital for thestrategy. The maintenance work is carried out during planned stops and all unplanned activities are considered as a problem thathas to be prevented from occurring again. The unnecessary overhauls and breakdowns are eliminated so the labour hours can befreed to work on improving the quality of the machines. Condition monitoring is also used to identify the route-cause of the problem so the right corrections or design changes are made. This strategy becomes a positive spiral that feeds on it-self with,fewer breakdowns, less spare part consumption, better planning of needed man hours, increased safety, better environment andimproved reliability. When a full cultural change has been made only 20% of the work is actually spent on the traditionalmaintenance work. The resources can be allocated to maintain the asset value of a ship and the reliability improved at a lower cost; the profits go up.Reliability-based maintenance involves the use of data on the performance of equipment across a fleet of ships to determinewhether or not a specific component or piece of equipment is performing as required. Using this data, owners and operators canmake informed decisions about how to schedule their maintenance and whether to repair or replace items, resulting in more cost-effective maintenance. 
Benchmarking, previously the preserve of the manufacturing, commercial aviation and nuclear power industries, has started tomake headway in the shipping industry. One area of ship operations which could benefit substantially from the application of  benchmarking is that of shipboard maintenance, especially at a time when ship-owners have to operate in an environment whichmakes it increasingly difficult to strike a balance between quality of operation and cost-efficiency. Currently, most ship operatorsemploy a preventive planned maintenance approach that involves performing maintenance on components or equipmentaccording to a prescribed schedule. However, the industry is now displaying a marked interest in what is known as ‘
reliability-based maintenance
’, an approach based on benchmarking principles which helps owners and operators to not only reduce their maintenance costs but to also enhance the safety of their operations.Ship-owners and operators stand to benefit from lower overall maintenance costs and better availability by applying reliability- based maintenance onboard their ships.
There is now a marine-specific software system called
 produced by US-basedcompany Resurgence and jointly marketed with Lloyd’s Register which allows users to do this easily and efficiently.
is an effective tool which can help users to realize these benefits.
can be used to generate a number of reports based on 14 equipment performance indicators. These reports include:1. Mean time between failures (MTBF) target assessment, which allows users to determine which pieces of equipment are not performing at the required level2. Chronic failures, which enables users to identify pieces of equipment which consistently fail3. Manufacturer benchmarking, a tool for comparing the reliability of different pieces of equipment to aid better procurementdecisions.The software system also includes a charting module which allows users to identify trends over time and to gaugeongoing performance through the creation of a range of charts, as well as a failure review board module which can help tofacilitate root-cause analysis of failures, enabling the elimination of repetitive failures.

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